What does it mean to be diagnosed with bipolar II disorder as a young adult?

....the diagnosis has helped me get my head around why I was feeling how I was feeling and getting the right treatments... I've actually been feeling a lot more positive since the diagnosis.

- Christina, 22 years old, 1 month since diagnosis.


Most people with bipolar II disorder (BPII) will show signs by age 25. However, it often takes some time to be diagnosed with BPII and find the right medication and psychological treatment that works for you.

BPII can become more difficult to manage if it is not diagnosed for a long time. This may be because:

  • People with BPII whose symptoms go untreated are more likely to relapse. The more relapses a person has had, the more likely they are to relapse in the future.
  • Some adjunctive (add-on) psychological treatments may be less useful if people have already relapsed many times in the past.

Being diagnosed with BPII at a young age can help access treatment earlier, to help you stay well. One large study of over 500 adults with bipolar I and II disorders found that people who were treated more quickly had:

  • fewer days spent depressed
  • less severe depression
  • fewer relapses of any type.
  • more days spent well.

Early diagnosis and access to treatment puts you on the best path to manage your BPII symptoms and prevent relapse.