Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder, formally known as manic depression, is characterized as a mood disorder, which can lead to severe mood swings. Bipolar disorder can also be associated with periods of both high and low energy.  During periods of low energy, one may experience depression, sadness, or lose interest in activities they once enjoyed.  While experiencing high energy (or mania) periods, the symptoms can range from feelings of euphoria to irritability.

What is Bipolar Disorder

Unfortunately, we’re not sure what causes bipolar disorder. Many studies suggest that this disorder is caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, periods of high stress and/or trauma, or substance abuse.  However, we do know that it can cause brain function dysregulation, a lack of ability to regulate one’s emotional responses.

Bipolar Disorder can be difficult to diagnose and spot but usually presents as early as age 15 and as late as 24. In some rare cases, it can become apparent sooner, or later in life, but this is uncommon.

Additionally, there are a few different types of Bipolar Disorders. The most common Bipolar Disorders are 1 & 2. The main difference between Bipolar 1 & 2 is the severity of the episodes caused by the type of disorder. To clarify, there are two types of episodes: manic and hypomanic. A manic episode is defined as a type of episode where a person’s mood is extreme. This type of episode is characterized as a “high.” A hypomanic episode is when a person experiences a manic episode but it is less severe and shorter. When a person is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1, they will have experienced a full manic episode, while a person with Bipolar Disorder 2 would have only experienced a hypomanic episode.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms of bipolar disorder vary broadly, sometimes making it difficult to get an accurate diagnosis without prolonged observation.  Some people experience few symptoms.  However, in many cases, the manifestation of symptoms can be much more severe.

Common symptoms include:

  • Trouble maintaining relationships

  • Difficulty holding down a job

  • Unusual risk-taking behaviors

  • Lack of concentration

Typically, healthcare professionals classify different symptoms into categories such as depression, mania, and hypomania.

Depression symptoms can include:

  • Poor sleep habits (insomnia or oversleeping)

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

  • Overeating or binging and weight gain

  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

  • Feelings of guilt

  • Feelings of hopelessness

  • Perceived lack of self-worth

  • Pain

  • Headaches

  • Stomach upset

  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Mania symptoms can include:

  • Periods of abundant energy

  • Restlessness or sleeplessness

  • Lack of focus

  • Feelings of euphoria

  • Feelings of irritability

  • Poor judgment

  • Inappropriate reactions or behaviors

  • Rapid speech

  • Speaking loudly

  • Increased sex drive

Hypomania symptoms can include:

  • Insomnia

  • Risky, pleasure-seeking behavior

  • High energy

  • Productivity

  • Confidence

  • Increased sex drive

  • Focus

  • Elevated moods

How is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed and Treated?

Currently, there is no specific test when it comes to determining bipolar disorder. However, our providers begin by discussing your medical and family history and performing a physical examination to evaluate your symptoms. They may also reach out to friends and family to get a clearer picture of your life (both the highs and lows). The more informed your doctor is regarding your personality and personal life, the more accurately they can diagnose and treat you.

Treatment for bipolar disorder can vary depending on the severity of the condition.  Typically, this disorder is treated by medication in conjunction with psychotherapy. Treatment for bipolar disorder is usually lifelong and if left untreated, it may result in bipolar episodes that require hospitalization or move an individual to commit self-harm or to harm others.

How Strategic Behavioral Health Can Help

Strategic Behavioral Health is dedicated to the health and well-being of those suffering from manic depression.  Our facility offers inpatient and outpatient services, as well as residential programs, based on the level of care a patient requires.  Our caring and compassionate staff are here to help patients manage and overcome their illnesses, as well as guide friends and family along the way.

If you or someone you know is struggling with bipolar disorder, please reach out today!