The Difference Between Bipolar I and Bipolar II (written and podcast!)

I recently added more information to my website. One topic is the difference between Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Everyone affected by the illness needs to know the difference as their treatments are very different! Do you know your correct diagnosis or if you love someone with the illness, do  you know their correct diagnosis? You can find more info on the web page.

Click here to read (and listen!) more about  bipolar i and bipolar ii.

I recorded a great podcast on this topic- you will find it midway down the web page.


Feel free to send the podcast to family and friends- it’s not easy to understand the differences between the two bipolar diagnoses! It can be confusing for family members.

8 comments to The Difference Between Bipolar I and Bipolar II (written and podcast!)

  • Lisa

    Hi Julie,
    I want you to know that I am so appreciative of your book about loving someone with bipolar.I have not been able to get my husband to even admit he has a problem and he thinks I am confused or (in his terms crazy) I believe he has bipolar II.He started with these what I now know are episodes of bipolar when we were married three months and I found out I was pregnant.We had struggles but things got really horrible about four months later when he had a major job change and really long hours.It is like you mentioned there is a pattern now and I understand things better.There are also triggers.I was horrified how unfeeling and uncaring he was and did not seem to know the man He was not the sweet caring man I married!During theses times (and there have been others since then ,the last one was a month ago we havea been married 3 years now.)I had postpartum depression and was suicidal as well as dangerous to the baby and he did not seem to even care at all when I told him. I am seeing the hypomanic too.It is very subtle and looks almost like workoholism in him.I cannot get him to see a doctor to be diagnosed because to him this behavior is normal and the really bad times were caused by me arguing with him-I was married 21 years before and arguing was just a part of marriage and we worked it out really fast.This whole thing was so confusing depressing and devistating.Your book has given me tools to work with even if I have to do it on my own for the moment.The things that you mentioned were so on target!I live in the country and there basically no support for me at the moment.I love my husband and am dedicated to this marriage ,but this is a big challenge.Thanks so much for stepping out and helping others.

  • Jack

    I have been diagnosed as bipolar type two and have already put my wife through more than I can handle (guilt). We have only been married for about two years. If I had known I had this illness before I would have spared her all of the pain. It hurts me more to see how much my pain hurts her. If there is no cure for bipolar disorder I don’t think I want to live for much longer. When we had our baby everything got worse because of my inability to deal well with any kind of stress. How can I raise a family like this. I love my wife so much.

  • Hi Jack, I replied to your comment on a new post. You can search under the keyword ‘Jack’ in order to find it. Julie

  • Joy

    Hi Julie,

    Thank you so much for your book ‘Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder’. It has really helped me A LOT to understand my husband. He hasn’t been diagnosed with the illness yet, his appointment is coming up. (Finally he is going! It has been 3 years dealing with this in our marriage, getting progressively worse.) But his father and a sister have been; his father diagnosed 15 years ago at least. He does exactly what is in your book, as well as what his father’s actions were at his age. At first I didn’t really understand what was happening to him, he was so so different from the person I knew; and all he could say is that he couldn’t explain what was going on in his head, that it was pointless to try. If I could best describe our relationship and reactions, it would be ‘Pam’ and ‘Carlos’ in your book; him Pam and Carlos would be me. Since reading your book, I have tried hard to help him in the ways that I can for the moment; by my actions.

    Thank you again,


  • Jack

    Honestly, I’m not even sure if I have bipolar 2 or just depression. It seems hard to know the difference between hypomania and just plain old happiness, esspecially when you’ve been depressed most of your life. One shrink says it could just be depression while theh other two assume it is bipolar type 2. As I’ve stated before, I never have trouble sleeping. Maybe I need a few more opininons from somone else. Afterall, like the first Phsychiatirst said, if it were just depression with anxiety and OCD then it would be a shame not to try antidepressents. I find that so far the mood stabilizers have done nothing since I really don’t seem to become hyper, and it doesn’t even seem to a mild degree. Certainly not intrusive or wreckless where other poeople woould think I am anoying or disruptive to the slightest degree. What if it is just me not being depressed???

  • Jen

    Hi Julie,
    I read your post on the difference between Bipolar I and Bipolar II. My diagnosis has recently changed from Bipolar II to Bipolar I, with my last episode depressed, severe, with psychotic features. I have never experienced a full on mania. What I have experienced is a mixed episode, a.k.a. dysphoric mania or agitated depression. According to my doctor, a mixed episode with psychotic features such as paranoia and delusional thinking automatically warrants a diagnosis of bipolar I. My last depressive episode keeps lifting and decending, but as it lifts the paranoia and delusional thinking is dominant. There are no hallucinations, usually, although I think I have hallucinated twice in my life.

    I just wanted to add my experience, because you touched so briefly on your partner’s dysphoric mania. I think people out there with Bipolar II diagnoses are going through delusions and hallucinations and should be diagnosed as Bipolar I.

  • Jack,
    You ask a very valid question. It is hard to know. there’s so much gray out there (and in here). That’s great you’ve never had trouble sleeping. does your mind ever race or never turn off? If so, is it during depression or the happy times? Are you on meds? If so,what? anti-depressives can often be very damaging in a bipolar’s brain in terms of behavior. check me out

    Not psychiatric advice, just life experiences.

    Good luck,

  • sisay

    I am bipolar one ,a year before treated in hospital . Now my problem is how can I lead a peace full life with out meds. Honestly I heat it please give me you talented suggestion .
    Thanks for your help!!!

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