What is Bipolar 2 and Why is it So Common? - AspenRidge

What is Bipolar 2 and Why is it So Common?

Bipolar 2 disorder is one of the more common mental health diagnoses in the United States. According to WebMD, about 5.7 million adults in America have this condition. That works out to be about 2.6% of the population. People tend to think of bipolar disorder as being a rare condition, but it really isn’t. It affects more people than you may realize.

It’s possible that you also have bipolar 2 disorder, and you’re interested in learning more about it. You may even suffer with an addiction along with this mental health condition. Either way, it will benefit you to get as much information about bipolar II as you possibly can. There are very effective treatment methods available that can help you.

What is Bipolar II Disorder?

Bipolar II is quite different from bipolar I disorder. It is specifically characterized by depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes. These often occur in cycles, and rapid cycling is also possible.

Bipolar 2 is one of the more commonly diagnosed types of bipolar disorder. It can be very difficult for people to deal with. They often suffer in a number of ways. They usually have difficulty within their families, with personal relationships, and in the workplace.

What is Bipolar Depression?

People with bipolar 2 disorder will typically experience more time with symptoms of depression. These symptoms can occur as soon as the symptoms of hypomania begin to go away. Sometimes it can take a while before depression symptoms set in. Everyone is different as far as how the condition affects them.

With bipolar II, depressive episodes are very much like clinical depression. People may experience a depressed mood, low energy levels, feelings of guilt, and a loss of pleasure. In some cases, people may have suicidal thoughts during a depression episode.

These symptoms can last for weeks or months at a time. There are some situations where they don’t go away for years.

What is Bipolar Hypomania?

When someone with bipolar 2 is in a hypomanic episode, they may feel euphoric or irritable. They may feel incredibly self-confident. They could speak loudly and quickly. They often have increased energy levels, and they don’t feel as much of a need for sleep.

These individuals can appear to be the life of the party. They are usually a lot of fun to be around in this state. The problem is that hypomania is unhealthy, and it can be dangerous. In some cases, hypomania can progress to mania, which can cause poor judgment and questionable behaviors.

Hypomania can last for a few days, or it can stretch on to last for several months.

Why is Bipolar 2 So Common in the United States?

There are some experts who believe that bipolar 2 is so common because addictions are so common. This isn’t necessarily referring to addictions to drugs and alcohol. There are many different types of addictions that play a role in the development of bipolar 2. These can include addictions to:

  • Working
  • The computer
  • The television
  • Gambling
  • Sports
  • Sex
  • Sugar

Addictions are generally a response to experiencing the pressures and stresses of life for many people. This is also true of those who suffer from bipolar II. People who have addictions usually experience a lack of social support. Unfortunately, this is something that American ideology encourages. It’s not unheard of to think that the two conditions might be connected.

Of course, there are other reasons why bipolar II is so common today. However, addiction seems to be a common partner with it.

What are the Symptoms of Bipolar 2 Disorder?

The symptoms of bipolar 2 disorder are divided, according to the state the individual is in. For those who are in a hypomanic state, they may show symptoms of:

  • An inflated self-esteem
  • Less of a need for sleep
  • Pressured speech patterns
  • Racing thoughts
  • Becoming easily distracted
  • Physical agitation
  • Behaviors that could be dangerous

For those in a depressed state, they could show symptoms like:

  • Losing interest in formerly enjoyed activities
  • Not sleeping enough, or sleeping too much
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Changes in appetite
  • Loss of energy
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Almost constant thoughts of death or suicide

What is a Bipolar 2 Test and How is it Used?

A bipolar 2 test isn’t as scary as it sounds. There are no diagnostic tests or blood tests that can be used to diagnose this condition. In most cases, a bipolar II test involves simply talking with a physician. He or she will ask you a series of questions about your behaviors, your moods and how you feel.

