As with most mental health concerns, bipolar type 2 typically manifests during the teenage years or one’s early 20s. However, because bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings, which teenagers are naturally prone to experience thanks to hormones, it often remains undiagnosed and unaddressed until the individual is a little older.
What Is Bipolar 2?
There are two types of bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder in general is characterized by extremely depressed moods that are followed by extremely elevated moods known as mania. A person with bipolar disorder doesn’t tend to settle at a middle-of-the-road mood that is neither depressed nor manic. Instead, they swing from one extreme to the other. Bipolar disorder is so-called because the moods are “polar opposites.”
Bipolar type 1 has extreme manic episodes; bipolar type 2 has less extreme manic episodes. If you are curious to know, “What is bipolar 2?” then you may also be wondering what a manic mood looks like. Mania is characterized by:
- Rapid speech
- Jumping quickly from one topic to the next
- Agitation / irritability
- Less time spent asleep
- Increased self-confidence, sometimes to dangerous levels
On the other hand, depressed moods are characterized by:
- Social withdrawal
- Low self-confidence / self-esteem
- More time spent asleep
- Disinterest in usual hobbies or activities
The depressed episodes in someone with bipolar type 2 are usually more obvious and pronounced, whereas the manic episodes may be fleeting and less intense.
Treatment for Bipolar Type 2
There is no cure for bipolar type 1 or bipolar type 2, but the symptoms can be managed with mental health counseling such as cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.
Bipolar type 2 is sometimes mistaken for major depression. However, the medicines used to help stabilize the moods of a person with depression will not work the same for a person who actually has bipolar type 2, because they will create a manic mood instead of a “midline” mood. This may be the only way to confirm the diagnosis.