What You Need to Know About Bipolar 1 vs Bipolar 2

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Have you heard of a thing called BPAD aka Bipolar Affective Disorder? To shorten it, Bipolar Disorder?

Some people confuse the acronym of "BPAD" with "BPD" which stands for Borderline Personality Disorder. This is a somewhat different disorder to what I'm going to talk about in this post.

So let's get back to BPAD. To define 'bipolar disorder', it is an abnormal mood disorder that has two-three states: depressive, manic or hypomanic episodes. These states are categorised into two disorders: Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2 (you will learn the difference in this post).

This disorder can start in your early adulthood (aka your 20's). A person with BPAD is often recognisable by others around them such as their family, friends or colleagues.

In this post, I'm going to be describing the insights of these abnormal mood swings, comparing the difference between BPAD 1 and 2 and give you advice on how to help someone with BPAD or if you have this disorder.

Note: NOT EVERYONE suffers from BPAD. You may have some mood swings from time to time but it does not mean you have bipolar disorder unless you fall into the symptoms mentioned!

So grab your mug of coffee or tea and let's get right into it!

The ultimate guide to learning about bipolar affective disorder. #bpad #bipolardisorder #bipolar #disorder #mentalhealth #psychosis #psychology #dsm5 #bipolar1 #bipolar2

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What does it feel like to be BPAD?

Dr Tracey Marks states "A period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and abnormally and persistently increased activity or energy, lasting at least 1 week and present most of the day, nearly every day."

You can watch the video here - Bipolar 1 Disorder or Bipolar 2 Disorder - Which is Worse?

She has plenty of other videos talking about BPAD.

What is it like to have BPAD?

Here's an example of what it feels like to have bipolar disorder: There are times where you feel very productive and energetic. You feel like you can be awake for over 24 hours and you do pretty much anything within this state.

For example, you could be cooking a feast and the next you could be spring cleaning the entire house (ok it seems like a bit much extravagate but it's pretty surreal).  You could sleep very late and wake up early feeling energetic.

Now once that state is over, you fall into a deep depression. You can't get out of bed, you feel like you want to end your life and you introvert yourself from human interaction. For a person diagnosed with BPAD, this can last for weeks or months.

How is BPAD caused?

There is no "official" known cause of BPAD however "abnormal physical characteristics of the brain or an imbalance in certain brain chemicals" could be the likely cause.

Other likelihood causes could be from genetics run from biological family. Your risk can be higher if your parent or sibling has BPAD.

Another risk involves severe stress, drug or alcohol abuse, or severely upsetting experience that triggers BPAD (childhood abuse or death of a loved one).

Mania, Hypomania and Depressive

I'm going to be listing the main symptoms in dot points under each category. Like Dr Tracey Mark said, "you must fall into these symptoms that last for a week".

Note: It's not classified as a "manic episode" if it is caused by outside influences such as alcohol, drugs, or another health condition.


  1. Have a high burst of energy
  2. Distraction
  3. Rapid speech or racing thoughts
  4. During this state, can interfere with daily activities
  5. Make irrational decisions (excessive spending, dressing more colourfully)
  6. High-risk behaviours (excessive gambling, drugs, sex and/or alcohol)


  1. Less severe than manic episodes but could have some symptoms from mania
  2. Behaviour differs from your normal state


  1. Clinical depression (extended periods of sadness and hopelessness)
  2. Loss of interest in pass activities you enjoyed once
  3. Poor eye contact or distancing from social interactions
  4. Tiredness
  5. Irritability
  6. Self-harm
  7. Trouble concentrating
  8. Changes in sleeping habits
  9. Eating excessively or less
  10. Suicidal thoughts (suicidal ideation).

The ultimate guide to learning about bipolar affective disorder. #bpad #bipolardisorder #bipolar #disorder #mentalhealth #psychosis #psychology #dsm5 #bipolar1 #bipolar2

Bipolar 1 vs Bipolar 2

Bipolar 1

You need to note that to be BPAD1, you MUST have at least ONE manic episode. Characteristics are mentioned in the "mania" list. From time to time, they can experience depression unlike a person with BPAD2.

