The main difference between Bipolar I and Bipolar II is the type of mania. Bipolar I has full blown mania- Bipolar II has hypomania. Bipolar II never has full blown mania- if it happens, the diagnosis is changed to Bipolar I. People with Bipolar I can definitely get hypomanic as well as fully manic!
Euphoric and dysphoric mania…..
There are two types of mania seen in both Bipolar I and Bipolar II : euphoric mania and dysphoric mania . Euphoric is just like it sounds. Dysphoric is harder to understand as we are not used to the word! Dysphoric mania means agitated mania. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling!
There is a lot of mental and physical agitation with dysphoric mania , but a person in this mood swing can be very aggressive and even violent. There are always sleep problems – the person looks haggard and worn out. They may sweat a lot and can look pretty wild in the face. I went through this with my former partner Ivan. He was in a dysphoric mania/psychotic episode for many months. He doesn’t get euphoric mania very often.
I’ve always felt this picture depicts what it’s like to be in a dysphoric and psychotic manic episode:
Whew. This illness is very complicated. If you have bipolar disorder, what kind of mania do you experience the most? If you care about someone with the illness, how would you describe their mania?
I have bipolar II hypomania. I mainly dealt with euphoric mania from age 17 until I was in my 40s. Then the dysphoric mania hit me hard! I force myself to get help when the euphoric mania is here. It’s hard to ask for help during dysphoric mania as you feel like everyone else is the problem.
It takes a lot of practice and self awareness to acknowledge and get help for bipolar mania! But we can change our lives for the better by understanding the signs of dysphoric mania and using a plan to stop the mood swing before it goes too far.
PS: My absolute worst dysphoric manic episode happened when I tried medical marijuana after dislocating my pelvis in a biking accident. I write a lot about this experience and hope that we can all be aware of external substances that can lead to dysphoric mania and psychosis in people with bipolar disorder.