Bipolar 2 Disorder And Relationships: How Does This Disorder Affect Your Life?

A mental disorder affects not only your life but the lives of people related to you. If you want to learn about bipolar disorder and its consequences, then follow this article. It will guide you about bipolar 2 disorder and relationships.

It is not easy to be in a relationship with someone who is suffering from bipolar disorder. Likewise, it is equally challenging for a bipolar person to be in a relationship with someone because of the additional challenges attached to it. These relationships differ from normal ones, but one can make it work with acceptance and commitment.

However, Bipolar 2 is less severe than Bipolar 1 disorder, but there are certain kinds of risks attached to it. Sudden shifts in moods can bring along relentless symptoms, which can further create issues in the life of a bipolar person.

There are treatments available for bipolar disorder in the form of medication and psychotherapy, but it will still be challenging for a person to be in a relationship with a bipolar person because of the uncertain mood shifts. Hence it is necessary for you to know about the symptoms of this disorder, its outcomes, and ways through which you can manage a relationship with a bipolar person.

This article covers a guide about Bipolar 2 disorder and relationships so that you can learn about the differences between Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2 disorder, ways through which you can overcome this disorder, and, moreover, some tips about how to cope with a bipolar person.

What is bipolar disorder?

It is a mental illness where a person experiences an uneven shift of moods where he hits lows and highs of emotion. All humans experience different emotions, but the duration of those emotions lasts for a few hours, while in bipolar people, this sudden fluctuation of mood can stay for several days or weeks.

These unusual shifts of mood and emotions affect the everyday activities of a person, including his social and personal interactions. A person having bipolar disorder goes through intense level emotional episodes that last for days or weeks. If these episodes are of low emotions, then they are called depressive episodes, and if these episodes are of high emotions, then they are called hypomanic episodes.

In the depressive episodes of bipolar disorder, you feel tired, hopeless, and uninterested in any of the activity, whereas in hypomania, all of it reverses, and your energy levels rise up, and all your actions and brain functionality depend on these switched moods. Depending on the levels of emotional intensity, bipolar disorder has three kinds.

Bipolar 1 disorder:

People going through this type of bipolar disorder have at least one high emotional intensity mood known as a manic episode which can be further followed by lesser intensity moods called hypomanic. These episodes last for several days, and the person needs immediate medical care during these manic episodes. People with this disorder can also have neutral mood episodes.

Bipolar 2 disorder:

People are going through at least one depressive episode and one hypomanic episode. These episodes are not as intense compared to bipolar disorder, and in between these episodes, people return to their usual mood. People suffering from this disorder do not realize the need for medical treatment during hypomanic episodes as it increases their productivity and goes for treatment in depressive episodes.

Cyclothymic disorder:

It is a mild-intensity disorder compared to Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2. The depressive and hypomanic episodes occur in a frequent manner and do not last long to be considered hypomanic or depressive. In some cases, the cyclothymic disorder can develop into Bipolar 1 or bipolar 2.



What is a bipolar person like?

You can specify if a person is going through a depressive episode by his behavior. If you see him being tired all the time or if he sleeps a lot, does not eat properly, avoids social gatherings, keeps thinking about negative things, is uninterested in any conversation, or is not actively participating in physical activities, then it is possible that he is going through a depressive episode.

However, in the hypomanic episode of Bipolar 2, a person will be observed behaving in the complete opposite way. He will be more active than a common person, be very joyous and interactive, talk so fastly that sometimes his words will not make sense to others, sleep for a very short period of time, can act aggressive for no reason, spend money in an unusual way, will be eager to take challenges and experience adventures without bothering about the safety or seek a sexual activity that can bring risky results.

Once the hypomanic episode is over, the person does not feel good about the way he behaves; he might also feel ashamed about his uncontrollable actions. Most of the time, people do not clearly remember what happened during his hypomania duration, but his body feels exhausted due to all the hyperactiveness and requires rest to get back to its normal state.

What can trigger bipolar 2?

The exact reason for this disorder is not known, as it is a chemical imbalance in the brain that disturbs its natural functionality. There are several factors that can trigger the human brain and cause bipolar 2 disorder in a person, such as:

  • Severe stress: Stress can devastate your brain and increase the risk of mental illnesses.
  • Lack of sleep: Inability to sleep can affect your brain functionality.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse: It can trigger bipolar symptoms and make your mental condition worse.
  • Miserable experience: Any relationship breakdown, losing a loved one, or loneliness can trigger any bipolar episode.
  • Childhood trauma: As the human brain is in the process of development during childhood so any traumatic experience can distress it and cause bipolar disorder.

Genetic factors can also cause bipolar disorder as research has shown that it can exist in families and is possible to be passed on to the next generation or an immediate family member. Most people in their teenage or 20s experience the symptoms of this disorder.

What are the symptoms of bipolar 2?

The symptoms of bipolar 2 differ from bipolar 1; hence diagnosed as a separate disorder as it disrupts your daily activities but does not completely stop them as manic episodes do. A person in a hypomanic episode of bipolar two disorder can be in a state of either euphoria or very energy.

