A person with Bipolar II disorder will have mood swings similar to the more extreme Bipolar I patient but the moods will never reach the intense manic state the Bipolar I will have. The patient will have frequent depressive episodes, but not always as severe as a typical Bipolar I diagnosis, and less frequent pre-mania moods. There will be different ranges of depression and hypomania (pre-mania). A Bipolar II diagnosis should not be thought of as an early stage of Bipolar I. Research has shown that Bipolar II is more common, and usually easier to treat with medications and therapy.
Some of the common symptoms of Bipolar II are: depressive episodes, pre-manic hypomania states, increased need for sleep during the depression moods, more frequent depression, family history of the disorder, less frequent need for hospitalization, and an increased risk for abuse of alcohol.
The periods of depression can last for months at a time before the person feels back to ‘normal’. The person can go many months before having the depressive state return. Medical treatments are used to prevent the frequency of these depressive states.
The difference between the I and II Bipolar is that the Bipolar II is less severe, less life-altering, and more easily treated.
See our articles on Bipolar I – the more extreme bipolar, read about the manic state, a mood state that the less extreme Bipolar will experience.