What Is Bipolar II?
You can take what you know about depressive episodes and manic episodes and apply it to bipolar II disorder. In bipolar II, you must meet the criteria for a major depressive episode and a hypomanic episode.
Manic episodes and hypomanic episodes differ only slightly. In a manic episode, you must experience an elevated or irritable mood, a sharp increase in energy and three of the seven symptoms for at least a week. In a hypomanic episode, you only have to experience these symptoms for four days.
Understanding What Cyclothymic Disorder Is
During any year in the U.S., about 0.6% of the population currently has bipolar I disorder and about 0.8% currently has bipolar II disorder. Cyclothymic disorder occurs at a much lower prevalence and is measured by lifetime diagnosis rather than yearly. In the U.S., between 0.4% and 1% of people will have cyclothymic disorder during their lifetime.
Though the rates of cyclothymic disorder are low, the diagnosis remains relevant. To be diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder, an adult must have multiple occasions of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms over a two year period. Although the symptoms create issues, they are not to the degree that meets the full criteria for a hypomanic or depressive episode.
In children, the period of time is shortened to only one year. During the period, symptoms must be presents for at least half the time. There cannot be a symptom-free period lasting more than two months.
Excluding Addiction With Bipolar
Sometimes it is easy to confuse bipolar and addiction. At all, both conditions affect many facets of an individual’s overall well-being. When someone is using alcohol and other drugs, their entire life including their mood, energy, and irritability will shift dramatically on a daily basis.
Someone abusing cocaine, meth, and other stimulants could have boundless energy for days on end, only to come crashing down in a massive state of depression when the drugs run out. The shocking realization of their poor choices can even result in significant suicidal thoughts or actions.
Someone abusing alcohol could have an inflated sense of self-worth and believe they are able to accomplish impossible feats and actions. This state could be confused for a manic high.
Someone abusing depressants like sedatives or opioids could seem to be in the grips of a depressive episode as the drugs make motivation, energy, and interest in activities extremely low. When the effects wear off, the difference in presentation may look like a manic episode, even though it is only their normal state.
The challenge of identifying drug use or bipolar disorder is incredibly compounded when you take multiple drugs into account. Some people will use stimulants for a people before switching to depressants to level the effects, or start with depressants before moving to stimulants.
In either case, the substance abuse clouds the overall picture of someone’s mental health. Only when the individual has achieved abstinence for some time can experts accurately assess their symptoms to note the presence of any bipolar disorder.