Bipolar Disorder

Elmbrook Psychiatry specializes in treating Bipolar Disorder. We focus on mood stabilization through medication management and supportive therapy.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

Symptoms can vary from person to person but may include:

 

  • Depressive episodes are characterized by feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness that last for two weeks or longer

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  • Manic episodes are characterized by an abnormally elevated mood, energy levels, and activity that last for at least a week

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  • Mixed episodes that feature both depressive and manic symptoms

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  • Rapid cycling between different mood states

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  • Psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions during either depressive or manic episodes

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  • Extreme changes in sleep patterns

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  • Changes in appetite and weight

What causes bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder tends to run in families, so there is likely a genetic component to the disorder. However, not everyone with a family history of bipolar disorder will develop the condition. This suggests that other factors must be involved as well.

 

It is also thought that stressful life events may play a role in triggering bipolar disorder. These events could include things like the death of a loved one, divorce, or financial difficulties.

How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?

Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These changes can be so severe that they interfere with a person’s ability to function in day-to-day life.

 

Most people with bipolar disorder will experience both highs (known as mania or hypomania) and lows (known as depression). Sometimes, a person may only experience one pole of the illness. For example, they may only experience manic episodes and never become depressed.

 

While there is no single test that can diagnose bipolar disorder, there are certain screening tools that mental health professionals can use to help make a diagnosis. These tools include:

 

• Asking questions about your family history of mental illness

• Asking questions about your symptoms and how long you’ve been experiencing them

• Conducting a physical exam to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms (e.g., thyroid problems)

• Conducting lab tests (e.g., blood tests) to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms 

• Psychological testing 

How is bipolar disorder treated?

 Bipolar disorder treatment typically includes medication and psychotherapy.

 

Medication is often the first line of treatment for bipolar disorder. There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat the symptoms of bipolar disorder, and your psychiatric mental health provider will work with you to find the right medication or combination of medications for your needs.

 

Psychotherapy is also an important part of the treatment of a bipolar disorder. Psychotherapy can help you learn how to better manage your symptoms and cope with the challenges of living with bipolar disorder.

If You Think You Have Bipolar Disorder

If you think you may have bipolar disorder, it’s important to see a mental health professional for an evaluation. They can help you determine if you have bipolar disorder and develop a treatment plan. Bipolar disorder has similar symptoms to other mental health conditions like BPD and cyclothymia. Elmbrook Psychiatry specializes in treating bipolar disorder and ruling out other possible conditions.