Your doctor will want to know:

  • If you ever experience mood swings
  • If you have experienced less or more energy recently
  • If you have racing thoughts or speech
  • How you have been sleeping
  • Your family history of mental illness

Once your doctor’s questions have been answered, he will look at your symptoms. Depending on what they are, he may diagnose you with bipolar 2. At that point, the bipolar II test will be used to define your treatment.

Common Treatments for Bipolar II Disorder

There are a few different ways that doctors use to treat bipolar 2. Medication is the first way. Doctors can prescribe a number of different medications to help with symptoms. These drugs are designed to help even out moods in the long-term. They can take some time to work.

Common drugs that may be prescribed include:

  • Lithium
  • Tegretol
  • Lamictal
  • Depakote
  • Seroquel
  • Ativan

Medication alone usually isn’t enough for most people. Therapy is also very useful in treating bipolar II. This can be especially helpful for people who go through rapid cycling as a part of this condition. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is frequently used for people with bipolar 2. It can help them to think differently about their behaviors, and make better choices.

Is Bipolar 2 Disorder Typical Among Those with Addictions?

People with bipolar 2 disorder frequently also suffer from addictions. One of the main reasons for this is that substances may help with their symptoms. However, any relief they experience is going to be short-lived. Drugs and alcohol can eventually make bipolar 2 symptoms even worse.

These individuals may find that their depression symptoms become much more severe. They could experience more rapid cycling of their mood episodes. Also, they could spend longer time in both depression and hypomania when they occur.

Fortunately, there are ways to treat bipolar 2 and addiction when they occur simultaneously. People who are able to obtain this type of treatment have been shown to have better outcomes. Bipolar II and addiction should never be treated as separate conditions.

How is Bipolar II Treated During Addiction Treatment?

When bipolar II and addiction are diagnosed together, they are known as co-occurring disorders. It’s important to treat these conditions at the same time. Not all addiction treatment centers offer this type of treatment.

Treatment for co-occurring disorders is called dual diagnosis treatment. This type of treatment takes all aspects of the patient’s diagnosis into account. In this way, a treatment plan is created that will help to treat both conditions.

Patients participate in different types of therapy during dual diagnosis treatment. They meet regularly with a therapist who helps them understand the cause of the addiction. The therapist will discuss their addiction history and how it coincides with bipolar II. This allows them to see the correlation. Group therapy, family therapy and other types of treatment are also implemented during this time. This can easily be done as a part of an 5-Day IOP program.

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment Offers Hope for Addicts and Alcoholics with Bipolar II

Perhaps you are someone who has been diagnosed with bipolar II, and you also have an addiction. You may have never been exposed to any type of treatment that would help both conditions. Fortunately, there is a way for you to get the help you need.

Dual diagnosis treatment was designed as a way to treat co-occurring disorders. You’ll find that this is different from any other type of addiction treatment you’ve experienced. Instead of dealing with the issues separately, treatment is combined. The result will be a better outcome for both your addiction and your bipolar II disorder.

At AspenRidge Recovery, we offer an 5-Day IOP program that will address your symptoms. You’ll receive the best addiction treatment at our facility. We have extensive experience in treating bipolar II disorder alongside addiction. You’ll find that your treatment plan is designed to meet your unique needs.

Do you have questions about bipolar 2 disorder and how it has contributed to your addiction? Contact us to learn more.


WebMD.com. (21, November 2015). Bipolar II Disorder. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/bipolar-2-disorder#1

HealthyPlace.com. (27, March 2017). What is Bipolar 2 Disorder? Bipolar II Symptoms. Retrieved from: https://www.healthyplace.com/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-types/what-is-bipolar-2-disorder-bipolar-ii-bipolar-2-symptoms/

Health.com. (11, July 2011). I’m Bipolar and Struggle with Addiction. Retrieved from: http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20274280,00.html

WebMD.com. (27, February 2017). Bipolar Diagnosis. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/bipolar-disorder-diagnosis

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