Bipolar II is four times more common than bipolar I. It includes symptoms that are much less severe. These symptoms are called hypomanic symptoms. Bipolar II is harder for people to see in themselves, and it’s often up to friends or loved ones to encourage someone with this type to get help. Hypomania often becomes worse without treatment, and the person can become severely manic or depressed.
Rarer types of bipolar
There are two other types of the disorder that are less common than bipolar I and II. Cyclothymic disorder involves mood swings and shifts similar to bipolar I and II, but the shifts are often less dramatic in nature. A person with cyclothymic disorder can often function normally without medication, though it may be hard. Over time, a person’s mood swings may develop into a diagnosis of bipolar I or II.
Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified is a general category for a person who only has some bipolar symptoms. These symptoms are not enough to make a diagnosis of one of the other three types.