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The 7 Different Types of Bipolar Disorder

Before we get to the seven types of bipolar disorder; Back in 2018, I posted a blog article titled, What is Bipolar Disorder?” Well, I would like to make an update on that post a little. There are, technically, seven different types of Bipolar Disorder. In my 2018 post, I only listed three; Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Rapid Cycling.

An estimated 2.8 percent of adults 18 and older, in the United States, had Bipolar Disorder within this past year. And an estimated 4.4 percent of United States adults had Bipolar at some point in their lifetime.

That information above might not seem like a lot of people have bipolar disorder based on the percentages since there are other mental health disorders which have a higher percentage rate, but having to deal with and manage Bipolar symptoms can be very challenging for many people in the United States. 2.8 percent is a lot of people that must struggle with their disorder for the rest of their life. There is no cure for bipolar disorder. Maybe in the future they will find a cure, but as of yet, the struggle stays real.

If you do not know much about bipolar disorder, I will explain this disorder; bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme ups/mania and downs/depression.


Mania can give people an emotional high and they can be in a complete euphoric state where they feel like they are on top of the world. Some people may even change up they way the dress and, for women, how they put on makeup. That has happened to me a few times when I was stuck in a manic episode. When I was manic one time, it lasted for a month before I checked myself into a Behavioral Health Hospital. After sometime, I started to realize how manic I was and reached out for help when I could not control my behavior anymore.

Sometimes people can also get into this agitated mania state when everything seems to bother them and they want to just be left alone. That kind of mania feeling can often make people very agitated and frustrated. Some people might get argumentative and just become outright mean. Other people might just sit in one spot and feel like they can not figure out what to do, so they just stay sitting there and they might even also be agitated for feeling this way.

I have had manic episodes like that in the past and they make you feel terrible. I missed a therapy appointment that day and my therapist called me to check on me and when she called, I struggled with If I should answer her call or not. I decided to answer and when she asked if I was okay, I just burst out in tears and described my symptoms. She got permission from my psych doctor to increase my Vraylar so they told me to take an extra pill right now and so I did. After about an hour or so, I started to feel better gradually.


Depression can make people feel very sad and low, they might stop socializing with others and keep to their self more often. Depression can make people feel like life is pointless and that nothing will ever get better for them. People that feel depressed might feel worthless and unlovable. People with this disorder may think about self-harming or even think about ending their life. Bipolar depression can often be worse than having just depression alone.

This one Christmas night when my boyfriend was sleeping, I felt incredibly depressed. I was fed up with life and decided to try to kill myself by slitting my wrist. I felt like I could not handle the emotional pain that I was feeling anymore. I felt like this depression was never going to go away and I could not see a future for myself anymore.

I was only going to say good-bye to one person and that was my best friend. I text my bestie and told her that I loved her very much. That is all I could say. And right as I was getting the razor ready to start cutting myself, my bestie text back that she loved me and had a terrible Christmas. I was surprised she was awake still because it was late at night when I finally broke down enough to firmly decide to commit suicide. I started talking with her and that made me change my mind gradually the more we talked, and it also calmed me down a bit since it was a great distraction.

Now that I hope you know a little more about what bipolar disorder is and how it can make you feel, we can get onto the main topic and start talking about the different types of bipolar disorder.

The list of the seven bipolar disorder types:

  1. Unspecified Bipolar Disorder
  2. Bipolar I
  3. Bipolar II
  4. Rapid Cycling
  5. Cyclothymia
  6. Bipolar with Mixed Features
  7. Bipolar with Seasonal Pattern

Unspecified Bipolar Disorder:

A person might end up with the diagnosis of Unspecified Bipolar Disorder if they do not actually meet the criteria of any other types of bipolar disorder, but has still experienced abnormal periods of elevated moods.

Bipolar I Disorder:

Having this type of bipolar disorder means you have experienced at least one manic episode.  The mania needs to have lasted for at least a week, or to be severe enough that hospitalization was necessary.  For about 50-60% of people with this type of the disorder, they will also experience depressive episodes.  Frequently, these occur immediately before or after a manic phase.

Bipolar II Disorder:

Having this type of bipolar disorder means you have experienced at least one hypomanic episode and at least one depressive episode in your lifetime.  The period of hypomania needs to be for at least 4 days.

Rapid Cycling:

This type of bipolar disorder means that you have a diagnosis with bipolar disorder and that you experience 4 or more episodes of illness in a year.  These episodes can occur in any order. Someone might experience an equal number of manic and depressive episodes over a year, for another person they might have 3 episodes of mania and only 1 of depression over this time. For some, they may also rapidly cycle within the matter of hours or days and bounce around between mania and depression.   


Cyclothymia is characterized the person having hypomania and depressive symptoms that do not exactly fall into the criteria of bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder.

Bipolar with Mixed Features:

This type of bipolar disorder is characterized by a person having symptoms of both mania and depression at the same time. I have had mixed episodes and, for me, the symptoms were horrible.

Bipolar with Seasonal Pattern:

People with Bipolar with Seasonal Pattern disorder have underlying bipolar disorder and a person might only get depressed during the winter months and become manic during the summer months.

Samantha View All

Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog

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