Bipolar disorder is a mental illness known for causing sudden and drastic mood changes in an individual. Bipolar disorder can also affect a person’s energy level and ability to concentrate, making it oftentimes a very difficult disorder to manage in one’s day-to-day life. There are three types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, and Cyclothymic disorder.
Bipolar I disorder is defined by a series of severe manic or hypomanic episodes followed by depressive episodes. A manic episode is when someone experiences an extreme boost in energy for at least seven days. People experiencing manic episodes are more likely to engage in reckless behavior, sleep and eat less, and will feel like their minds are constantly racing.
A hypomanic episode has the same symptoms as a manic episode but the symptoms do not present themselves to be as severe and will last only a few days.
Depressive episodes are generally thought of as the opposite of manic episodes. Depressive episodes are characterized by the feeling of a lack of energy, forgetfulness when trying to speak, and a loss of interest in activities or other people. While manic episodes can be dangerous due to increased participation in potentially risky behavior, depressive episodes can lead to suicidal thoughts when severe enough.
People suffering from bipolar II disorder will still experience depressive episodes but will not experience full-blown manic episodes, rather only short stints of hypomanic episodes. Oftentimes people suffering from bipolar II disorder will also suffer from addiction or social disorders. Cyclothymic disorder will cause someone to experience symptoms of a hypomanic episode and depression at times, but the symptoms are mild in comparison and do not last long enough to be considered full episodes.