Bipolar Disorder 2


Bipolar II disorder has been in the news recently, thanks to the revelation that actress Catherine Zeta-Jones was recently treated for the disorder. While more people are familiar with bipolar type I, there are many people who suffer from the milder bipolar II, including celebrities like Zeta-Jones, Carrie Fisher, and Jane Pauley.

Like bipolar I, bipolar II disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme fluctuations in mood. People with bipolar II have had one or more episodes of major depression, with at least one episode of hypomania. Hypomania is an unusually elevated mood characterized by many of the same symptoms as the mania experienced by people with bipolar I (such as grandiosity, reckless behavior, racing thoughts, and excess energy). However, hypomania is less severe than mania, with no psychotic symptoms (hallucinations and delusions) and less impairment in functioning. People with bipolar II rarely require hospitalization for hypomanic episodes, while those with full-blown mania nearly always require treatment with medications and sometimes hospitalization. In general terms, bipolar II can be considered a less severe form of bipolar disorder.

Most people with bipolar II begin developing symptoms in their teens or twenties, with few people first diagnosed after the age of 50. People with an immediate family member with bipolar are at higher risk for developing bipolar II, but the risk is still small.

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