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What is the Difference Between Bipolar I Disorder and Bipolar II Disorder?

Many clients and their families are surprised to learn that bipolar disorder has two different types of diagnoses; bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder. When someone with a bipolar disorder experiences at least one major depressive episode and one manic episode, they meet the criteria for bipolar I disorder. When someone with a bipolar disorder experiences a major depressive episode that lasts for more than two weeks and is combined with a hypomanic episode, they meet the criteria for bipolar II disorder.

The length and severity of both manic and depressive episodes will vary for both types of bipolar disorder. A person could even show signs of both types of episodes during a 24-hour period. The key to recognizing the symptoms of bipolar disorder is understanding which symptoms are seen during a depressive episode and which symptoms are seen during a manic episode. Some of the most common depressive symptoms include

  • Displays many of the same symptoms as depression.
  • Has strong feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
  • Loses interest in hobbies and activities.
  • Openly discusses thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Is noticeably more agitated or angry around others.
  • Has lower energy levels than usual and spends more time sleeping.


Some of the most common manic symptoms include

  • Has irregular thoughts that frequently change or talks faster than normal.
  • Takes on additional tasks such as extra chores or projects at work.
  • Irregular sleeping patterns – during a manic state, an individual tends to sleep fewer hours.
  • Displays longer periods of happiness and outgoingness than usual.
  • Is easily distracted by other people, television, etc.
  • Displays high levels of endurance and restlessness.
  • Sets goals that are unattainable.

The difference between mania and hypomania is the severity of the symptoms being displayed. A manic episode is characterized by an impairment in daily functioning, relationships with others and can often require hospitalization. During a hypomanic episode, on the other hand, an individual won’t display characteristics of impairment but will display many of the same symptoms. The exact cause of bipolar disorder could be a combination of chemical imbalances in the brain, genetics and family history, substance abuse and in some cases, experiencing traumatic events could trigger the disorder. Like most psychiatric disorders, bipolar disorder is best treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. The types of medications prescribed most often for individuals with bipolar disorder could include a combination of lithium, mood stabilizers, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants. The frequent variety of moods requires a variety of different medications to help control symptoms.


The most effective and appropriate types of psychotherapy for an individual with bipolar disorder include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and interpersonal therapy. These types of “talk therapy” strive to help the client identify patterns and behaviors that lead to the frequent changes of mood, focus on stress-reducing behaviors, improve relationships, and help better regulate emotions.

Pasadena Villa offers a wide continuum of care for people struggling with bipolar disorder and helps them learn to better address their symptoms and achieve a more independent life. Our residential treatment programs are more long term compared to other mental health treatment programs and length of stay is dependent upon individual needs as well as progression. To learn more about enrolling at Pasadena Villa, please call our admissions staff at 877-845-5235 or fill out our contact form. We currently offer treatment at two beautiful facilities in Knoxville, Tennessee and Orlando, Florida as well as outpatient mental health treatment in Raleigh, North Carolina. Most insurance plans are accepted; clients and their families also can pay privately.



If you think that you or a loved one may be struggling with a mental health disorder, Pasadena Villa can help. We are here to answer questions and connect to care. Pasadena Villa currently offers treatment at two residential locations in both Orlando, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee, and outpatient services in Cary, North Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina. To learn more about our program, call us at
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