Bipolar II patients have never had a full blown manic episode, i.e., (a high). Bipolar II patients have had at least one hypomanic episode i.e. “milder high” at sometime in their life. A hypomanic episode is defined by these criteria.
How hard is it to diagnose bipolar II disorder?
The most common reason that the diagnosis is missed is because it is not suspected and explored by the psychiatrist. Even if the psychiatrist asks the right questions, 50% of patients deny the symptoms of a previous hypomanic episode for fear of the diagnosis, not wanting their highs taken away or having forgotten the episode. When a close family member or friend accompanies the patient to the examination, the rate of diagnosis doubles.