Bipolar II disorder is similar to bipolar I disorder except that mania is absent in bipolar II disorder and hypomania (a milder form of elevated mood than mania) is the essential diagnostic finding.
Lifetime prevalence is about 0.5%. Bipolar II disorder may be more common in women.
Current evidence implicates the same factors as for bipolar I.
History and Mental Status Examination
Bipolar II disorder is characterized by the occurrence of hypomania and episodes of major depression in an individua1 who has never met criteria for mania or a mixed state Hypomania is determined by the same symptom complex as mania but the symptoms are less severe, cause less impairment, and usually do not require hospitalization. Bipolar II disorder is cyclic (see Fig. 2-2B for course of untreated bipolar II). Suicide occurs in 10% to 15%.
Same as for bipolar I.
Treatment is the same as for bipolar I disorder, although hypomanic episodes typically do not require as aggressive a treatment regimen as mania.
Care must be taken in prescribing antidepressants for depression or dysthymia because of their role in prompting more severe or frequent hypomanic episodes.
1. Bipolar II disorder is a biphasic mood disorder with hypomania.
2. It is recurrent.
3. It has a suicide rate of 10% to 15%.
Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD