Bipolar II disorder is characterized by high levels of mood changes, from deep depression to the abnormal elevation. It is a type of bipolar disorder that sometimes can have stronger impacts on a person's ability to function normally. While it doesn't produce any psychotic effects on the mind like hallucinations and delusions like Bipolar I does, it results in a complete loss of control over emotions. A patient with this problem suffers from mood swings without any reasons.
How does it affect normal life?
If mental disorders are ignored, they grow stronger and in the course of time may result in death. That is also the case with Bipolar II disorder, as its main source lies in the dangerous dysfunction of the brain. The danger also lies in the fact that ill people can have quite a normal life between the attacks, and the disease is left unnoticed. However, during the characteristic depressive and hypomanic episodes, patients may experience certain recognizable symptoms.
In order to state that a person suffers from Bipolar II disorder, he or she should have experienced at least one depressive and one hypomanic episode.
- Depressive Episode:
This period lasts two weeks and is associated with a number of symptoms including a long-lasting state of depression. Patients may experience constant irritation, anger, sadness; accompanied by the feelings of loneliness, isolation, and hopelessness. As a result, they lose interest in their hobbies and other formerly attractive activities including personal interests, hobbies, sexual activity; while also isolating themselves from others and experience loss of sleep and appetite. General symptoms may be painful for an unstable mind, and can lead to suicidal plans and actions.
- Hypomanic Episode:
This episode is usually shorter that the depressive period, lasting approximately for four days. It is crucial to note that hypomania is a moderate level of mania and is less recognizable as a disease. Sometimes patients deny their illness referring to the general state of the organism during this period.
On one hand, hypomania results in high level of activity, decreased need for sleep, optimism, and energy.
On the other hand, people are diagnosed with excessive level of activity, irritation, racing thoughts and speech, trouble focusing, low attention spans, anxiety, and illogical judgment.
Patients suffering from such symptoms may turn to drugs and substance abuse if they see it as a way of treatment. Extensive use of alcohol, sleeping pills, antidepressants, and illegal drugs have not only irreversible bad impact on health but also affect their behavior and relationships with other people.
What is the cause of the disorder?
Despite the fact that this is a widespread illness that affects millions of people, scientists still fail to distinguish a single reason for its appearance. It is recognized as a combination of different genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. However, the most impactful trigger for the development of bipolar disorder is stress.
How should Bipolar II disorder be treated?
The treatment strategy for bipolar II disorder has several major directions.
- Psychotherapy and social support:
While taking medication is essential, the crucial thing for patients is to know that they are supported by their family and friends. The combination of emotional support and therapy leads to reduced levels of stress and quick healing of the problem's psychological and social roots.
Different medications are used to treat bipolar disorder, but the majority consists of antidepressants that aim at stabilizing moods. However, constant use of such drugs can lead to both unexpected and unwanted effects. Recently, the study of antidepressant usage resulted in introducing a new medication. It is an atypical antipsychotic called Latuda (or lurasidone) that activates several serotonin receptors involved in memory. Unlike most other drugs of its kind, it lacks any anticholinergic effects and is proven to be more productive and is recommended for treatment even in old age.