Have you heard of the term mood swings? What about manic depression? If you have, then it wouldn't be difficult to explain what bipolar disorder means. All these terms mean the same thing. This is a serious mental illness and is categorized as bipolar type 1 and bipolar type 2.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by an abrupt change of moods from an energetic mania (and hypomania) to the lowest depressive state. Both bipolar disorder categories share the same characteristics in mood swing levels. However, the drawing line between the bipolar type 1 and the bipolar type 2 is on the varied episode levels of each mood swing.
Bipolar Type 1
The type 1 bipolar disorder is characterized based on the occurrence of at least one manic episode, with or without the occurrence of a major depressive episode. The mania in this diagnosis is full-blown. This abnormality would usually last for a week at the very least. But there are cases that the bipolar patient is required to be confined for more than a week if hospitalized.
Symptoms of this type include the following:
* Self-esteem is high and the patient possesses a great deal of confidence.
* Ambitious attitude is apparent in this state.
* There is the feeling of sleeplessness.
* The patient tends to talk excessively.
* The patient has a tendency to think more than the usual.
The danger of this type is that the patient may hallucinate, losing his grasp of reality. In some cases of bipolar type 1, the patient is diagnosed as psychotic. In some books about bipolar disorder, bipolar type 1 is also called the "raging" bipolar.
Bipolar Type 2
The bipolar type 2 disorder is characterized by the occurrence of at least one hypomania episode and one major depressive state. Sometimes, this type may even have occurrences of more depressive episodes.
In some cases, hypomania actually enables the individual to excel in their fields of expertise. The state of hypomania can be apparent in people that are top achievers in the work environment and at parties. The symptoms in hypomania are mostly positive and may run for about four days before it subsides.
Though its manifestation is obvious and can be observed clearly by other people, the "swinging" bipolar (as it is aptly called) doesn't cause any disruption in normal functional settings. It doesn't cause any hospitalization to a hyperactive person and doesn't have psychotic tendencies.
Swinging Down To Depression
However, the same level of hypomania can swing back down into its depressive episode and its effect can be devastating to the person. Manifestations of this depressive state is apparent in broken marriage, badly-ended relationships, unfinished projects, public humiliation, and more.
But this type of bipolar disorder is difficult to treat because of the benefits the person enjoys from his achievements in the hypomanic stage. From a layman's standpoint, the hypomania in bipolar type 2 doesn't even seem to look like there's any sign of mental illness at all.