Looking at Bipolar II
A common feature of bipolar II disorder is impulsivity, which can contribute to suicide attempts and substance use disorders. Impulsivity may also stem from a concurrent personality disorder, substance use disorder, anxiety disorder, another mental disorder, or a medical condition. There may be heightened levels of creativity in some individuals with a bipolar disorder. The individual’s attachment to heightened creativity during hypomanic episodes may contribute to ambivalence about seeking treatment or undermine adherence to treatment.” (DSM V, page 136.
Suicide risk is high in bipolar II disorder. Approximately 1/3 of individuals with bipolar II disorder report a lifetime history of suicide attempt. The prevalence rates of lifetime attempted suicide in bipolar II and bipolar I disorder appear to be similar (32.4% and 36.3%, respectively). Therefore, it is important to manage your medication on a regular basis. Often giving the control of your medication to another family member assures that you have a better chance of staying on your medication. One concern is that when an individual is on their medication they often will convince themselves that they no longer need the medication or they forget to take their medication. This sets the individual up for a rollercoaster ride with their moods. Maintaining a close relationship with your psychotherapist helps to address and manage your stress. Stress is often a trigger that will affect your moods.
Bipolar II is often associated with one or more co-occurring mental disorders, with anxiety disorders being the most common. Approximately 60% of individuals with bipolar II disorder have three or more co-occurring mental disorders; 75% have an anxiety disorder, and 37% have a substance use disorder.
These commonly co-occurring disorders do not seem to follow a course of illness that is truly independent from that of the bipolar disorder, but rather have strong associations with mood states. For example anxiety and eating disorders tend to associate most with depressive symptoms, and substance use disorders are moderately associated with manic symptoms. (DSM V, page 139)
Bipolar II is treatable with proper medication and psychotherapy.