Bipolar II disorder is defined as a mood disorder in which an individual experiences one or more incidences of depression along with a minimum of one hypomanic episode.

Bipolar II disorder is also differentiated from bipolar disorder I through the absence of a manic episode. Hypomania is defined as a mild mania within the manic depressive cycle.

The hypomanic incidences of bipolar II disorder are similar to manic episodes, but are less punishing with a differentiation of an individuals non-depressed mood. The same symptoms are exhibited with bipolar II disorder as are with bipolar I disorder. However, the symptoms are not of the same intensity and therefore do not interfere with daily work or within social gatherings, but they are noticeable to others.

The identification of the condition known as bipolar II disorder began roughly 30 years ago. This language of diagnosis was used to distinguish those who experienced the text book symptoms of bipolar mood disorder from those who were experiencing depression along with less severe bouts of hypomanic incidences. Those suffering from bipolar II disorder did not experience manic occurrences.

Bipolar II Disorder Symptoms

The symptoms of bipolar II disorder include ongoing depression, feelings of anguish, inability to focus, fluctuation in eating habits, a state of flux with body weight, and a disinterest in life.

Symptoms of hypomania are increased levels of energy, mood variances, tendency to be overly talkative, less demand for sleep, more social and sometimes inappropriate sexual activity and a spike in spending or career related activities.


Some preliminary studies have shown a genetic disposition to the diagnosis of bipolar II disorder. Other contributing factors to this mental health disease are changes in the brain. These changes to the brain include a disparity of neurotransmitters in the brain or the metabolism of the brain energy not functioning properly.

In addition, episodes of bipolar II disorder may be activated due to severe life experiences. These experiences may include a major life event such as divorce or a death, chronic illness, substance abuse, changes in the season or sleep deprivation.


There is no cure for bipolar II disorder. It is an illness that requires lifetime management and treatment for those affected. Bipolar II disorder is treated in much the same way as bipolar I disorder.

That treatment includes medication. Two available medications available in treating this mental illness are Depakote and Lithium. Lithium is a medication prescribed to stabilize moods and Depakote is an anticonvulsant used to control seizures and treat migraine headaches. In addition regular psychotherapy treatment is used to help prevent further episodes.

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