Treatment for Bipolar Disorder | Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is often misunderstood by many people today. A common misconception is that people with bipolar disorder have major mood swings during a single day.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is often called manic-depressive illness. This condition causes a person to experience unusual changes in moods and energy levels. Bipolar Disorder may present as depression, mania/hypomania or a mixed state which has symptoms of both.  The condition can negatively impact one's ability to function normally. 

During manic periods, individuals experience high energy, feelings of powerfulness, and impulsive behavior. This eventually transitions into the opposite, a deep depressive state, with feelings of fatigue, worthlessness, and intense sadness. Left undiagnosed and untreated, bipolar disorder sufferers often find it difficult to lead normal lives and may struggle with maintaining employment and relationships. Fortunately, this is a treatable condition with a good prognosis for those that seek help.

It extremely important to get a proper diagnosis before beginning treatment as the symptoms can be easily overlooked or confused with another diagnosis.  Our psychiatric specialists will assess your symptoms and help you find the best treatment for bipolar disorder. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Mood Episodes Associated with Bipolar Disorder in Adults

Everyone experiences changes in mood, from feeling good or happy to bad or sad depending on life circumstances. Bipolar Disorder is experiencing severe highs and lows which are more drastic than typical mood changes. There are four types of mood episodes in Bipolar Disorder: mania, hypomania, depression and mixed episodes:

  • Mania consists of increased energy levels, creativity, and exhilaration. You may need very little sleep, speech is rapid, and high levels of activity. You may have feelings of powerfulness and that you are invincible. Mania may lead to making poor decisions, acting inappropriately, irritability and anger with aggression.
  • Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. While you may feel exhilarated, energetic and more productive but you are still able to fulfill day to day responsibilities. However, hypomania can disrupt work and social interactions or may lead to a manic episode.
  • Depression in Bipolar Disorder is more likely to include significant irritability, unpredictable mood swings and feeling restless.
  • Mixed Episodes of Bipolar Disorder have features of mania or hypomania and depression. Mixed Episodes present as high energy and low mood.

What are the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder symptoms include high energy levels with decreased need for sleep. Oftentimes, the person will have a heightened sense of well-being and grandiose thoughts. They may also have episodes of significant depression. Bipolar Disorder symptoms can vary from person to person. Symptoms may or may not have a set pattern with varying levels of intensity and frequency.

Manic symptoms are often similar, but in varying degrees of severity, and include:

  • Feeling markedly happy and optimistic OR very irritable
  • Unrealistic, splendid thoughts about your power or abilities
  • Sleeping very little but having high energy levels.
  • Such rapid speech that it is difficult for others to follow a conversation
  • Quickly jumping from one idea or multiple ideas to another
  • Inability to concentrate and very distractible
  • Very impulsive with poor judgment leading to behaving recklessly without considering consequences such as inappropriate sexual activity or excessive overspending
  • In severe cases, delusions and hallucinations

Depressive symptoms in Bipolar Disorder are often similar to Major Depression and may include:

  • Feeling sad and hopeless
  • Feeling tired or lack of energy
  • Appetite or weight fluctuations
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Concentration and memory issues
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Mixed Episodes in Bipolar Disorder have Depression with agitation, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, racing thoughts, and distraction.

Do Other Disorders Have Symptoms Similar to Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder can be difficult to diagnose because it has similar symptoms to other disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and certain Personality Disorders. The overlap in symptoms with ADHD can include inattention, forgetfulness and misplacing items. The diagnoses also share symptoms of increased activity, excessive talking, interrupting others and impulsivity.

Bipolar Disorder and Personality Disorders have similar symptoms including impulsivity, irritability, and difficulty with relationships. It is important to have a thorough assessment by a Psychiatric Specialist to identify symptoms related to correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment for Bipolar Disorder in adults. 

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What Are the Different Types of Bipolar Disorder?

There are different types of Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder and Cyclothymia. As with any disorder, symptoms can vary based on the individual.