This elevated mood can affect the day-to-day activities of that person and can last for more than four days. The abnormality detected in such a state can be in the form of sudden switching of ideas, being overconfident, feeling your thoughts racing, making unrealistic plans, hypersexuality, having a loud tone, and having the inability to sleep due to hyperactivity.

The depressive episodes of Bipolar 2 can be diagnosed when a person is unenergetic and low for more than a week or longer than that. This depressive episode can bring significant impairment in the life of the person affecting his personal and professional activities; hence they are hard to deal with because, in some cases, the person needs medication to deal with this episode. The symptoms of a depressive episode include tired or upset feelings, hopelessness, agitation, lack of self-confidence, suicidal thoughts, not participating in social interaction, and unable to concentrate on anything.

How is Bipolar 2 diagnosed?

People going through hypomanic episodes do not usually realize their abnormality; on the contrary, they find it productive and hence do not seek any treatment until depressive episodes occur and they are unable to perform their daily tasks. However, irrespective of the episodes a person is going through, it is necessary for him to get medical treatment because, in either of the episodes, his normal functionality gets disrupted.

This order is diagnosed by a professional psychiatrist, who will evaluate the physical and psychological condition of the person to check if the symptoms of this disorder are present. The psychiatrist will initially ask you about the symptoms, mood episodes, and their duration, and how they affect your daily life and interaction with others.

He will go through your medical history and then observe your condition for a while to make sure that the symptoms are not because of any other physical condition or mental health problem, as some of the symptoms collide with depression, PTSD, BPD, etc. Moreover, he may ask several random questions to test your memory and reasoning. You can also be asked to do a blood test to check if there is any other cause of your problem.

Can bipolar 2 go away?

Until now, we have discussed the disorder and the experiences of a person that has bipolar 2 disorder, so in this section, we will talk about the measures taken by the psychiatrist to heal this disorder.

Bipolar 2 symptoms in the initial stages often go unnoticed because the hypomania episode does not signify any unhealthy behavior the way manic episodes do. It is disguised as a happy and productive period, so people in this stage do not need to reach out to a psychiatrist, so they do not get treated.

Depending on the several factors and intensity of the case, Bipolar 2 can be cured by using medication, therapy, or a combination of these two. It also depends on the treatment required for the current mood or for the cure of this disorder.

In hypomanic episodes, there is no use of talking treatment, so only medications are prescribed by the psychiatrist so that the hyperactivity is adjusted back to normal. However, in depressive episodes, medication, along with psychotherapy, also called talking therapy, is structured by your psychiatrist so that brain chemicals and depressive thoughts are cured.

Talking therapies

The doctor can include therapy sessions in your treatment process which is not only helpful in the depressive episode of the disorder but also helps the person in the longer term. This is called talking therapy because a psychiatrist makes the person talk about his symptoms, medical history, personal life, and problems. In this way, a psychiatrist analyzes the triggering factors in your life and helps you replace them with positive behaviors. It requires a collaborative and consistent effort of the person and therapist.

Some of the most opted therapies for bipolar disorder are as follows:

Cognitive behavioral therapy: In this approach, psychiatrists ask about the symptoms that occur in the depressive episodes of bipolar, negative feelings of guilt or low self-esteem, and any traumatic experience in the past. Through these questions, a psychiatrist identifies the thought that triggers the emotional distress and leads you to negativity. These negative thoughts are then converted into realistic and balanced thoughts so that your coping skills are enhanced.

Psychoeducation: This is an educational therapy that benefits not only you but the people related to you as well. You get to learn about your condition and its treatment so that if you see someone else having any symptoms, you can help them. Sessions for this therapy are conducted on both individual and group levels.

The individual session helps you to find out your triggers and develop skills to cope with them, while the group session is led by a therapist but includes a group of people having shared experiences. These people talk about their experiences and discuss different ways to manage them.

Interpersonal and behavioral therapy: It is a combination of two therapies where behavioral focus on everyday activities, including sleeping, eating, working, etc., so that if there is any imbalance, it is fixed to heal the symptoms. The interpersonal part focuses on the relationships so that if any abnormality is affecting your thoughts, it is fixed.

These talking therapies reflect on your life and personality and then help you deal with the impact of bipolar disorder on your life.


The psychiatrist will analyze your condition and then prescribe you one or a combination of medicines. They gradually start working on the symptoms and heal your disease. If someone gets allergic to a medicine or if the medication causes any side effects, then you must immediately reach your physician.

  • Antidepressants: These work to help with low mood in depressive episodes. Doctors prescribe these medicines along with other medicines or mood stabilizers because antidepressants alone can trigger your hypomanic episodes.
  • Antipsychotics: These are mostly used for manic episodes and, in some cases, prescribed to hypomanic people. Antipsychotic drugs include Asenapine, Quetiapine, Lumateperone, and many others.
  • Mood Stabilizers: These help to modulate the mood of the person during hypomanic or depressive episodes. Mood stabilizer drugs include Lamotrigine, valproate, carbamazepine, and many others.
  • Lithium: This can also be considered a mood stabilizer, but it works in the long-term as it helps to tackle the symptoms of depression, such as suicidal thoughts.

