A key to managing bipolar disorder is to recognize early relapse warning signs. Medication will minimize, but not eliminate, mood swings for many people coping with bipolar disorder. Changes in a medication regimen may need to be made to optimize stabilization. Identify your specific early warning signs of bipolar disorder relapse so you can notify your treatment team right away. In order to intervene more effectively, it is important to recognize warning signs prior to shifting into a hypomanic, manic, or depressive episode.
When people think of bipolar disorder they often think of mania and the extremes that can happen. However, bipolar disorder exists on a spectrum with 2 main types: Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2. Bipolar 2 is a milder (yet still uncomfortable!) form of bipolar. People with Bipolar 2 Disorder experience hypomania instead of mania. So what is hypomania and how is it different from mania?
In order to explain Bipolar 2, I will review the DSM-5 (the diagnostic manual for psychiatric conditions) criteria used to diagnose it and add the personal perspectives of someone who has experienced hypomania.