Bipolar I Disorder (Mania and Possible Depression)

Bipolar I Disorder is characterized by episodes of extreme highs or mania. During a manic episode, the person may engage in reckless behavior such as spending or gambling money they cannot afford to lose, participate in inappropriate sexual activity or make poor business decisions. The person may become angry or aggressive if others do not go along with their plans or criticize their behavior. Oftentimes, the behavior becomes a safety issue and the person is hospitalized.

Bipolar II Disorder (Hypomania and Major Depression)

In Bipolar II Disorder, the person may feel exceptionally happy with energy that is unusual for that person. Some people may say the person with hypomania is in an unusually good mood. Most people in a hypomanic state can often carry out their day to day responsibilities. However, a hypomanic episode can significantly disrupt work, relationships, and reputation. Hypomania can lead to a manic episode and is followed by a Major Depressive episode.

Cyclothymia (Hypomania and Mild Depression)

Cyclothymia presents as numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms but does not meet criteria for a hypomanic episode and has numerous periods of depressive symptoms which does not meet criteria for Major Depression. Cyclothymia is often described as a stretch of good days followed by a stretch of bad days with no neutral time.

A Bipolar Disorder Case Study

Mr. G is a 43-year-old male successfully working as a business associate. Mr. G had struggled with severe depression for many years. Unfortunately, Mr. G experienced significant medical and personal challenges. But then his life took an unexpected turn.   Mr. G suddenly came out of the depression and dove into his work. He had a surge of energy and self-confidence. He felt invincible and was no longer making sound decisions. No one questioned this change in behavior because he had always been high spirited.

The increase in self-confidence and decision-making were considered acceptable behavior for his position in the company. Mr. G would become combative and send provoking emails to colleagues and friends, but even that failed to raise suspicion that something might be wrong. He spoke loudly, rapidly and it was difficult to interrupt him. Mr. G then had a major drop in his mood and the depression again returned.

Mr. G was experiencing a hypomanic episode of Bipolar II Disorder. People with hypomania often feel happy, have more energy and need less sleep. It can be difficult to detect because it may appear the person is simply no longer depressed. Most people will not see a medical professional when they are feeling good, so the symptoms go undiagnosed. Unfortunately, there are downsides to hypomania. The episode is usually followed by a significant depressive state. It can also lead to negative outcomes in many areas of the person’s life such as financial, career and personal relationships.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder in Adults

Most people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, regardless of the type, will need medications to manage the symptoms. Psychotherapy is also recommended as a Bipolar Disorder treatment option. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, Interpersonal therapy, and Family Focused therapy are effective treatments in managing Bipolar Disorder symptoms. Through therapy, the person learns how symptoms affect their career, relationships, and self-esteem and develop strategies to manage symptoms.

A healthy lifestyle, such as having a consistent sleep pattern, regular exercise and reducing stress, is also important to effectively manage Bipolar Disorder. Our team will work in collaboration with your therapist and other care providers to support the best treatment plan for your Bipolar Disorder.

Finding the Right Medication for Treating Bipolar Disorder

Medication plays an important role in managing symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Most often, medications are continued on a long-term basis, therefore, close monitoring by a psychiatric specialist is important. It can be challenging to find the right medication(s) to address the symptoms so a thorough assessment of symptoms and previous medication trials will be completed. Currently prescribed medications, over the counter medications, and homeopathic treatments will also be evaluated.

We will work closely with your primary care provider to carefully manage effects of medications (lab work and other tests) as well as other health issues that may be important as it relates to treatment for Bipolar Disorder.

Schedule a Bipolar Disorder Consultation with our Psychiatric Specialists

The psychiatric specialists at West End Consultation Group take a caring and non-judgmental approach to treating various psychiatric illnesses, including Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (Adult ADHD or ADD), mood and anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, attention disorders, insomnia, amongst other psychiatric illnesses. We conduct a full assessment of your symptoms, lifestyle, and current medications to find an accurate diagnosis and help you find the best treatment for Bipolar Disorder. Schedule an appointment with us today.

What We're Known For

We provide care in an empathetic, non-judgmental and warm manner, emphasizes a comprehensive assessment for an accurate diagnosis and precise treatment of various psychiatric illnesses, including Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (Adult ADHD or ADD), mood and anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, attention disorders, insomnia, amongst other psychiatric illnesses.