Bipolar 2 Disorder: Symptoms and Support
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Emotions are complicated. One day, you can be over the moon about getting a promotion, and the next, you can be sad about a disagreement with your significant other. While there are dozens of emotions that you can feel throughout our day, it’s important to take note when you’re experiencing mood shifts without a proper cause.


Bipolar disorder is a common mood disorder that can interfere with your ability to be productive and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships. There are different types of bipolar disorder. We’re going to focus on bipolar 2 disorder and how you can treat the symptoms.


We’ll talk about the difference between bipolar 1 and bipolar 2. Then we’ll dive into the symptoms of bipolar 2 disorder to be on the lookout for as well as potential treatment options that can help.


The basics of bipolar 2 disorder (and how it compares to bipolar 1 disorder)

Bipolar disorder is characterized by changes in emotional and energy levels that switch between manic highs and depressive lows. These periods of mood swings are known as episodes. Bipolar disorder affects approximately 2.6% of the adult population in the U.S., which adds up to more than 5 million people. 


The two main types of bipolar disorder are bipolar 1 and bipolar 2. Both types can significantly impact someone’s life and should be taken seriously.


There are two main differences that make bipolar 2 disorder stand out from bipolar 1: acuity of symptoms and length of time between episodes.


  • Severity — The hypomanic episodes of Bipolar 2 have less severe symptoms than the manic episodes of bipolar 1. 


  • Speed of episode cycle — People with bipolar 1 disorder experience manic episodes that last up to one week, followed by depressive episodes that can last more than two weeks. People with bipolar 2 cycle between manic and depressive mood states less rapidly. They often experience periods of emotional stability in between manic and depressive episodes.


Symptoms of bipolar 2 disorder


The symptoms of bipolar disorder are similar for both bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 diagnoses. They both involve manic episodes of heightened emotions and energy as well as depressive episodes of feeling sad and fatigued. By recognizing the severity of your symptoms, you can work with your mental health provider to determine if you’re showing symptoms of bipolar 2 as opposed to bipolar 1.


Hypomanic episodes can cause relatively positive emotions, but they can also lead to erratic behavior and irritability. Here are symptoms of bipolar 2 that you should be aware of during hypomanic episodes:


  • Jumping from one idea to another
  • Heightened level of confidence
  • Talking in a fast and loud manner
  • High levels of energy
  • Less need for sleep


Depressive episode symptoms of bipolar 2 are similar to those of bipolar 1, and they tend to last longer than hypomanic episodes. Here are symptoms of bipolar 2 disorder that you should be aware of during depressive episodes:


  • Persistent feelings of sadness
  • Feeling guilty and worthlessness
  • Low motivation and energy
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Feeling pessimistic


How Lightfully can support people with bipolar 2 disorder

Everyone with mental health challenges deserves support and effective resources, no matter what level of symptoms they have. One of the best courses of action for treating bipolar 2 disorder is through psychotherapy. By talking to a licensed clinical therapist, you can learn about the triggers for your symptoms and develop the skills you need to deal with them in the future.


At Lightfully Behavioral Health, our psychiatrists and other clinicians use a process-based therapy (PBT) approach to help the people in all of our treatment programs. Our programs include Residential Treatment, Virtual Intensive Outpatient Programs (vIOP), Partial Hospitalization Programs and Intensive Outpatient Programs. 


PBT utilizes integrated interventions, such as arousal reduction and somatic integration, to target the four core processes that are at the root of every mental health disorder:


  • Difficulty with emotions
  • Difficulty with behaviors
  • Difficulty with thoughts
  • Difficulty with relationships

Just because bipolar 2 disorder has less severe symptoms than bipolar 1, that doesn’t mean that you should take the importance of treatment any less seriously. At Lightfully, we want to support you at every stage of your mental health journey so that your bipolar 2 disorder isn’t interfering with your overall quality of life. 


Change is possible. When you’re ready to find supportive treatment for your bipolar 2, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll help you find the support you need to work toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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