Okay. So this is not going to be some kind of medical description. At least, not a very good one.
I just want to provide a brief overview of the differences and types of Bipolar Disorder since I keep seeing ridiculous things posted on the internet that lead me to believe that there is still a ton of misinformation out there.
First, if you are entirely new to this, check out this Wikipedia link on Bipolar Disorder that’s pretty extensive.
Second, it’s important to know that Bipolar Disorder is the new name for Manic-Depression and is the same exact thing.
Third, Bipolar Disorder (or Manic-Depression), does not mean a person has “multiple personalities” (or more appropriately called Dissociative Identity Disorder).
Fourth, it does not mean that the person with Bipolar Disorder flips back and forth from “happy” to “sad” at breakneck speed.
Bipolar I Disorder is characterized by intense periods of depression and intense periods of mania or slightly less intense periods of hypomania. In order for it to qualify as a diagnosis of Bipolar I, mania has to be present.
Bipolar II Disorder is characterized by intense periods of depression, and periods of hypomania. Hypomania is a mood state similar to mania, but lacking some of the full psychotic features.
Cyclothymia is a type of Bipolar Disorder where a person may cycle into a less intense depression and hypomania.
There is also a potential for medical conditions and medications to cause bipolar symptoms and those can be listed as a separate type of Bipolar Disorder.
“Bipolar” really means that the person experiences moods on both ends of the “pole” as opposed to someone who experiences “unipolar” or major depressive disorder.
As someone who lives with Bipolar I Disorder, I have a great deal of time where I am asymptomatic and am not experiencing either episode. It has not always been that way, but finding the right combination of meds and therapy has gone a long way to help.
Other illnesses like Anxiety, ADHD, OCD, etc., can exist along side of Bipolar Disorder and are common.
Hopefully, this has shed some light on the subject for some folks.
Image from Pexels.