stormy brain
depression I like to call Bipolar II a stormy brain. I keep on wondering how many alcoholics are self medicating bipolar II's and just haven't been diagnosed as being bipolar II. There are a lot of symptoms for Bipolar II. Irritability is one symptom of Bipolar II. The person might not even recognize in herself/himself but think of themselves as being good natured. Once they are on medication, they might realize how irritable they really had been.(antipsychotic is great for irritability). Another symptom for bipolar II is underlying depression. The person might consider they have a melancholy nature or are too sensitive, but if they aren't treatment resistant, mood stabilizers and antidepressants alter their melancholy or depressive outlook without being manic. About manic and bipolar II, give a bipolar II person just an antidepressant and usually you will see manic behavior. Then there is the problem of sleep and bipolar II. It can go both ways. The bipolar II person can go through bouts of exhaustion or lethargy and just doesn't have the motivation, even to bathe....Then there are periods when the bipolar II person might feel tired, but just can't sleep and keeps on going and going and going.
Everybody knows the term manic depressive. An exaggerated description of class manic depression or Bipolar I could be a man in cloak walking a tightrope wire with no safety net exhibiting no fear as if he could sprout wings instead of dropping fifty feet or else on a downward spiral staying in a corner of a dark room..trying to figure out if it the time to end it.

Bipolar II is a lot more difficult to diagnosis since the symptoms aren't as extreme and the sufferer is usually misdiagnosed with some personality problem, or as slightly eccentric, too intelligent, creative, artistic type, or affective disorder or borderline personality or depressive type...nothing about chemical inbalance. Usually the Bipolar II person is so used to the anxiety and depression, he/she is resistent to the label. A good question to ask is "Are you classically depressed? no energy to do anything? just feel like sleeping your life away? Usually they wind up telling you that inspite of the bleakness of their painful depression, they busily are doing some things that are quite productive and fine the energy and sometimes the super energy..while at the same time contemplating suicide :-) or what is the point of going on..or that feeling of hopelessness or things will get worse..or if only something external will change..
Whether Bipolar One( classic manic depressive) or Bipolar II, the more difficult chemical inbalance to diagnosis, are related is still moot. This site is an attempt to help one diagnosis oneself in case one might be bipolar II and might be a candidate for medication which could ameliorate the pain and suffering you have experienced probably most of your life going back to childhood..and I mean early childhood..say about five years old.
My credentials. I am bipolar II. I have been misdiagnosed for most of my life. I practiced psychology as a child psychologist at a time when nobody used that diagnosis. In looking back, I can remember many psychologicals showing the abnormal anxiety, paranoia, the hypersensitivity, the high intelligence, and the poor self image but good reality testing that the young children showed. No psychosis..

Notice the absence of the middle in bipolar. Maybe we should just call it the no middle disorder and many people who have not been diagnosed with bipolar disorder because they don't fit the classic manic depressive will finally get the treatment they need to end their suffering not proper medication.

Bipolar II individuals do not experience full blown manic episodes but instead experience hypomania-a milder form of mania without psychotic features.
Rapid Cycling is a form of bipolar which consists of rapid shifts of moofds between hypomanic and depressive states..notice no middle..which can happen daily or weekly but frequently..
Don't take it lightly..there is a high rate of suicide!

Confusion often lies in the diagnosis because as a bipolar II sufferer, one doesn't recognize the chemical inbalance as being high or being low. One also doesn't recognize it as having no middle. If one never experienced a middle or resting place, one doesn't suspect what one has been missing, until medication gives it back. Instead, if one asks questions such as do you experience inappropriate anxiety, restlessness, extreme bursts of energy, difficulty sleeping, overeating or sometimes undereating..melancholy, driven to work, too tired to work, irritated agitation, excitement but not necessarily pleasurable, might be bipolar II.

My favorite research study will be plunked right about agitated irritation..please read this one and see if you can to your reactions to your life in abstraction

Obviously I am bipolar since I love to talk and write in tangents but always return. This research article strongly suggest how we get into we get flooded..although we do get out of it..implicitly how we delve deeply into subjects which can have a calming effect to get rid of that kindling or combustion effect of setting off that limbic activity of new tasksLimbic hyperreactivity in bipolar II disorder.
Berns GS, Martin M, Proper SM. University of Pittsburgh, USA.
OBJECTIVE: The authors' goal was to determine whether patients with bipolar II disorder had altered regional brain responses to novel motor sequences. METHOD: Regional cerebral blood flow was measured with positron emission tomography in 13 patients with bipolar II disorder and 14 healthy comparison subjects. Participants performed a serial reaction time task in which they were visually cued to press one of four buttons at a time. The order of button presses was determined by a complex sequence that was changed in the latter half of the study. RESULTS: In the comparison subjects a spatial attention circuit in the superior parietal lobe and supplementary motor area was activated in response to the introduction of the new sequence. Patients did not display this activation pattern; instead, a widespread limbic network was activated in response to the new sequence. CONCLUSIONS: The attentional resources of patients with bipolar II disorder are not reallocated when they are confronted with a nonemotional motor task; rather, their performance is altered through activation of limbic circuitry.

One research abstract gives pointers as to reduce misdiagnoses
" Strategies to reduce misdiagnosis of bipolar depression.
Bowden CL.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio 78229-3900, USA.
Research over the past decade indicates that the prevalence of bipolar disorder is similar to that of major depression. The author discusses complexities in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, especially in distinguishing bipolar from unipolar depression. Bipolar depression is associated with more mood lability, more motor retardation, and greater time spent sleeping. Early age of onset, a high frequency of depressive episodes, a greater percentage of time ill, and a relatively acute onset or offset of symptoms are suggestive of bipolar disorder rather than major depression. Because DSM-IV criteria require a manic or hypomanic episode for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, many patients are initially diagnosed and treated as having major depression. Treatment of bipolar disorder with antidepressants alone is not efficacious and may exacerbate hypomania, mania, or cycling. It is important that clinicians be alert to any hint of bipolarity developing in the course of antidepressant therapy, especially among patients with first-episode major depression"

One of the problems with that one is usually the disorder starts very early in life and can be cloaked in precociousness, hyperactivity,attention deficit,whatever, or the energy can be worked out in playing extensively for instance or ignored.

Another way to tell is your reaction to medication. If you are given an antidepressant and you find you are still depressed or if you react with becoming hyperactive or pacing or flooded with too much energy, you may be bipolar II. What if you are given lithium and you are still depressed? Are you a rapid cycler or does your mood fluctate? That doesn't mean that you are not bipolar II, but that lithium just might affect the manic side but does nothing for the depression or oppressive side.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS WITHOUT MOOD STABLIZERS CAN BE A REAL TABOO. Use of antidepressants to treat depression in bipolar disorder." For decades, clinicians and researchers did not distinguish between bipolar and unipolar depression. The safety and efficacy of antidepressants for the treatment of unipolar depression were studied, and the data were applied to the treatment of bipolar depression without validation. As evidence has accumulated that antidepressants may adversely affect the course of bipolar illness, more research has been focused on that problem. Current evidence suggests that although antidepressants are clearly effective in the acute treatment of type I and type II bipolar depression, they are also associated with a variety of adverse outcomes. They may induce a switch to mania or hypomania at a rate two or three times the spontaneous rate. Long-term use may destabilize the illness, leading to an increase in the number of both manic and depressed episodes; induce rapid cycling (at least four episodes a year); and increase the likelihood of a mixed state. Antidepressants should be used with caution in the treatment of bipolar depression."

One of the first things to do if you suffer from depression is to have a complete blood check..Have your thyroid checked before you do anything else.