Electroconvulsive therapy

If someone is not making any progress with the medication or talking therapy, then psychiatrists consider this method called ECT. In ECT, electric currents are passed through a person’s brain so that the functionality of the brain is balanced.

It has been advised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence that electroconvulsive therapy should only be considered if the person is experiencing a severe depression/manic episode or if the situation is life-threatening and no other treatments have worked.

Can two bipolar people have a healthy relationship?

Every relationship has its own requirements and challenges, but with a bipolar person, things can get more complex as another person already struggles with his mental health. If it is managed well and efforts are made, the relationship can work out. The mood swings and switching episodes of a bipolar person can make it difficult for his partner to deal with him.

Every bipolar episode can bring its own consequences. In a hypomanic episode, hyperactivity can make your partner perform some activities that can be unusual and irritating. For instance, if your partner is bipolar, he will spend more money than he usually does or will disagree with you more often, which can increase the barriers and arguments between you two. Your intimacy can also get disrupted because a bipolar person gets hypersexual during his hypomanic or manic episodes, which can lead to risky behaviors.

In depressive episodes, a bipolar person feels low, which further affects his relationship with people around him. If you have a bipolar partner, you will see him struggling to communicate or be hopeful about things in this duration. All these things can affect his self-esteem, so it becomes difficult for such a person to show affection to his partner in a healthy way. All these symptoms of a depressive episode can make one feel neglected by his bipolar partner, and it will be difficult for the couple to connect.

Additionally, you can feel clueless because you would want to drag your partner out of this darkness but do not know how exactly to do it. The relationship is a commitment, and this disorder can draw a thick complexity in your life. However, these episodes are not static, and with proper treatment, one can have control over these symptoms, but it requires devotion, compromise, and patience to deal with this complexity.

How can you cope with the challenges?

It is a two-way effort and can only work out if both the people in the relationship are devoted enough to make it work for their significant other. For instance, nobody would be ready to put dedication, and consistent commitment in a casual relationship as the daily activities of both people gets affected because of it.

Here’s how both partners can contribute in their own way to sustain their relationship:

Things to do when you have a bipolar partner

It is important for you to be an emotionally strong and empathetic person to get into a relationship with a bipolar person because the sudden shift of mood can be out of your control. Some of the steps to be taken for a successful relationship are:

  • Be patient: There can be many situations where your partner will behave in an abrupt way, but that is due to a particular episode or mood shift. For example, your partner can bring up an irrelevant issue or cancel plans. In such a situation, you need to be patient and talk to him about it when he returns to his normal senses.
  • Learn about his condition: It can be helpful for both of you to communicate if you educate yourself about the disorder and your partner’s symptoms. In this way, you will mold your expectations according to the situation and will deal with the consequences in a better way.
  • Communicate: Talk to your partner about his condition, ask him what he is going through and what you can do to help them in this situation. It will make them feel vulnerable and more open about their feelings.
  • Involvement in the treatment: You can be involved in his treatment by visiting his psychiatrist with him and making sure that he is following his treatment plan accordingly. You can also convey some symptoms that your partner does not identify due to his mental instability. Moreover, apart from his individual therapy sessions, you both can consider couple therapy sessions to strengthen your relationship.
  • Self-care: You can not help someone else at the cost of your health, so be mindful that your health also does not get ignored in the healing journey of your partner.

Things to do when you are a bipolar partner

If you suffer from bipolar 2 disorder, you can have mixed feelings about having a romantic relationship with someone. You might be scared even to make any commitment because you are already struggling with your mental health, but it is possible to sustain a healthy relationship and treat your disorder simultaneously. Here’s how:

  • Be open about your condition: It is advised to communicate with your partner about everything related to your illness, but it should happen in an appropriate manner. You can not burden someone with your condition or scare them away with responsibilities. You can inform them about your condition and then notice if they are willing to provide support to move further.
  • Follow your treatment plan: A partner will only be able to help you in the process if you are determined to take your treatment seriously. If you are determined towards your treatment and health, you will make progress with symptoms, and it will minimize the obstacles they may face.
  • Work on yourself: As you are already dealing with a disorder, any carelessness can bring more harm, so it is important to follow a proper sleep cycle and diet plan so that it becomes easy for you to cope with the symptoms. If, during any stage, you feel like seeking help, do not hesitate to do it.
  • Therapy sessions: There are several types of therapy sessions for mental stability. You can include couple or relationship therapy sessions in your treatment plan so that you can learn how to deal with them from an expert.


Bipolar 2 disorder is an uneven roller coaster of emotions where both the hypomanic and depressive episodes can bring risky circumstances if it is left untreated. After the diagnosis and during the treatment process, it is not advised to stay away from normal life activities. It can be challenging for a bipolar person and his partner to sustain a healthy relationship. However, with effective treatment and preventive measures, it is possible to have fulfilling relationships.