Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment


adults in the U.S. experience bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder, previously known as manic depression, is a serious mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings. Bipolar episodes may occur infrequently, or episodes may manifest several times a year.

While bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, mood swings and other symptoms of bipolar disorder can be managed with a personalized treatment plan. Read on to discover:

  • What is bipolar disorder?
  • What are the signs of bipolar disorder?
  • What causes bipolar disorder?
  • Are there medications for bipolar disorder?
  • What is the most effective treatment for bipolar disorder?

If you or a loved one has a bipolar disorder and needs treatment, reach out to our bipolar disorder treatment program in Orange County today.

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Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by two main types of episodes:

  1. Episodes of mania/hypomania
  2. Major depressive episodes

Beyond this, there are two main types of bipolar disorder: bipolar 1 disorder and bipolar II disorder, sometimes known as bipolar disorder 2.

Bipolar I disorder involves manic episodes that last for a week or more, or severe manic symptoms that may require urgent hospitalization. Typically, depressive episodes in bipolar I last for at least two weeks, although there is a possibility of experiencing mixed episodes involving both depression and hypomania.

Bipolar II disorder, by contrast, involves depressive and hypomanic episodes but does not include the full-blown manic episodes that manifest in individuals with bipolar I.

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Mania and Hypomania

During a manic episode, individuals experience an overwhelming surge of emotions that can be exhilarating yet challenging to manage. Some common characteristics of mania include:
Abnormally energetic and upbeat

The individual may feel invincible, with boundless energy and enthusiasm. They might take on numerous tasks simultaneously, believing they can conquer the world.

Increased agitation

Restlessness and hyperactivity are common during manic episodes. The person may struggle to stay still, constantly moving from one activity to another.

Exaggerated sense of well-being

A profound sense of euphoria and grandiosity pervades their thoughts, leading them to believe they possess special abilities or talents.

Decreased need for sleep

Sleep becomes a luxury during mania, as the individual finds little need for rest and may go days without adequate sleep.

Unusual talkativeness

They might become excessively talkative, rapidly switching topics, and speaking at a frenetic pace.

Racing thoughts and distractibility

Mania often brings a flood of racing thoughts that make it challenging to focus on one task. The person may be easily distracted by their internal world of ideas.

Impulsive behavior

Engaging in high-risk activities like reckless spending, impulsive decisions, promiscuity, or substance abuse are common during manic episodes.

Hypomania is a less severe form of mania, but it can still have an impact on an individual’s life. While they might be able to maintain some level of functionality during hypomanic episodes, the potential consequences are worth addressing:
Increased productivity

The person may feel more productive, creative, and goal-oriented during hypomania, making them more prone to take on multiple tasks or projects.

Elevated mood

A heightened mood with increased energy characterizes hypomania, contributing to an overall sense of happiness.

Potential for impulsivity

Though less intense than full-blown mania, hypomania may still lead to impulsive decisions and actions that can affect relationships and personal life.

Social engagement

Hypomania might prompt individuals to be more social and talkative, seeking interaction and connection with others.

Lack of awareness

Similar to mania, those experiencing hypomania may not recognize the changes in their behavior and emotions, which could create challenges in seeking help.

Major Depressive Episodes

These episodes present a stark contrast to the emotional highs of mania and hypomania, bringing forth overwhelming feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and an inability to find joy in once-enjoyable activities.

These are the most common characteristics of major depressive episodes that present in those with bipolar:

Persistent feelings of sadness

During a major depressive episode, individuals might feel an intense and persistent sense of sadness that lingers throughout the day.

Loss of interest or pleasure

Activities that used to bring happiness and joy may no longer hold any appeal during these episodes. The person may find themselves disengaged and emotionally disconnected from the things they once loved. This is clinically described as anhedonia.

Changes in sleep patterns

Major depressive episodes can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or excessive sleeping, known as hypersomnia.

Fatigue and lack of energy

Individuals experiencing a major depressive episode often feel fatigued and drained, with little energy to carry out their daily routines.

Feelings of worthlessness and guilt

Self-criticism and feelings of worthlessness may pervade their thoughts, leading to overwhelming guilt for things beyond their control.

Trouble concentrating and making decisions

Cognitive functions may be impaired during major depressive episodes, making it challenging to focus, remember details, or make decisions.

Appetite changes

Significant fluctuations in appetite may occur, leading to weight gain or loss.

Physical symptoms

Depressive episodes can manifest in physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, and body pains.

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If you have been feeling any of these symptoms, and you are in need of help, please give our friendly team a call.

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Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

At Connections Mental Health, we understand the profound impact that bipolar disorder can have on an individual’s life. Our dedicated team of mental health professionals is committed to providing comprehensive and compassionate treatment to empower people to manage their condition effectively and lead fulfilling lives.

We believe that each person’s journey with bipolar disorder is unique, which is why we develop personalized treatment plans to address their specific needs and challenges and may include medication for bipolar disorder. Our experienced clinicians collaborate closely with individuals to create a roadmap to recovery that combines evidence-based therapies and holistic approaches for a well-rounded treatment experience.

Psychotherapy, informally known as talk therapy, plays a central role in bipolar disorder therapies. Our team utilizes various evidence-based therapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), and IPT (interpersonal therapy) to help individuals understand their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors better.

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Causes of Bipolar Disorder

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is not fully understood, but is bipolar disorder genetic? If you have a first-degree relative with bipolar disorder, you may be at a higher risk of developing the condition. Additionally, physical changes in the brain may play a role in the development of bipolar disorder. Beyond this, periods of high stress, trauma, drug or alcohol abuse can trigger the first episode of bipolar disorder in some individuals.

Medications can be an essential component of treatments for bipolar disorder. Our board-certified psychiatrists carefully evaluate each individual’s symptoms and medical history to prescribe the most appropriate bipolar disorder medications to stabilize their mood and manage their condition effectively. Bipolar disorder medication is often indicated long-term.

At Connections Mental Health, we recognize the importance of addressing the mind, body, and spirit for comprehensive healing. Our holistic approaches include mindfulness practices, meditation, yoga, and art therapy, which can significantly complement traditional therapies and promote emotional well-being.

Equipping individuals with practical self-management skills is crucial for empowering them to navigate through various mood states. Our therapeutic programs focus on building coping mechanisms, emotional regulation techniques, and stress management strategies to help individuals maintain stability and resilience in their daily lives.

We understand the vital role of family and support systems in the recovery journey. Our treatment approach includes family therapy and educational sessions to enhance communication, understanding, and support within the family unit.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment in Orange County

At Connections Mental Health, we provide compassionate bipolar disorder treatments. Our primary focus is on providing a secure and nurturing environment where those seeking stability can discover healing and tranquility. With our team of expert staff, dedicated to delivering personalized care, we are committed to assisting those grappling with mental health issues to experience profound healing and forge lasting connections.

At Connections Mental Health, our cutting-edge bipolar disorder treatment is grounded in the latest psychiatric science, and we ensure round-the-clock supervision with at least two staff members present at all times to prioritize your safety and well-being.

With a compassionate-first approach, we specialize in treating the individual, not just their symptoms. Our goal is to establish an atmosphere that feels more like home than a hospital – a place where you can heal while surrounded by the serene beauty of Southern California.

Whether you or your loved one is dealing with bipolar disorder, seeking stability, or feeling off-balance, we are here to support you at our inpatient bipolar disorder treatment in Orange County. Call the friendly team today at (844) 413-0009 for immediate assistance.

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