A person with this mood disorder can have a manic episode so severe that it could lead them to a hospital.

Bipolar 2

To be diagnosed with BPAD2, you must have major depressive episodes that last at least two weeks and at least ONE hypomanic episode.

Unlike BPAD1, people with this disorder do not require to be hospitalised. If this person does not have manic episodes, then depressive symptoms become more valid.

How you can check if you have BPAD

Try doing a self-diagnosed through the Psycom side. This is just a self-test to see what types of BPAD you have or if you don't have. (Note: this doesn't mean you "have" BPAD until you get an official diagnosis from health professionals).

It doesn't stop you from going to the doctors to get a diagnosed but if you want to make it easier for you and your general practitioner, I highly recommend doing a bit more research and doing the self-test so that you can explain to your doctor the symptoms.

After your diagnosis, your general practitioner will recommend a psychiatrist. Once they receive the message, you would then have to make an appointment with them over the phone.

What should you do if you find out symptoms of your BPAD?

Keep a mood diary

You can keep track of your mood every day to find imbalances. You can find plenty of free apps on keeping track of your mood and sleep schedule.

The ones I recommend will be listed here:
Ø Vent | Android, IOS
Ø SimpleNotes
Ø Daylio
Ø Youper | I use this app pretty much every day to keep track of my mood. Not only can you keep track of your mood but the app also lets you journal down your problems. This app also gives tips, advice and information on your mental health.

The ultimate guide to learning about bipolar affective disorder. #bpad #bipolardisorder #bipolar #disorder #mentalhealth #psychosis #psychology #dsm5 #bipolar1 #bipolar2
Other than that, this app also suggests mindfulness to help you cope with your disorders (depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc). If you want to find more helpful self-care apps, you can check out my top 8 apps for self-care.

Fix your sleep schedule

One of the common issues with BPAD is having a random sleep cycle that causes you to have one of many mood swings. For example, one day I'll be sleeping at 3 am and waking up at 1 pm.

Issues that cause random sleep schedule is school, work (especially those with night shifts), digital technology (smartphones, tv or tablets) and lack of plans.

It's best to start sleeping earlier before 10 pm and wake up early (5 am-9 am). You can also keep a journal of your sleeping patterns.

Take away alcohol and drug use

If you're known for histories of substance abuse, I recommend reducing those from your lifestyle.

Keep a diet

Set eating routines such as breakfast, lunch and dinner. People with BPAD can suffer from binge-eating and/or lack of eating on different days.

It is recommended you eat healthy foods like vegetables, grains, fruits, etc or/and go on a diet.

Exercise daily (or often)

I find that exercising helps with my mood and life choices. You can attend a GYM, walk or jog in your neighbourhood or do home exercises.

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Keep busy

One of the many problems with BPAD is that when you have no event going on, you're most likely going to fall into that state.

That's why you should keep busy with things such as finding new hobbies, learn new things through online courses or even apply to part-time jobs.

Most importantly...

Learn more about your bipolar disorder

This can help you get a better understanding of what goes on inside your brain. You'll be able to educate others on your disorder and be able to learn to control it.

Speak to your doctor or any mental health professional and get treatment

Keeping to yourself and never getting the help you need will make your disorder worse (learn that from my own experience).

This includes destroying your relationships with family and friends as well as your lifestyle. Getting treatment such as medication and psychological therapy will fix disrupted relationships and lead you to a normal lifestyle.


You have just learned what Bipolar Disorder is! That means you understand what it's like to have BPAD and the three states mania, hypomania and depressive. You also got to know the difference between bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 and you're able to learn how to advise yourself or someone with this disorder.

Do you have someone who suffers from bipolar disorder or you know someone that has these symptoms yet haven't got diagnosed yet?

Sources of information from this post:

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~ Ellen