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Bipolar II Disorder

According to the DSM-IV-TR, to be diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder, a person must have experienced at least one Hypomanic Episode and at least one Major Depressive Episode in their lifetime.   The fact that a person will have experienced one of each of these episodes suggests that they will most likely experience additional episodes of Major Depression and Hypomania in their lifetime (see Course of Bipolar Disorder).  

Bipolar II Disorder is different than Bipolar I Disorder because Manic Episodes do not occur in Bipolar II Disorder. If a person with a diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder experiences a full Manic Episode, their diagnosis automatically changes to Bipolar I Disorder. However, it is wrong to think that Bipolar II Disorder is a lesser form of the condition than Bipolar I Disorder, for both are equivalent in terms of the amount of disability and reduced quality of life that they cause [ref].

If a person's only episode of Hypomania was one that was triggered by an antidepressant, then a diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder cannot be made. However, in clinical practice an antidepressant-induced Hypomanic episode suggests the strong possibility that the person has a Bipolar Disorder [ref].


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Bipolar I Disorder