Bipolar 2 Disorder| Not Unipolar Depression

Bipolar 2 disorder (bipolar ii disorder) is important to be distinguished from any other kind of disorder. In most cases, this disorder is not diagnosed promptly because the patient does not exhibit overt signs of mania. That’s why the patient is often given the wrong diagnosis of unipolar depression and it greatly effects the life of the patient.

However, if the doctor takes the patient’s history well, he will understand that he suffers from this disorder in particular.

Also, it is important for the patients to know the difference between this disorder, bipolar 1 disorder and unipolar disorder because the course of action is different.

In common, Bipolar disorder is characterized by a switch of moods in one person. There are two main periods in the bipolar disorder:

1.Manic periods- characterized by elevated mood, distractibility, grandiosity, increased self-esteem, decreased sleep, talks too much and has higher goals. It is important to distinguish these manic periods from hypomanic periods, which last only up to four days. Manic periods last more than one week.

2.Depressive periods- there are 9 symptoms, specific for depression. The presence of 5 of these symptoms gives the doctor the possibility to come up with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder if there is a previous history of hypomanic episodes.

3.Hypomanic episodes- during these episodes, the patient exhibits the symptoms, specific for manic periods but in lesser magnitude. It is common only 2-3 of the symptoms to show in the patient. As mentioned above the hypomanic episodes last up to four consecutive days.

There are two main types of bipolar disorder- bipolar 1 disorder and bipolar 2 disorder. The characteristic of bipolar II disorder are very specific. The patient needs to have experienced one major episode of depression, which lasted for at least 2 week. Also, the patient needs to have a history of hypomanic episode. Both the major depression and hypomanic episode needs to be present at least once.

In the second type of bipolar disorder, there are no manic periods, which are specific for the bipolar 1 disorder. There are a lot of difficulties regarding the bipolar 2 disorder. The first one is that patients in most cases is given the wrong diagnosis.

Hypomanic episodes in most cases are unnoticed. That’s why the doctor gives the diagnosis of “unipolar depression”. The therapy is different for this disorder and unipolar depression. Therefore the patients are treated for the wrong disease, till the time the hypomanic episodes exhibit with greater magnitude.

Also, this disorder is less studied compared to bipolar 1 disorder. Another problem related to the diagnosis, is the fact that the patients experience depression episodes much often compared to hypomanic episodes. That’s why doctors see this as improvements in their behavior because of the treatment instead of actual symptoms.

It is estimated that patients with this disorder exhibit symptoms of depression 37 times more often compared to the symptoms of hypomanic episodes. That’s why any improvement in the behavior of the patient, with family history of bipolar disorder, should not be perceived as an improvement at first but as a new symptom.

Patients with bipolar 2 disorder often abuse with drugs and alcohol. That’s how the mortality rate is increased because of this. Close monitoring to these patients is necessary. Alcohol and drugs could cause the symptoms to disappear for some time or make the symptoms exhibit more often and in greater magnitude.

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