What is Bipolar II Disorder? Mariah Carey Confirms Diagnosis

Singer Mariah Carey revealed she was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in 2001.

In a cover story for People magazine, the 48-year-old said she refused to come to terms with it right away. "Until recently, I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me," she said exclusively to People magazine. "It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn't do that anymore. I sought and received treatment."

"I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love—writing songs and making music," Carey continued.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by "brain disorders that cause changes in a person's mood, energy and ability to function," according to The American Psychiatric Association (APA). It includes three different conditions: bipolar I, bipolar II and cyclothymic disorder.

"The worst end of the spectrum is bipolar I," Patricia Allen, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Executive Director of Medical Services for Summit Behavioral Health, told Newsweek Wednesday. "Bipolar II is usually less serious. It usually has less consequence. But it also needs to be treated."

"By treatment, I mean the person is willing to take medication and that they're going to go to a counselor," Allen added.


I'm grateful to be sharing this part of my journey with you. @mrjesscagle @people

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Carey revealed to People that she's in therapy and regularly takes medication. But she initially thought she was experiencing a severe case of insomnia. "I was working...I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down," she said. "It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania...I guess my depressive episodes were characterized by having very low energy."

"One of the reasons you find people in high-power positions diagnosed with bipolar is that they do tend to be very driven and ambitious and confident," Ziv E. Cohen, M.D., F.A.P.A., PLLC Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, told Newsweek Wednesday. "Those are things you can see when they're having manic symptoms. The people around them may not notice that because they might think that they're just performing a very high level."

Added Cohen, "But it's not sustainable and results in the person cycling into a depression. People will often continue in this pattern for a number of years until it catches up with them and they realize that they need to get treatment."

Carey is not alone. Celebrities like Demi Lovato, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Carrie Fisher and Russell Brand have opened up about having bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is more common than one would think. According to Pendulum data, nearly 51 million people worldwide suffer from it, including 2.2 million individuals in the United States.

Mariah Carey
Singer Mariah Carey revealed she was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in 2001. Here, Carey is pictured performing during New Year's eve celebrations in Times Square in New York City, New York, U.S., December 31, 2017. Reuters/Carlo Allegri