Bipolar Disorder and Treatment at 1 Method

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Bipolar Disorder is a form of mental illness that is identified by extreme fluctuations of mood and energy levels that affect cognitive function and induces changes in emotional states. It impacts behavior, judgment, and the ability to think clearly, and causes severe psychological instability. Unlike the normal ups and downs that most people go through in life, people with bipolar disorder experience high and low moods (referred to as mania and depression) that cause dramatic mood swings and emotional stability.

Depending on the type of bipolar and the essence of the episodes, these seismic shifts from a state of depression to a manic high can operate like a runaway rollercoaster that has no driver or tracks and can span over days or weeks (or even longer), leaving a lot of collateral damage in its wake. It wreaks havoc on personal relationships as well as job performance or employment solidity. The symptoms and the conflicts that result from bipolar and its harmful effects impact the overall quality of life. If left untreated, bipolar disorder gets worse and increases the risk of suicide.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorders

With its broad range of different symptoms that can fluctuate in severity over intervals of time, bipolar disorder is a complex illness in its various stages of activity. While distinct states of depression and mania are hallmarks of bipolar disorder, one can go for long periods (even years) without exhibiting any of them. But these extremes can also manifest all at once or in rapid succession. In severe cases of bipolar, occurrences of mania or depression may also feature dangerous delusions or hallucinations that are reflective of the person’s mood in its extreme. One must exhibit or have experienced at least one episode of mania or hypomania (a milder form of mania that does not include psychosis like the aforementioned delusions/hallucinations) to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Some people may experience numerous episodes of mania or hypomania throughout their lives while others will have them less frequently or only on rare occasions. People with hypomania (the less severe form) are capable of being fully functional at work, privately or in social settings but during periods of mania, they may not fully comprehend the negative impact or consequences of their behavior and actions. Regardless of the type of bipolar disorder or its severity, proper diagnosis and treatment are crucial to managing this illness.

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

Several contributing factors may give rise to bipolar disorder but scientists have yet to discover a single cause. There is an increased chance of developing bipolar disorder if there is a family history but one cannot conclude that they will or won’t develop the disorder by its presence or absence. Genetics may be a potential indicator but they alone are not absolute. Brain structure (or what is commonly spoken of as ‘brain wiring’) may also play a role. Scientific research has been able to determine subtle differences between brain scans of people with bipolar disorder from those without it but there is no definitive machine or test that can determine or diagnose bipolar disorder. It can only be diagnosed by a mental health professional and must meet specific criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) for the type of bipolar to be determined.

The term bipolar was coined to describe the fluctuation between the two polar opposites (extremes) that are represented by depression and manic behavior. Once characterized as a specific type of mood disorder, for many years, it was classified with depression and mania under the same category. Research has shown that bipolar may be more representational of a viaduct that spans between depression and psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. As such, the American Psychiatric Association (ASA) has separated bipolar from depression and placed it in an isolated category that is no longer considered to be or listed as a mood disorder.

Bipolar disorder is an illness that can be treated as well as managed.

Treatments for Bipolar and Dual Diagnosis

Psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy, individual and family-focused therapy) is an important part of treatment protocol because it works with the individual to address behavioral issues and help change behaviors that are impacting the afflicted as well as those who are affected by them (family, significant others, friends, and co-workers, etc.). Psychotherapy helps the person with bipolar disorder better understand the impact that their illness has on themselves as well as others and encourages honest reflection and dialogue.

Medications may be prescribed and include mood stabilizers (to balance the extremes), antipsychotics to lower the conversion from mania to depression, and, if needed, antidepressants to improve overall outlook and relieve a sense of darkness. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle have shown to make a significant contribution to balancing the effects of bipolar disorder and are strongly encouraged for mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Bipolar disorder is often associated with related mental health issues like anxiety and depression, among others. Co-occurring disorders (also known as Dual Diagnosis) require an integrative approach that is best achieved with Integrated Care. 1 Method Center is a leading treatment center for treating Dual Diagnosis with one of the highest success rates in the country. With our unique, three-fold approach that includes a carefully customized, tailor-made plan using evidence-based services that are specific to you and your individual needs, we create programs that are as unique to you as you are to the world.  Learn about the 1 Method Difference here.

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Cassidy Cousens

Cassidy Cousens

Cassidy Cousens is the founder of 1 Method Center. He’s worked in behavioral health treatment for over 20 years. Cassidy specializes in the Integrated Model of Care and is widely viewed as an expert in behavioral health. To talk with Cassidy call 1-310-254-9479.