What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that results in significant mood swings. Clinicians also refer to bipolar disorder as manic depression. As one can see in the name, a person with the mental health condition can exhibit both manic behavior and depressive behavior over short periods. Depending on the patient, these mood swings can occur up to several times per year.
When a person who suffers from bipolar disorder experiences a manic episode, they often feel elated and energized. During manic episodes, the person may also become delusional and make rash decisions. On the other hand, during depressive episodes, the person may exhibit symptoms similar to those of depression, including ongoing sadness and a lack of interest in former hobbies.
There are several different kinds of bipolar disorder, and each type refers to different patterns of manic-depressive episodes. The different types of bipolar disorder include:
- Bipolar I disorder - People with bipolar I disorder experience manic episodes for around a week and depressive episodes for around two weeks. Often, people with bipolar I disorder need to be hospitalized during their episodes.
- Bipolar II disorder - People with bipolar II disorder experience similar behavioral patterns to people with bipolar I disorder. The difference between each category is that people with bipolar II disorder experience less extreme mood swings. Some clinicians state that people with bipolar II disorder have “hypomanic” episodes instead of manic episodes. Hypomanic episodes are different from manic episodes in that they do not cause hallucinations and do not require the individual to seek hospitalization.
- Cyclothymic disorder - Cyclothymic disorder refers to a further step down in the intensity of manic-depressive episodes. These individuals experience mood swings, but the mood swings do not fit the criteria of a manic-depressive episode. Adults with cyclothymic disorder have not experienced hypomanic or depressive episodes in two years. Children with cyclothymic disorder have not experienced hypomanic or depressive episodes in at least a year.
Researchers believe that bipolar disorder occurs due to brain structure characteristics and genetic variables. However, the exact causes of bipolar disorder are often unclear. Most people with bipolar disorder receive their diagnosis in their 20s.
What are the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder?
The key feature of bipolar disorder is significant mood swings from manic to depressive episodes. Each type of episode has its own characteristics, and it is best to think about bipolar disorder signs and symptoms along those divisions.
During manic episodes, common signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling elated, jumpy, or overly excited
- Having accelerated speech and jumping from subject to subject
- Demonstrating impulsive behavior and poor judgment
- Having a high sex drive
- Having racing thoughts
- Being easily distracted
- Having decreased sleep
In bipolar II disorder and cyclothymic disorder cases, people may experience the above symptoms to a lesser extent during hypomanic episodes. However, in many cases, those individuals may hardly exhibit symptoms and may be completely functional in their daily lives.
On the other hand, common signs and symptoms of depressive episodes include:
- Experiencing intense and ongoing sadness
- Feeling tired and persistent lethargy
- Experiencing difficulty concentrating
- Having low self-esteem and feeling worthless
- Losing interest in one’s hobbies and social interactions.
It is important to note that each person experiences bipolar disorder differently, and each person can experience symptoms to different extents. Additionally, some people experience symptoms of manic and depressive episodes at the same time.
How Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute’s medical staff can help with bipolar disorder
Our team at Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute has decades of experience treating mental health conditions and behavioral health problems, including bipolar disorder. We understand that bipolar disorder can be extremely overwhelming for individuals and their families, and we are here to help.
At Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute, we provide a range of treatment programs for bipolar disorder, including inpatient and outpatient treatment services. Our outpatient services include partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs. Each treatment program for bipolar disorder implements evidenced-based care methods, and patients take part in individual therapy and group therapy programs. We understand that each case of bipolar disorder is different, and we customize our treatment programs to each patient’s unique needs.
Get treatment for bipolar disorder at Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute
Dealing with bipolar disorder can be overwhelming. Fortunately, it is easy to learn more about available treatment options and get started on a treatment plan at Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute. The first step towards getting started with treatment is to call our team at (512) 819-1154. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions about our bipolar disorder treatments and our behavioral health facility. You can also contact us online, and a member of our team will reach out to you as soon as possible.
In addition to answering your questions about our programs, our team can schedule you or a loved one for a free mental health assessment. With the mental health assessment results, a member of our clinical team can better understand the patient’s unique needs and start building a custom treatment program.