Types of bipolar disorder

This section provides an overview of the most common types of bipolar disorders.

Bipolar 1 disorder

This means you will have had at least 1 episode of extreme highs (mania) lasting more than 1 week. Mania can last 3-6 months if left untreated. 90% of people will have periods of depression between these times. Depression can last 6-12 months without treatment.

Bipolar 2 disorder

With bipolar 2 disorder you have periods of depression broken up with times of hypomania.

Cyclothymic disorder or cyclothymia

This means you will have experiences regular episodes of hypomania and depression for at least 2 years. The symptoms are milder than bipolar disorder, but cyclothymia can develop into bipolar disorder.

Mixed bipolar state

Experiencing symptoms of mania and depression at the same time is called a mixed bipolar state. You may feel sad or hopeless but extremely energised at the same time.

Rapid cycling bipolar

A doctor may diagnose you with rapid cycling bipolar if you have 4 or more depressive, manic, mixed or hypomanic episodes in a 12 month period.

You can change from mania to depression on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis. This is called ultra-rapid cycling bipolar.

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