There are 3 types of bipolar disorders:
- Bipolar I disorder. Bipolar I disorder is diagnosed when a person experiences a manic episode. A manic episode is characterized by an extreme increase in energy which lasts at least one week. The person may feel euphoric and high-spirited, or uncomfortably irritable.
The manic state causes dysfunction in work, family or social activities. Commonly, symptoms of mania require a person to receive hospital care.
Some people with bipolar I disorder also have depressive episodes, periods with neutral mood and/or hypomanic episodes (a less severe form of mania).
- Bipolar II disorder. Bipolar II disorder is diagnosed when a person has experienced at least one depressive episode and one hypomanic episode. A hypomanic episode is a less severe form of mania which lasts for at least four days. Hypomania typically creates a significant increase in energy and mood, but does not lead to the severe problems in daily functioning which is seen during a manic episode.
- Cyclothymic disorder. Cyclothymic disorder is a milder form of bipolar disorder. People with cyclothymic disorder experience periods of depressive symptoms and hypomanic symptoms, but the symptoms do not meet criteria for full depressive episodes or episodes of hypomania. The mood swings are milder and typically occur more frequently in cyclothymic disorder than in bipolar disorder I and II.