You're probably familiar with bipolar disorder (BD). People with BD experience debilitating emotional highs and lows.

Did you know there were four different types of BD?

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Important Terms

To understand the types of bipolar disorder, you need to know these three terms:

  • ManiaIntense emotional high. Symptoms include having more energy, being delusional, making risky decisions, and not sleeping.

  • Hypomania Emotional high that is less intense than mania. Hypomanic symptoms are similar to mania but don’t last as long. Hypomania doesn't require hospitalization.

  • Depression Severe emotional low. You may be overly tired, have low energy, or feel hopeless or empty.

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Bipolar 1

If you have bipolar type 1, you…

  • Will experience severe mania lasting at least 7 days

  • Might need to be hospitalized during a manic episode

  • May or may not encounter periods of depression

Bipolar 2

If you have bipolar type 2, you…

  • Endure intense depressive episodes. Depression usually lasts longer with bipolar 2 when compared to bipolar 1.

  • Have periods of hypomania.

  • Do not have full-blown manic episodes.


Jodie experiences extreme bursts of energy where she engages in dangerous behavior. After a week or so, she’s back to her normal self. Which type of BD might she have?

Cyclothymic Disorder

People with cyclothymia experience hypomania and mild depression lasting more than two years. If left untreated, cyclothymia can turn into bipolar 1 or bipolar 2 disorder.

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Unspecified Bipolar Disorder

If you have unspecified BD, you don’t neatly fit into any of the categories above. Still, you experience abnormal changes in mood for significant periods of time.

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What To Do If You Think You Might Have BD

Any form of bipolar disorder can severely affect your quality of life. Contact an experienced professional if you think you have BD. There are many available treatment options.

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