What is Bipolar Disorder?
In its most succinct terms, Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder which causes changes in an individual’s mood, energy and activity levels, leading to difficulties in living day-to-day life.
There are 4 basic types of Bipolar Disorder:
- Bipolar I Disorder is characterized by its intense manic episodes, which can last up to a week or be so intense the individual requires hospitalization. This type also has depressive episodes which can last up to 2 weeks, and may even have episodes with both manic and depressive features.
- Bipolar II Disorder is characterized by the same kind of pattern as Bipolar I, except that the manic episodes aren’t as extreme.
- Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia) is a third type of Bipolar Disorder characterized by numerous periods of alternating hypomanic and depressive periods, but these periods don’t have the same severity or duration as Bipolar I.
- Other Unspecified Bipolar Disorders are in a more general category, because they have some of the same characteristics but don’t fit well into one of the first three categories.
How Does Bipolar Disorder Affect You?
Bipolar disorder affects every area of a person’s life, including physical, social, emotional and spiritual aspects. This can lead to a seriously impaired quality of life and cause individuals to suffer in all areas of their lives.
- Physical Effects — Someone with Bipolar Disorder who is going through a manic episode will have higher than normal energy levels, leading to higher activity levels. He or she might not sleep at night, but still not feel tired. Someone in a depressive episode will have the opposite effect, with less energy, and will probably sleep more than normal.
- Social Effects — Bipolar Disorder affects family and workplace relationships, usually negatively.
- Emotional Effects — There is a wide range of extreme emotions, from agitated to depressed to suicidal.
How is Bipolar Disorder Treated?
Proper diagnosis is vital to receiving treatment.
- Medication — Because there is a chemical imbalance, maintenance medication is one of the essentials for treatment. The type of medication which will work best depends on the patient. Some of the medications for Bipolar Disorder work on the manic symptoms, while other work on the depressive symptoms. Others are mood stabilizers or anticonvulsants. Some examples of drugs which are used to treat Bipolar Disorder include Lithium, Valproic acid, Divalproex sodium and Lamotrigine. Nowadays, some doctors might describe an antypsychotic medication like Olanzapine or an antianxiety medication like Clonazepam or Diazepam, which are Benzodiazepines, to help with sleep problems. All medications need to be carefully monitored, especially in the beginning.
- Therapy — Psychotherapy is an important and ongoing component of treatment for Bipolar Disorder. Especially when the effects of the illness pervade so many areas of life, it is important for sufferers to be able to deal with any issues as soon as possible after they arise. There are several kinds of therapy which are helpful. These include but are not limited to: behavioral therapy, which helps individuals adjust their own behavior in order to decrease stress; cognitive therapy, which gives individuals the tools to see the patterns in their own thinking that cause them problems; and interpersonal therapy, in which individuals can work on relationships with others.
- Other treatments — There are other kinds of treatment, usually for more extreme cases that need to be brought under control. For instance, Electroconvulsive Therapy can be used to help with severe manic or depressive episodes, or when individuals are experiencing suicidal or psychotic symptoms that are not responding to medication.
About our Bipolar Disorder Treatment Center
At 2nd Chance Treatment Center, we offer an integrated approach to recovery to ensure that all our residents leave with the tools they need to be successful. Our doctors on staff can help with medication, and behavioral therapy is incorporated into every aspect of recovery. When you leave, you have patient resources to make sure you have a smooth transition. Call today to see how we can help you.