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BiPolar I vs BiPolar II

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Old 04-04-2006, 08:40 PM   #1
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ThornyRose HB User
BiPolar I vs BiPolar II

I have been told that Bipolar II is actually better than BiPolar I...has anyone else been told that? The reason, I am told, is because it is quicker to treat with drugs. And while we're at it, what would keep a person diagnosed as a Bipolar I from going into the BiPolar II phase? Or even schizophrenia for that matter.

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Old 04-05-2006, 04:31 AM   #2
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Re: BiPolar I vs BiPolar II

Yes, bipolar II is the less severe form of the disorder because people only become hypomanic, not full-blown manic as they do in bipolar I. To become full-blown manic means that a person develops psychotic symptoms, most commonly grandiose delucions and hallucinations. However, bipolar II is often harder to treat, in terms of finding the right medication. Most people who are bipolar I have the "classic" euphoric type of mania, and thus, respond wonderfully to Lithium. Once started on Lithium, they are set for life- it's the perfect medication. However, with bipolar II's, symptoms vary from person to person, and these are the cases where numerous mood stabilizers (usually Depakote and Tegretol rather than Lithium) and atypical anti-psychotics must be tested to find the best fit for the patient. Bipolar I's do not go into a "bipolar II" phase since bipolar I is more severe. On the other hand, bipolar II's will never become full-blown manic; the worst they will suffer is hypomania. The only time this would change is if someone had a hypomanic episode, was diagnosed as being bipolar II, and then later became full-blown manic, changing their diagnosis to bipolar I. Furthermore, bipolar patients will never become schizophrenic. Some people have what is called schizoaffective disorder, which is a mixture of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but the major difference here is that these people suffer from psychotic symptoms all the time, even when they're experiencing a normal mood. The only time that bipolar disorder alone resembles schizophrenia is during full-blown, psychotic mania, only found in bipolar I. But, when the patient is stabilized, the psychosis disappears. Hope this helped! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
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Old 04-05-2006, 06:29 AM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2006
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ThornyRose HB User
Re: BiPolar I vs BiPolar II

Wow, you really know your stuff! You have given me more information than my regular doctors have. They currently have me on 1000 mg of Depakote, 50 mg of Lamictal, 75 mg of Effexor XR, and last but not least, 1 mg of Clonazepam. They have had me on almost every drug imaginable, but I will get some kind of reaction to it. I do keep Risperdal around if I have a bad manic episode. Those are happening more often than before. I was diagnosed with this illness just a little over a year ago, and at age 57, I must admit I have not been the best patient. I do take my drugs, but many times I feel like a lab rat, and swear I won't take them anymore. I had to change pschyiatrists and therapists because of my Insurance, so that isn't making me relaxed. I feel as though I am starting over, and with new doctors, comes new drugs. They know what I am currently taking, so hopefully we will go from there. I have heard a lot of people refer to Lithium, but because of the weight gain I've heard it causes, I know I won't take it. I already weigh more than I should, and I know that gaining more would put me in depression, so how would we be winning in a situation like that?
I can tell I am in a hypomanic mood this morning, and these are the ones I want to stay in, but, just like the therapists have told me, you can't stay up there forever. I don't know that I have ever known what a "normal" mood is

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