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What are the signs and symptoms of bipolar II disorder?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of bipolar II disorder consist of cycling high and low moods that include episodes of depression and one or more episodes of hypomania, an elevated mood less intense than mania, according to WebMD. Most bipolar II sufferers experience more time with depression than hypomania.

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Full Answer

A hypomanic episode can manifest as irritability or euphoria, and symptoms may include rapidly shifting from one idea to the next, increased energy, a decreased need for sleep and periods of hyperactivity. Patients in this state may also exhibit pressured, loud or rapid speech. Symptoms generally last several weeks to several months, explains Mayo Clinic. Symptoms of bipolar II depressive episodes are similar to those of clinical depression and include low energy, a depressive mood, loss of pleasure and feelings of worthlessness. These symptoms generally last weeks or months, but they can last years in some cases.

For a doctor to diagnose bipolar II disorder, the individual must have experienced a minimum of one major depressive episode lasting two weeks or more as well as one hypomanic episode lasting at least four days, notes Mayo Clinic. Bipolar II patients do not experience full-blown manic episodes. While bipolar I disorder is more dangerous due to the presence of manic episodes, bipolar II patients may have significant impairment due to longer periods of depression.

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