People with bipolar disorder (BD) experience extreme emotional highs and lows.

Did you know there are 4 different types of BD?

Understanding the symptoms of each type could help you or someone you know recognize the need for mental health support.

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Important Terms

To understand the types of bipolar disorder, you need to know these 3 terms and the symptoms associated with them:

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

  • Hypomania An 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 Asevere emotional low. You may be overly tired, have low energy, or feel hopeless or empty.

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Bipolar 1

Bipolar type 1 might look like:

  • Experiencing severe mania lasting at least 7 days

  • Being hospitalized during a manic episode

  • Encountering periods of depression (but not in every case)

Bipolar 2

Bipolar type 2can look like:

  • Enduring intense depressive episodes, usually lasting longer when compared to bipolar 1

  • Having periods of hypomania

  • Not having extended 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 2 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 bipolar disorder, 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 Bipolar Disorder

Any form of bipolar disorder can 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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