There’s several different types of bipolar disorder, however they all involve episodes of depression and mania to varying degrees. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness that can occur again if you don’t seek bipolar disorder treatment.
This type of bipolar disorder involves one or more periods of severe mood episodes from mania to depression.
A milder form of mood elevation, involving milder episodes of hypomania that alternate with periods of severe depression. The highs in bipolar II, called hypomanias, are not as high as those in bipolar I (manias). Bipolar II disorder is sometimes misdiagnosed as major depression if hypomanic episodes go unrecognized or unreported.
The difference with bipolar II disorder is that the latter requires that the individual must never have experienced a full manic or mixed-manic episode – only less severe hypomanic episode(s).
Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder characterized by multiple periods of hypomanic episodes and less severe episodes of brief depression that alternate for at least two years. The severity of this illness may change over time, however the periods of depression are not as long-lasting as full depressive episodes.
Bipolar disorder with rapid cycling is diagnosed when a person experiences four or more manic, hypomanic, or depressive episodes in any 12-month period. Episodes must last for some minimum number of days in order to be considered distinct episodes. Rapid cycling can occur with any type of bipolar disorder, and may be a temporary condition for some people.
Bipolar disorder that does not follow a particular pattern (for example, re-occuring hypomanic episodes without depressive symptoms, or very rapid swings between some symptoms of mania and some symptoms of depression) is called bipolar disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS).