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What Is the Difference Between Bipolar I and Bipolar II Disorders?

The most important differences between Bipolar I and II are:

  1. A person with Bipolar II experiences hypomanic episodes but not manic episodes. The difference between mania and hypomania is a matter of severity - hypomania generally does not impair a person's daily functioning or cause the need for hospitalization.
  2. Experience of psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or paranoia indicates Bipolar I Disorder; the presence of such symptoms rules out Bipolar II.

Another difference is that in Bipolar II disorder there are no mixed episodes. Our experience tells us that mixed episodes are extremely common in Bipolar II.