Bipolar type 2 disorder is a form of mental illness that is characterized by one or more major depressive episodes accompanied by at least one hypomania episode (Glenda & Trevor, 2001). For this condition, the depressive episodes are more frequent and intense than manic episodes. The main difference between type 1 and type 2 bipolar disorder is that bipolar 2 display hypomanic episodes while bipolar 1 show manic episodes (Amal, 2009, 1). This means that the symptoms of the mania are less severe in type 2. People suffering from bipolar 1 may experience psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations which are not present in bipolar type 2 patients.
Hypomania does not cause obvious harm of performance and does not necessities hospitalization (Amal, 2009, 1). Bipolar type 2 disorder can infect anyone. Most people who develop this condition are usually in their teen or early twenties. However, anyone who is susceptible to develop the disorder does this before the age of 50. People with a close relative suffering from the same condition, are at a greater risk of developing the disorder (Amal, 2009).
Symptoms of this disorder usually observed during episodes of hypomania include elevated moods which manifest itself as euphoria or irritability. Others include grandiosity, sleeplessness, pressured speech, racing thoughts, easily distracted, involvement in risky behavior and excess energy. Depression episodes also manifest symptoms such as decreased energy, despair, irritability, crying uncontrollably and loss or gain of weight. The diagnosis of bipolar type 2 is based on careful observation on mental disorders and mood patterns of patients by highly experienced doctors. Such doctors can carefully note symptoms of a patient including their severity, length and frequency of occurrence.
Bipolar type two disorders is basically caused by alteration of moods which is sometimes elated to cause hypomania and at other time lead to depression. The treatment for this disorder therefore is targeted to stabilize the moods and the drugs that are mainly used are the mood stabilizers (Glenda & Trevor, 2009). Such drugs are given to prevent the negative effects of the hypomania and prevent episodes of depression. The most common mood stabilizers that are given include lithium. Lithium is an antimanic and it is known to dampen extreme mood swings (Amal, 2009, 2). However lithium takes long to act and is therefore suitable for long term treatment rather than treatment of sudden hypo manic attacks. Care should be taken not to give toxic concentrations of this drug. Depakote is an antiseizure drug that levels out moods and acts faster than lithium. It can be used preventively (Amal, 2009, 2).
Lamictal is a maintenance treatment drug for adult patients and is known to delay episodes of depression, mania, hypomania, and other mixed episodes in people being treated with standard therapy. Antipsychotic drugs are given in case of severe manic episodes. Such drugs include risperdol, seroquel and zyprexa and others. These medicines are also used preventively. Benzodiazepines are also used for short term control of acute symptoms of mania (Amal, 2009, 2). Antidepressants are also used as the last alternative because these drugs are known to aggravate the manic episodes and therefore they are only used when necessary and after a combined treatment of lithium and Depakote or an antipsychotic has failed (Glenda & Trevor, 2009).
If this disorder is untreated it can lead to very bad consequences. Episodes of hypomania can cause patients to engage in risky behaviors which may attract legal consequences or personal wreckage. Such includes contracting dangerous sexually transmitted infections, loss of one’s job as a result of hyperactive behavior, among others (Amal, 2009, 2). Depression episode on the other hand, causes feeling of worthlessness and despair which may lead the patient to committing suicide.
The cause of bipolar type 2 disorder is still unknown. However, some episodes of hypomania or depression can be prevented once the disorder has developed. Non-pharmaceutical therapies such as psychodynamic therapy, social rhythm therapy, interpersonal therapy, cognitive therapy, and family-focused therapy among others, can stabilize moods and reduce the number of hospitalizations and promise better wellbeing (Glenda & Trevor, 2009). Regular and proper use of medicines reduces frequent hypomania and depressive episodes.