More than 10 million Americans living with bipolar disorder experience extreme highs and lows and mood changes that disrupt their life. The extreme highs, known as mania, are followed by extreme lows, or depressions, that make it really difficult to work, maintain relationships and otherwise enjoy life. A person with bipolar disorder may also experience delusions or hallucinations or other psychotic episodes. Contact our clinical staff.
People with bipolar disorder experience extreme highs/lows and mood changes that disrupt their lives that make it very difficult to work, maintain relationships and otherwise enjoy life. Some people with bipolar disorder have more depressive episodes (lows) with fewer episodes of mania (highs), others experience the opposite, others have mixed episodes (experience both at the same time).
When a person believes they are bipolar, the first step is to visit a doctor for diagnosis; however, there is no one bipolar disorder test. Typically, the initial phase will include a physical examination and tests in order to rule out any other conditions that may be causing the extreme mood swings, such as thyroid problems, stroke, or a brain tumor. The doctor will ask about any family history of bipolar disorder or other mental health conditions. If the most likely diagnosis is bipolar disorder, the doctor will then refer a person to a mental health specialist for further review. It is important that a person discuss their complete health history and all mood swings with the doctor, as most people seek treatment during a depressive state and may be misdiagnosed.
Bipolar disorder can be treated and maintained; however, it is a lifelong disorder, meaning the treatment protocol must be maintained to avoid a relapse. Even with the right treatment program, symptoms can linger. In one of the largest bipolar disorder studies ever conducted, almost half of the participants still exhibited lingering symptoms after undergoing treatment. The right treatment provides an opportunity for a person to regain control over their life and learn to manage the disorder, even if symptoms do remain.
People with bipolar disorder often have concurrent conditions that need to be treated along with their bipolar disorder, such as anxiety disorder, ADD, substance, or alcohol abuse and health problems such as heart disease, obesity and thyroid problems. Those with co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis have a higher risk of relapsing. It is important to find the right treatment program and remain in aftercare through support groups. The most common treatment for bipolar disorder is a mixture of psychotherapy and medication. In fact, a study found that those treated with a combination of intensive psychotherapy and medication did far better than those who only underwent psycho education alone.
Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, causes shifts in the mood and energy of a person that disrupts one’s daily life, work, school and relationships. These changes can occur over a few days, weeks or months.
The most current diagnostic manual used by physicians (the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” 5th Edition, or (“DSM-V”), lists four different types of bipolar disorder: