You may have been told you have bipolar disorder, but you may not have been told which type of the disorder you have – bipolar I disorder or bipolar II disorder.  Even if you have, you may be wondering what the difference is between the two types of the disorder.

 

The first thing you need to know is that there IS a difference.

 

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) by the American Psychiatric Association, it is broken down as follows:

 

As regards BIPOLAR I DISORDER:

 

Bipolar I Disorder – Single Manic Episode

 

The patient has had just one Manic Episode and no Major Depressive Episodes.

 

Bipolar I Disorder, Most Recent Episode Manic

 

The patient has had at least one Major Depressive, Manic or Mixed Episode.

Bipolar I Disorder, Most Recent Episode Hypomanic

The patient has previously had one or more Manic or Mixed Episodes.

The symptoms cause clinically important distress or impair work, social or personal functioning.

Bipolar I Disorder, Most Recent Episode Mixed

The patient's most recent episode is of mixed mania and depression.

The patient has had at least one Major Depressive, Manic or Mixed Episode.

 

Bipolar I Disorder, Most Recent Episode Depressed

 

The patient has had at least one previous Manic or Mixed Episode.

 

Bipolar I Disorder, Most Recent Episode Unspecified

 

Other than duration, the patient currently or recently meets criteria for Major DepressiveManic, Mixed, or Hypomanic episode.

The patient has had at least one previous Manic or Mixed Episode.

These symptoms cause clinically important distress or impair work, social or personal functioning.

 

 

As regards BIPOLAR II DISORDER:

 

The patient has had at least one Major Depressive Episode.

The patient has had at least one Hypomanic Episode.

There have been no Manic or Mixed Episodes.

These symptoms cause clinically important distress or impair work, social or personal functioning.

Specify Current or Most Recent Episode:  Hypomanic.  Depressed.

 

The difference between bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder, then, is that in bipolar II disorder there is NO manic or mixed episodes; whereas, in every case of bipolar I disorder, there IS mania involved.