For anybody familiar with the condition known as bipolar 2, you will probably know how difficult and distressing the condition can be. Bipolar 2 disorder is a condition most commonly characterised by at least one hypomanic (happy) episode and one major depressive episode. Firstly, what is bipolar 2 ? – Bipolar 2 disorder, is a type of mental illness that is very similar to bipolar 1 disorder. Typically, persons suffering from bipolar 2 will experience severe mood swings and changes, alternating from periods of extreme lows, to highs over time. The only real difference between bipolar 1 and 2 is that in bipolar 2, the person suffering from the condition will never experience what is known as full on “mania” type highs. The less-intense elevated moods in bipolar 2 disorder are known as “hypomania” or hypomanic episodes. Generally, people suffering from bipolar 2 disorder will have, or will experience at least one hypomanic episode in their life. Unfortunately, people suffering from this condition also suffer spells of depression, sometimes quite severe. This is where the term “manic depression” comes from. What are the symptoms of bipolar 2 ? – Although bipolar 2 is thought to be generally less severe than bipolar 1, it is still an extremely serious medical condition and there are a number of symptoms to look for if you believe that you, or somebody you know, may be suffering from bipolar 2 disorder. People suffering from bipolar 2 usually have an elevated mood, irritability and notice some small changes in everyday functions. Instead of full-blown mania, in which persons can become hysterical and uncontrollable, those afflicted will instead experience hypomania episodes like we spoke about earlier. These are much less severe changes in mood but still just as serious. In bipolar 2, spells of depression can typically last for much longer than periods of hypomania. Bipolar 2 treatments – In bipolar 2, hypomania can actually disguise itself as feelings of joy, happiness or even optimism. If this hypomania is not causing any obvious signs of unhealthy or unnatural behaviour, it can often go undiagnosed, and as such, will obviously not be treated. This is a stark contrast to true mania type episodes, which can result in a person or persons becoming seriously injured, both physically and psychologically. True mania type episodes require treatment via specially designed medicines. Those suffering from bipolar 2 disorder can greatly benefit from preventive drugs designed to stabilize their mood over the long term. These drugs have been made to help prevent the negative side effects of hypomania, and can also help to prevent spells of depression. Mood stabilizers are also a great treatment when dealing with bipolar 2 disorder. Lithium, Depakote, Lamictal, Tegretol and Trileptal, are some of the more commonly prescribed drugs when dealing with this terrible condition. Anti-psychotics, anti-depressants and even tranquilizers have also been proven to help treat bipolar 2. There are things that can be done at home to help combat the affects of bipolar 2. Changes in diet, such as eating healthier, fresher foods and drinking more water have all been recommended. Try to get a good night's sleep and not over work yourself. All of these seemingly small changes can make a big, big difference. Bipolar 2 support – Finally, if you think that you, or somebody you know, may be suffering from bipolar 1 or bipolar 2 disorder then it is urgent that you seek medical help and advice as soon as possible. There are a number of books, forums, experts and help lines out there, all designed to give you all the care, support, help and advice that you could ever need. Remember, you are not alone, thousands upon thousands of others are suffering from this same condition and you and your loved ones can still lead a perfectly normal everyday life. I wish you good luck and good health for the future.