The Difference Between Bipolar 1 and 2

Bipolar disorder is categorized as a major mood disorder. It involves extreme highs and lows. In this major mood disorder category there is Bipolar 1, Bipolar 2, and Cyclothimia.

Bipolar 1

Bipolar 1 involves full-blown manic episodes. Mania can include irritable or elated mood, spending more money than usual, hypersexualization, and impulsive behaviors. Bipolar 1 can also include psychotic symptoms. Those include delusions, hallucinations, and word salad (speaking in a way that doesn’t make sense – stringing a bunch of unrelated words together). Delusions can be of grandeur, meaning inflated self-esteem and superiority. Hallucinations are when you hear, see, feel, smell, or taste things that aren’t there. Bipolar 1 can also include paranoid thoughts. Bipolar 1 also has a major depression episode. This can mean having a two-week or longer period of time where you feel hopeless, worthless, and have a depressed mood. Symptoms can also include fatigue, loss of interest or motivation, and tearfulness. Suicidal thinking may occur during depressive episodes.

Bipolar 2

Bipolar 2 involves hypomania. Hypomania can include symptoms of mania like irritable or elated mood, impulsive behaviors, and inflated self-esteem. There are also symptoms like having a flight of ideas, Bipolar 2 does not include psychotic symptoms though. People with Bipolar 2 does not reach full-blown mania. Bipolar 2 has major depressive episodes. Bipolar 2 usually has more depressive episodes than Bipolar 1. In a depressive episode, again, you can become hopeless, have feelings of worthlessness, depressed mood, loss of interest and motivation, and increased tearfulness. You can also have suicidal thinking in major depressive episodes.


Cyclothimia is a milder form of bipolar disorder. People with this disorder have a mix of hypo-mania and mild depression episodes, dysthymia. They usually cycle much quicker than someone with bipolar disorder. Dysthymia includes low self-esteem, low energy, and poor concentration. This can also happen in a major depressive episode but dysthymia is a more persistent and mild version of major depression.



There are many different forms of therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and talk therapy. Any of these would be beneficial for someone with Bipolar Disorder. Usually what happens is that you sit in a room with a therapist, social worker, or counselor and discuss your concerns or areas that you think need improvement in your life. Then depending on the type of therapy you are receiving, they’ll either encourage you to keep sharing, try to modify dysfunctional thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, or teach you effective coping skills.


Medication can be a super helpful resource, for me it is anyway. Some medications you might encounter are anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medication. Anti-psychotics are used to treat mania and agitation. Anti-depressants are usually used to treat depression and some forms of anxiety. Mood stabilizers are just that. They help regulate your mood.  Anti-anxiety medications are usually focused on treating anxiety rather quickly.


When you have a mental illness it is important to get enough rest, especially if suffering from mania to try to prevent psychotics symptoms from occurring. The typical recommended amount of sleep is 7 to 8 hours a night. Sleep can sometimes be difficult if you also deal with Insomnia, which is when you have difficulty sleeping. A tip for Insomnia is to only use your bed for sleep and to not look at electronics for about 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. Sometimes a sleeping pill is required to help you sleep if your Insomnia is severe.

Those are the differences between Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2 as well as some treatments. They are similar and different in subtle ways, so it is important to seek out a professional to get diagnosed with either.




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