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4 Types of Bipolar


Bipolar disorder is a complex condition that affects your mental health. If you’re newly diagnosed with this condition, you’re probably wondering what it is, why you have it, and what you can do about it. There are four different kinds of bipolar disorder, and finding out which one is affecting you will help you get your life back on track.

At Boston MindCare, our doctors are committed to helping you figure out which category of bipolar disorder fits you bbest. They can help you navigate your new diagnosis and find the best treatment option.


If you’re suffering from any kind of mental health disorder, it’s important that you identify and understand your symptoms in order for our doctors to correctly diagnose you. Bipolar disorder consists of both manic and depressive episodes that create an unstable mood.

Mania can be extreme changes in mood, or you can have hypomania which is typically less severe. Symptoms of mania include:

Difficulty sleeping Extreme energy Increased self-esteem Difficulty concentrating Racing thoughts

On the opposite end of the spectrum, depression can change your emotional highs to hopeless lows. If you have bipolar disorder with depression, symptoms you may experience include:

Fatigue Sadness Decreased energy Overeating or loss of appetite Suicidal thoughts


Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects your brain and your mental health. It’s characterized by erratic mood changes and can affect your energy and activity levels daily. Here are the four types of bipolar disorder and how they’re characterized:


This type of bipolar disorder is characterized by manic episodes, with or without depression symptoms. If you have this type of bipolar, your manic episodes will last a week or longer. Your mania may be so bad that it requires you to be hospitalized to ease the symptoms. Although you don’t have to have depression to be diagnosed with bipolar 1, it may also present with depression that lasts over two weeks.


Bipolar 2 disorder is characterized by having both manic and depressive episodes. The mania you experience with this type is usually less severe than the mania you’d experience in bipolar 1 — hence the name hypomania. When you have bipolar 2, you experience a major depressive episode either before or after you’ve had a manic break.


In cyclothymic disorder, you experience both manic and depressive episodes for two years or longer. For children, the same is true except they have to experience both for at least a year to be diagnosed. The mania and depression in this disorder are usually less severe than that of bipolar 1 or bipolar 2. Cyclothymic disorder causes unstable moods, meaning you may have periods of normalcy mixed with mania and depression.


You may experience symptoms that don’t fit into the other three bipolar categories. If this is the case, you’re considered type 4, or “other.” This type of bipolar may be caused by factors in your life that can include drugs, alcohol, or underlying medical conditions.


Treatment will depend on which type of bipolar disorder you have, and what your symptoms are. Most of the time, you’ll need medication to manage your symptoms, along with therapy. Medications that may be used include:

Antidepressants Antipsychotics Mood stabilizers Anti-anxiety medications

Sometimes traditional medication therapy isn’t enough. At Boston MindCare, our doctors offer a unique treatment option when nothing else has worked. Ketamine infusion therapy can help the symptoms of depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder. It works by inhibiting glutamate in your brain to stabilize your mood.

Like many of the other medications used to treat this disorder, ketamine comes with some side effects, so it’s important to talk to our doctors to see if this treatment is right for you.

What causes bipolar disorder?

No one knows exactly what causes bipolar disorder. Research suggests that a combination of factors could increase your chance of developing it. This includes physical, environmental and social conditions.

Childhood trauma

Stressful life events

Brain chemistry

Family links

Medication, drugs and alcohol

Childhood trauma

Some experts believe that experiencing a lot of emotional distress as a child can cause bipolar disorder to develop. This could be because childhood trauma and distress can have a big effect on your ability to manage your emotions.

This can include experiences like:


Sexual, physical or emotional abuse

Traumatic events

Losing someone very close to you, such as a parent or carer

Stressful life events

You may be able to link the start of your symptoms to stressful experiences or situations in your life.

Some people also find that stress can trigger a mood episode. Or it may make symptoms feel more intense or difficult to manage.

Things that can cause stress include:

A relationship breakdown

Money worries and poverty

Experiencing trauma

Losing someone close to you

Being abused, bullied or harassed, including experiencing racism

Feeling lonely or isolated

Lots of change or uncertainty

Feeling under pressure while working, studying or looking for work

Big events, such as weddings or holidays

Brain chemistry

Evidence shows that you can treat bipolar symptoms with certain psychiatric medications which act on the neurotransmitters. These are the 'messenger chemicals' in your brain.

This suggests that bipolar disorder may relate to functional problems of the neurotransmitters. While some research supports this, no one knows for sure how these neurotransmitters work. And we don't know whether problems with these are a cause of bipolar disorder, or a result of it.

Family links

If you experience bipolar disorder, you're more likely to have a family member who also experiences bipolar moods and symptoms. But they might not have a formal diagnosis. This suggests that bipolar disorder can be passed on genetically through families.

But this doesn't strictly mean that there is one 'bipolar gene'. Family links are likely to be much more complex.

For example, researchers think that social factors can also trigger experiences of bipolar disorder symptoms. And family members can be an influential part of your environment as you grow up.

Medication, drugs and alcohol

Medication, drugs and alcohol may cause you to experience some bipolar moods and symptoms. For example:

Medication. Some medications can cause hypomania or mania as a side effect. This can happen when you're taking them, or as a withdrawal symptom when you stop taking them. This includes medications for physical conditions and psychiatric medications – including some antidepressants. Depression can also be a side effect of a lot of different medications. It's important to discuss any concerns about medication side effects with your doctor.

Alcohol or recreational drugs. Using these can cause you to experience symptoms similar to mania, hypomania or depression. It can often be difficult to distinguish the effects of alcohol and drugs from mental health symptoms.

Some studies suggest that using certain recreational drugs can increase your risk of developing bipolar disorder. But the evidence is very limited.

If you're worried about the effects of medication, alcohol or recreational drugs on your mental health, it's important to discuss it with your doctor.


Please don't stop your psych meds for any reason. Discuss it first with your Dr. The dosage may be adjusted or the specific medicine can be replaced by another. Remember your psych meds aren't like flu meds. This meds has to be trial by error. So in other words one pill could throw out the whole balancing act of your psych health. Every pill that's prescribed to you has a reason. If you aren't truthful to your doctor and how you feel. He doesn't know that the coarse of meds aren't working for you.

What works for one doesn't necessarily help another.

All the psych meds are a whole network of chemicals that needs to work with your particular brain chemicals.

My best advice for you is be truthful to your psychologist and Dr and be patient it's worth it when they find the right regiment for you. You can be helped...


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