What is a bipolar disorder?

Bipolar is a term that is sometimes loosely thrown around to describe “moody” people but bipolar is a serious mental disorder that can seriously affect the daily lives of individuals who suffer from it. Over 3 million adults suffer from bipolar disorder every year but bipolar disorder can affect any age. Bipolar disorder refers to an individual who experiences extended periods of mood and energy (excessively high or irritable/sad and hopelessness) with periods of normal mood in between.

How is it diagnosed?

Individuals that seek help will do so during periods of depression rather than when they are experiencing elevated moods. The difficult part about diagnosing individuals with bipolar disorder is that it is often misdiagnosed as depression. A careful evaluation of the patient’s medical history is needed to ensure the correct diagnosis. serious matter and can be seriously debilitating if left untreated.

Types of Bipolar

All of the common types of bipolar disorder involve obvious changes in mood, energy levels and activity levels. These all range from extremely elevated (mania) to very low (depression).

  • Bipolar I – defined by manic episodes that last at least 7 days or by manic symptoms that are so severe that a person needs immediate hospital care. Depressive episodes occur as well and typically last at least 2 weeks.
  • Bipolar II – defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic (less severe mania).
  • Cyclothymic Disorder – numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms as well as numerous periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years. However, these symptoms and periods are less severe and do not meet the requirements for hypomanic or depressive episodes.
  • Unspecified Bipolar – bipolar disorder symptoms that do not match the three categories listed above.

Individuals that suffer from bipolar disorder experience periods of intense emotion, changes in sleep patterns, unusual behaviors, relationship/work difficulty and more.

Manic episode symptoms include:

– feeling very high, “up” or elated
– lots of energy
– “jumpy” or “wired”
– sleep troubles
– more active than usual
– fast talking
– agitated, irritable or touchy
– racing thoughts
– excessive multitasking
– risky behavior

Depressive episode symptoms include:

– feeling very sad, down, empty or hopeless
– very little energy
– decreased activity levels
– trouble sleeping or too little or too much
– feeling no enjoyment
– feeling worried
– concentration issues
– memory issues
– appetite issues
– feeling tired or slowed down
– thoughts of death or suicide

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Treatment for bipolar disorder helps many individuals (even those with the most severe forms) gain better control over their mood swings and other bipolar symptoms. Most often an effective treatment plan will include a combination of medication and psychotherapy. There is no cure but with effective treatment, bipolar disorder can be controlled.

  • Medications
    – mood stabilizers
    – atypical antipsychotics
    – antidepressants
  • Psychotherapy
    – Cognitive behavioral therapy
    – Family-focused therapy
    – interpersonal and social rhythm
    – psychoeducation
  • Other treatment options
    – Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
    – sleep medications
    – Life charting

The first step to treatment is always seeking help, whether it is for yourself or a loved one. At Strategic Mental Health, we understand the importance of the patient/provider relationship is and we are here provide you with bipolar treatment. e.

To learn more or to set up an appointment with us, please call (602)377-7326 or talktous@test.strategicmh.com We also have three locations (Central Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe) to better serve you.