Info & Treatment

Bipolar disorder is separated into two distinct diagnoses – Type 1 and Type 2.  Of the two types, Type 2 is a characterised by less intense episodes of hypomania.

•    What is the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Bipolar Disorder? – For individuals with Type 2 Bipolar disorder, manic episodes of Bipolar disorder are less disruptive to the individual with the illness.

•    How is Type 2 Bipolar Disorder Treated? – Type 2 Bipolar disorder is treated with a combination of medication and counselling.  Counselling provides supportive encouragement to understand the nature of the illness and medication provides mood stabilization to reduce mood swings.

Type 2 bipolar disorder

A diagnosis of Type 2 Bipolar disorder can be initially frightening for you and your family. However, of the two types of bipolar disorder, Type 2 is the less intense and more easily treatable illness.

What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 bipolar disorder?

The primary difference between the two types of bipolar disorder is the intensity of the manic episode that sets bipolar disorder apart from depression.

Mania is an experience in which an individual begins to experience an hyper-elevated sense of distorted reality.  Common symptoms include:

•    Extremely talkative speech patterns outside normal behaviour
•    The feeling of racing thoughts that jump from one idea to the next without rhyme or reason
•    Easily distracted
•    An increase in intense goal-oriented work production, whether it is related to work or school
•    Excessive sexuality, gambling or other activities that have negative consequences but are pleasurable in the moment

These symptoms are usually notable because they are outside the normal range of behaviours for the individual, but they are not intense enough to interfere with regular social or personal functioning.(This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)

While mania is the distinct feature of bipolar disorder the primary difference between Type 1 and Type 2 is that the mania of Type 1 creates significantly more disturbance in the individual’s life and they are not able to function or interact socially in a manner that allows them to function relatively normally.  In other words, a person with Type 1 Bipolar disorder becomes disabled by their mania.  In contrast, an individual with Type 2 Bipolar disorder and in a hypomanic phase would experience the mania, but would be able to go to school or work and interact with others, but would appear to be unusually intense or active to others.

How is type 2 bipolar disorder treated?

Type 2 Bipolar disorder is usually treated with a combination of counselling and medication. Since bipolar disorder is an illness that is the result of distinct differences is brain chemistry – primarily neurotransmitters – and effort is made to prescribe medications that even out the transmitters that control mood.
One of the problems with mood stabiliser medications, however, is that many individuals taking them do not like the way that the medications make them feel. As a result, it can often be difficult for people to stay on the medications long term without support and encouragement from a counsellor and family.

Working with a counsellor, psychologist or therapist can help an individual with Type 2 Bipolar disorder understand that they have an illness that can be treated, just like any other illness. The counsellor can assist with learning to recognize the symptoms of a manic episode and how to utilise stress management techniques that may reduce the symptoms of the episode or events that might trigger hypomanic symptoms. Counselling therapy can also help family members understand the nature of the illness and learn ways to accept and cope with the illness in a supportive and encouraging way.

Where do I get help with type 2 bipolar disorder?

If you or someone you know is struggling with Type 2 Bipolar disorder and would like to book a consultation with a qualified counsellor or psychologist, or would like to obtain further advice please contact:

Associated Counselors & Psychologists Sydney

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