Bipolar disorder is the number one neurological brain disorder in the United States. It affects approximately 2.3 million people or 1% of the population. This mental illness creates mood swings that interfere with a person’s day-to-day tasks.
Having this mental health condition and living a healthy, active life is possible with bipolar disorder treatment. Our licensed mental health experts specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions like bipolar disorder. At SoCal Empowered, our mental health treatment center offers bipolar disorder treatments, therapies, and medication, so you can meet mental wellness.
People who suffer from bipolar disorder are more likely to seek help when they are depressed. This makes reviewing your medical history prior to a diagnosis important. We want to ensure that bipolar disorder is not mistaken for major depressive disorder (MDD). Antidepressants may trigger a manic episode for bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic-depressive illness or manic depression) is an episodic mental disorder. Unusual changes in mood, energy, and concentration happen occasionally and in irregular intervals. Everyone experiences ups and downs, but bipolar disorder is a lot different and can be extreme.
A person having a manic episode might feel happy, irritable, or “up” with an obvious increase in activity level. During a depressive episode, a person feels sad, hopeless, or indifferent, combined with a low activity level. Others may experience hypomanic episodes, which are less severe versions of manic episodes.
There are three types of bipolar disorders, which all involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels.
This can be defined as having manic episodes that last a least a week. It can also be manic symptoms that are so severe, the person needs immediate hospital care. Depressive episodes usually occur too, lasting at least 2 weeks. It is possible to have depressive and manic symptoms at the same time.
This is defined by a pattern of depressive and hypomanic episodes. However, these episodes are not as full-blown that are regular in Bipolar I Disorder.
Also called Cyclothymia, which is defined by periods of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms. Although, the symptoms alone do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic and a depressive episode. These symptoms must be present for at least 2 years in adults, and 1 year in children and adolescents.
It is possible for a person to experience symptoms of bipolar disorder but are not equal to the three types. This is referred to as other specified or unspecified bipolar and related disorders.
There are some general signs and symptoms of this mental health disorder which include:
This mental health disorder is usually diagnosed during teen years or early adulthood. It is possible for bipolar symptoms to appear in children on occasion. Furthermore, it is possible for this disorder to first appear during or after pregnancy. Symptoms can vary over time, but bipolar disorder treatment is typically lifelong in order to improve one’s quality of life.
Bipolar disorder symptoms are similar to other mental illnesses, which can make the diagnosis process quite challenging. Besides, many people have this disorder along with another mental health disorder. It is not unusual to also suffer from psychosis, anxiety, ADHD, an eating disorder, or a substance use disorder (SUD). People with bipolar are also at higher risk for thyroid disease, migraines, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other physical illnesses.
Psychosis: A person with severe episodes of mania or depression may undergo psychotic symptoms, like hallucinations and delusions. Psychotic symptoms generally match the person’s extreme mood.
For instance, psychotic symptoms during a mania may be an unrealistic belief that they are rich and famous. Psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may wrongly think they are financially ruined, committed a crime, or have a serious illness. Due to possible psychotic symptoms associated with bipolar disorder, people can be wrongly diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Anxiety: It is common for people with bipolar disorder also to have an anxiety disorder.
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): It is common for people with bipolar disorder to also have ADHD.
Alcohol or Substance Abuse: A person with this condition may misuse alcohol or drugs and engage in other high-risk behaviors while under the influence. Negative effects of drug and alcohol abuse are usually most apparent to family members and friends. It is important to recognize the presence of an associated mental health disorder.
Eating Disorders: In certain situations, people with bipolar disorder also have an eating disorder, like binge eating or bulimia.
Bipolar disorder treatment can be beneficial for even the most severe forms of the disorder. Because bipolar is a lifelong illness, manic and depressive episodes usually come back over time. Effective treatments for bipolar disorder typically contains a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Treatment options should involve continuous, long-term care to help people manage their symptoms.
Medications can be helpful in managing symptoms of this disorder. Trying several different medications to figure out the one that works best is possible with a health care provider.
Mood stabilizers and second-generation antipsychotics are common medications used to treat bipolar disorder. Some treatment plans may include medications that are focused for sleep or anxiety. Antidepressants are prescribed to treat bipolar depression, prescribed with mood stabilizers to prevent a triggered manic episode.
People who use medication should take extra should often speak with a health care provider to know the risks and benefits associated with the medication. When speaking with the healthcare provider they should make sure to let them know about any other prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or supplements that already in use.
Remember that bipolar disorder medication must be taken as prescribed and consistently, even when the person is feeling well. While taking the medication be sure to report any concerns about side effects right away so the healthcare provider can change the dose of medication. Also be wary of a sudden stop in medication as it can lead to a “rebound” or worsen bipolar disorder symptoms. For up-to-date information on medications, side effects, and warnings, visit U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Medication Guides website.
Psychotherapy or talk therapy is another effective part of bipolar disorder treatment. Psychotherapy has an umbrella of therapy techniques that all help identify and change troubling thoughts and behaviors. For instance, therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and psychoeducation are used to treat various mental conditions. They can provide tremendous support, education, and guidance for people with bipolar disorder and their families.
Newer therapies have been designed specifically for bipolar disorder treatment like interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) and family-focused therapy. Ongoing research determines if intensive psychotherapeutic intervention during the early stages of bipolar can prevent or limit its full-blown onset.
When you suffer from bipolar disorder, the mood swings can make it challenging to manage daily life activities. Depressive episodes put people at high risk for turning to drugs or alcohol for feelings of relief. If you or someone you love is experiencing signs and symptoms of this condition, give us a call today. Bipolar disorder treatment can help you maintain good mental health.