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Bipolar Disorder Treatment

“This weather is so bipolar.” 

“She was nice to me earlier and snapped at me just now. She must be bipolar or something.” 

Have you ever heard someone say something similar? It’s common to use the word “bipolar” for any mood that rapidly shifts, but bipolar disorder is far more than sudden changes in mundane situations. 

Using “bipolar” so lightly is harmful to the people who live with the condition every day, and 3.3 million Americans do. If you have bipolar disorder or you love someone who does, you know firsthand how all-consuming the condition can be untreated. The cycling high mood of mania followed by deep depression is exhausting, and can interfere with every area of life.

SUN Delaware offers bipolar disorder treatment that will provide much-needed relief and healing for both adults and adolescents. Whether you’re in the middle of a depressive or manic crisis, or are looking for treatment during a period of stability, we’re here to provide the compassionate, expert-level care you or your loved one deserve. 

What We Treat: Bipolar Disorder

Contrary to popular belief, bipolar disorder isn’t about rapid mood swings. Instead, it is characterized by long, cycling periods of elevated mood (manic episodes) and deep periods of sadness and hopelessness (depressive episodes). There are three primary types of bipolar disorder, though it is possible to have bipolar disorder without exactly matching one of these profiles:

  • Bipolar I disorder. For people with bipolar I, manic episodes are the most disruptive part of their condition. These episodes will last for at least seven days, and/or require immediate medical intervention. Depressive symptoms are also involved, and typically last at least two weeks. It’s possible to experience “mixed episodes,” where both manic and depressive symptoms occur at the same time, and having four cycles of manic episodes and depressive episodes in one year is known as “rapid cycling” bipolar disorder.
  • Bipolar II disorder. Depressive episodes are pronounced, and more intense than manic episodes. Manic episodes for people with bipolar II are usually “hypomania,” which doesn’t involve as many symptoms and the same intensity as mania for individuals with bipolar I.
  • Cyclothymic disorder. This condition consists of shorter, less intense periods of hypomania and depression that reoccur. Even if not as debilitating as other bipolar disorders, cyclothymic disorder can still seriously impact someone’s quality of life.

There is no “cure” for bipolar disorder, and it is a lifelong condition. Thankfully, there are several treatment options available at SUN Delaware that enable people with bipolar disorder to lead stable, rewarding lives.

Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder With SUN Delaware

The most effective treatment for bipolar disorder is a combination of psychotherapy and medication. 

At SUN Delaware, we use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as our main method of talk therapy for bipolar disorder. CBT teaches individuals to recognize harmful thoughts and behavioral patterns so they can correct them. Other therapy options are available for bipolar disorder, and depend on our therapists’ specializations.

Medications such as mood stabilizers and antipsychotics will likely be a part of your treatment protocol, and it might take some time to figure out what works for you. Because bipolar disorder doesn’t go away, it’s vital to continue taking medication as prescribed by your doctor. When you feel good or are experiencing mania, it’s easy to want to stop taking your medication, but quitting, especially suddenly, can cause symptoms to come back even worse.

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How Bipolar Disorder Is Diagnosed, and What to Expect During the Diagnostic Exam

Bipolar disorder is easy to misdiagnose, and at SUN Delaware, we take diagnosis seriously. During manic episodes, people will rarely seek help because in those moments, they feel great. If someone with bipolar disorder seeks mental healthcare, it’s usually during a depressive episode. This causes frequent diagnoses with depression, without addressing a potential manic component.

To receive a proper bipolar disorder diagnosis, you must experience both depressive episodes and some degree of hypomania or mania. You’ll receive a mental health examination with our master’s level clinicians, and they will ask you questions about the frequency, length, and severity of your symptoms. They’ll likely ask how your symptoms have interfered with your life, and if you have a family history of bipolar disorder or other mental health conditions.

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Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder: The Ups and the Downs

People with bipolar disorder will experience both depressive episodes and some degree of mania for extended periods. 

