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What are the Differences Between Bipolar Disorders 1 And 2

November 23, 2022

7 min read

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Author : United We Care
What are the Differences Between Bipolar Disorders 1 And 2


Mood swings are quite normal in everyday life. However, extreme mood swings that disrupt a person’s daily life are abnormal, and experts interpret them as a sign of bipolar disorder. The bouts of intense euphoria or depression associated with bipolar disorder can affect a person’s ability to form meaningful social relationships and impact sleep and energy levels. The person’s behaviour may become erratic, making it difficult for people to interact with them.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental health disorder characterised by extreme mood swings and behavioural issues. A person diagnosed with bipolar disorder often has episodes of euphoria (intense happiness, joy) or depression (sadness). These episodes can occur at different times, and, between such attacks, the person may lead a regular life with some mood swings.

People with bipolar disorder also often suffer delusions, hallucinations, and reckless thinking. Due to their extreme mood swings, these people often have troubled relationships with their loved ones. Their erratic behaviour can make it difficult for them to follow a typical schedule for activities such as school or work.

Types of bipolar disorders

There are two major types of bipolar disorder based on mood swings’ intensity, duration, and frequency. They are:

1. Bipolar 1 disorder 

The doctor may diagnose a person with Bipolar 1 when they experience a manic episode with extreme euphoria and energy. A hypomanic episode may follow this. The manic episode will be severe and last for a week. The person could exhibit destructive behaviours during these episodes and may require hospitalisation to stay safe.

A person with bipolar one can also experience depressive episodes for up to two weeks. Such attacks may leave them low energy, sad, tired, and low on appetite.

2. Bipolar 2 disorder

Under this type of bipolar disorder, a person may experience hypomanic episodes that last up to five days rather than a week. The symptoms of a hypomanic episode are not as severe as a manic episode. Hence bipolar two disorder can ere than bipolar one disorder. However, people with bipolar two disorder can experience major depressive episodes.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder one vs 2

The symptoms of bipolar disorder 1 and 2 are typically the same. However, the main difference is the intensity of the manic/depressive episodes. People diagnosed with bipolar one disorder have manic episodes, distinguishing them from those with bipolar two disorder. These manic symptoms are extreme and can last up to a week. They are:

  • Reduced sleep
  • Faster speech
  • Uncontrollable thoughts
  • Increased risky behaviour
  • Distraction
  • Hallucinations/disconnected from reality (psychosis)
  • I have increased energy and activity.

People with bipolar one may also have major depressive episodes that last up to two weeks. These depressive episodes may include at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme sadness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Increased/decreased appetite and sleep
  • Loss of interest in activities.
  • People with bipolar disorder suffer from hypomanic episodes with the following symptoms:
  • Elevated self-confidence
  • Feeling energetic
  • Feeling distracted
  • Racing thoughts
  • Riskbehaviorur.

Most symptoms in people with bipolar two disorder are not harmful and do not often require hospitalisation. However, while these people may not experience manic episodes, they may suffer from depressive episodes with the same symptoms as those with bipolar one disorder.

Differences between bipolar disorder one vs 2

The predominant difference between bipolar disorders 1 and 2 is the severity of the manic episodes. A person with bipolar one will experience frequent manic episodes characterised by boundless energy, restlessness, concentration problems, sleep disorders, and bouts of euphoria. These manic episodes can be so severe that they may require hospitalisation.

On the contrary, when a person is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, they may experience hypomanic episodes, where the symptoms are not as severe as those of manic episodes. The general symptoms of bipolar usually include major depressive episodes lasting for up to two weeks hospitalization is usually not required in cases of bipolar two disorder.

Causes of bipolar disorders

While the exact cause of bipolar disorders 1 and 2 is unclear, scientists suggest a combination of factors may be responsible. These factors include:

  • Chemical imbalances in the brain 

Chemicals like neurotransmitters are responsible for the normal functioning of the brain. When there is an imbalance in these chemicals, it may contribute to the development of mental conditions such as bipolar disorder.

  • Genetics

Another major cause of bipolar disorders is genetics. A person has a higher risk of developing bipolar disorder if they have a family member with the condition.

  • Triggers

Triggers are stressful or life-altering situations or environments that cause extreme emotions. These situations can include a loved one’s demise, the end of a relationship, living with a loved one with bipolar disorder, and abuse. Highly stressful situations or environments might affect a person so much that they develop bipolar disorder. Some experts believe that experiencing an unhealthy amount of emotional distress as a child can cause the development of the bipolar disorder.

Treatment of bipolar disorder one vs 2

The overall treatment strategies for bipolar 1 and 2 include medications and different forms of therapy. Some drugs used for treatment are:

  1. Mood stabilizers – Mood stabilizers such as Lithium, Valproic acid and lamotrigine are used to control manic and hypomanic episodes.
  2. Antidepressants – Most people with bipolar disorders 1 and 2 may undergo depressive episodes. Doctors prescribe antidepressants to treat these symptoms.
  3. Antipsychotics – Doctors may prescribe antipsychotics when specific depression symptoms persist despite medications. Antipsychotic medications are often prescribed with mood stabilizers
  4. Anti-anxiety medications – These may help people with bipolar disorders 1 and 2 to manage their anxiety and help improve sleep.
  5. Psychotherapy is also essential to the bipolar 1 and 2 treatment plan. Therapy options involve:
  6. Cognitive behaviour therapy – This kind of therapy helps the person understand negative behaviour and replace it with healthy normal behaviour. Also, C.B.T. helps understand the trigger of the episodes, thereby helping manage the onset of such attacks.
  7. Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (I.S.R.T.) – This therapy works by helping people with bipolar disorder to have a fixed daily routine like waking up, eating, sleeping etc. A consistent pattern is known to be quite calming and keeps away triggers.
  8. Psychoeducation – Understanding the causes and symptoms of the disorders can help people manage them better.

Individuals with bipolar 2 are considerably more depressed for extended periods when compared to individuals with bipolar 1; this may lead to the development of other issues such as anxiety disorder and substance abuse.

The symptoms of bipolar 1 are more severe and may require a hospital stay. Doctors should carefully monitor specific treatment programs for these individuals.


Bipolar disorder is a  mental health condition caused due to increased stress and extreme traumatic conditions. The difference between bipolar 1 and 2 predominantly lies in the severity and duration of the manic episodes associated with the disorder. It is crucial to consult a professional for a proper treatment plan for this disorder.

If you or a loved one is struggling with the effects of bipolar disorder, reach out to United We Care, online mental health wellness and therapy platform that connects you with the best psychologists. Get in touch with us today for a bright future for you and your loved ones from the comfort of your home! Click here to talk to an expert.





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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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