To Treat Bipolar Disorder Successfully Requires Identifying Type 1 and Type 2

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Most people have heard of bipolar disorder, also called manic depression, but unless it affects them, their family or close friends, they often know very little or have misconceptions about this disorder.  Millions of people suffer from bipolar disorder, which affects both men and women equally.  Although children or older people do suffer from this disorder, it normally affects those in their late teens or early twenties the most.  Characterized by dramatic mood swings, it mimics several other conditions, so can often takes years before doctors diagnose this condition as bipolar disorder.  Categorized into bipolar type 1 or type 2, this is a serious, major mental illness.  Doctors treat bipolar disorder one and two differently.  There are differences as well as similarities in the symptoms between the two main bipolar types.

Type 1 Bipolar Disorder

Sometimes referred to as ‘raging bipolar’, doctors characterize type 1 as full-blown mania that lasts for a minimum of a week but usually far longer, with or without a major psychological depression episode.  Mania is an extremely high mood swing episode where a person often becomes completely preoccupied with pleasurable activities; pursues projects and goals; sleeps very little; has increased drive and energy; and acts self-assured and confident.  People experiencing the high mood of mania or bipolar 1 may express this with sexual indiscretions or racing speech and thoughts.  This may cause patients to lose touch with reality, show extreme irritability, become preoccupied with death or even attempt suicide.  Patients may require hospitalization because of their mania mood swings

Type 2 Bipolar Disorder

Characterized by one or more major depressive episodes and hypomania episodes, bipolar disorder type 2 has less severe mood elevations than bipolar 1 and usually lasts approximately four days.  Unlike the mania in type one, these elevated moods are less severe and do not cause behavioural impairment, although different from someone without bipolar disorder experiences.  Bipolar two may cause changes in a patient’s appetite, sleep patterns or involve depression episodes where they have feeling such as guilt or sadness for no apparent reason.  Some people lack motivation and energy while hypomania often helps others to excel at their jobs or fields of expertise.  Unlike type 1 bipolar disorder, in type 2 bipolar disorder, hyperactive patients do not have psychotic tendencies and seldom require hospitalization.  Depression is not necessarily part of a bipolar 1 symptom but is in bipolar disorder 2.

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