Depressive symptoms include hopelessness, fatigue, poor concentration and memory, emptiness, loss of interest in activities, lack of appetite, sleeping poorly, feelings of despair, persistent pessimism, insecurity, and suicidal ideation.

Manic symptoms include euphoria, talking rapidly, hyperactivity, overconfidence, lofty new ideas and plans, being easily distracted, irritability, delusions, insomnia, excessive spending, making impulsive decisions that are out of character.

Individuals can also experience mixed episodes, where they have both depressive and manic episodes simultaneously. That doesn’t make their bipolar disorder any less legitimate or valid, even if it can make it more confusing. It’s also important to remember that everyone will experience bipolar disorder differently, even if these are the most common symptoms.

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Who Experiences Bipolar Disorder? Potential Causes

A wide variety of people can have bipolar disorder. Men and women experience the condition equally. It usually manifests in late adolescence and early adulthood, but even children can experience symptoms. 

The causes of bipolar disorder are still unknown, but so far, evidence points to a multitude of contributing factors. There is some genetic component, though it’s not understood well yet, because the condition tends to run in families. In some cases, a traumatic event can trigger bipolar disorder.

Experts still don’t understand the neurological components of bipolar disorder, but the effectiveness of medication suggests neurotransmitters influence the manifestation and severity of symptoms.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder: What It Means to Be Bipolar

Reading all of these symptoms makes sense logically, but it’s hard to understand what bipolar disorder is really like unless you live with it. The cycle of ups and downs is exhausting, disorienting, and discouraging. It’s confusing, and because of the varying types of bipolar disorder, experiences vary too.

What It’s Like to Live With Bipolar I

Times outside of manic episodes are spent recovering from the questionable choices you made while manic, which makes the feelings of shame and worthlessness that come with depression more intense. By the time mania comes around again – and it always does – you forgot the bad parts. It’s fun at first. You’re more productive than ever, overflowing with creativity, and everything feels so good. After two days without sleeping, the paranoia and anxiety set in. You start to believe something evil is coming, and that you must stop it. You feel like the hero of the story. You believe you must save the world.

When the manic episode ends, you return to something akin to stable, and apologize to loved ones for things you said and did while manic, even if you don’t fully remember them. You’re lucky if there’s not a dent in your bank account.

What It’s Like to Live With Bipolar II

You experience long stretches of emptiness. Nothing sounds enjoyable, and everything irritates you – even the people you love. Sometimes you wonder if you actually love them, because you feel so little. You spend days not doing much of anything, exhausted, waiting for a day that you’ll feel better.

When that day comes, it’s a relief. It’s the complete opposite of how you felt before: elated, productive, high energy. Anything is possible. Your loved ones worry, and you assure them you feel better than you have in weeks.

Then it’s over. You wonder what you have to do to feel so good all the time, because eventually, the hopelessness comes back. You wonder what’s wrong with you, and why sometimes you feel so happy, and other times you feel awful.

Seek Bipolar Disorder Treatment With SUN Delaware

Bipolar Disorder Treatment at SUN Delaware

At SUN Delaware, we’re solving unmet needs through comprehensive care, from our dual-diagnosis treatment to crisis care. If you’re ready to break out of the exhausting cycle of bipolar disorder, give us a call at 302-604-5600 .

302-604-5600

FAQs

Can a person live a normal life with bipolar disorder?

Yes, with treatment a person with bipolar disorder can live just like anyone else.

What are the best treatments for bipolar disorder?

The best treatment for bipolar disorder is a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Seeing a mental health professional is vital if you suspect you have bipolar disorder.

Can I treat bipolar disorder on my own?

No. Medication is often an important part of bipolar disorder treatment, and you must take it as your doctor prescribes it.

Can you live with bipolar disorder without medication?

Theoretically, yes, but it’s difficult. Without treatment of some kind, bipolar disorder symptoms will likely get worse.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

The fact that you’re here looking at options for your recovery is a great first step. For more information or to set up an appointment, call us at 302-604-5600 today!

302-604-5600

SUN Behavioral Delaware

21655 Biden Ave
Georgetown, DE, 19947

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