Many people have heard of bipolar disorder, and perhaps even use the term in colloquial yet impolite ways to describe “up and down” situations or people. But bipolar disorder is not a matter of normal “mood swings.” It’s a significant and often highly impactful mental health disorder affecting an estimated 5.7 million Americans in any given year.
Ridgeview Institute serves the communities of Smyrna, Monroe, and surrounding metro Atlanta areas in Georgia and throughout the southeast. Our behavioral health specialists meet hundreds of locals every year who are living with bipolar disorder. We believe that our comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach to bipolar treatment is what has helped so many members of our community thrive while living with this and similar mental health disorders.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating, unusual, and often extreme episodes of varying moods. Episodes are generally classified into two main types: manic episodes and depressive episodes. During these episodes, a person’s behaviors, affect, and energy levels can change dramatically (see bipolar signs and symptoms for more). The third type of episode, known as hypomania, is considered a less severe type of manic episode.
Four types of bipolar disorder exist: bipolar I disorder bipolar II disorder, cyclothymic disorder, and other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders.
Bipolar Signs and Symptoms
Bipolar signs and symptoms depend on which type of episode a person is currently in:
During a manic episode (which, if left untreated, can last for 3 to 6 months), a person may exhibit increased energy, activity, and creativity; fast and tangential speech; racing thoughts; decreased sleep; increased irritability; risky behaviors (e.g., spending a lot of money or having promiscuous sex); and the feeling of euphoria or elation
During a depressive episode (which, if left untreated, can last for 6 to 12 months), a person may exhibit a pervasive feeling of hopelessness, sadness, joylessness, and despair; decreased energy; fatigue; impaired sleep; decreased interest in activities previous enjoyed; difficulty concentrating and remembering things; appetite changes; suicidal thoughts or frequent thoughts of death
Family members and other close loved ones often notice these changes in mood and behavior—even if the person with bipolar disorder doesn’t.
It’s not exactly clear what causes bipolar disorder and why some people have it. Genes, brain function and structure, as well as family history are all believed to play a contributing role.
Bipolar Treatment Options
Because this condition is so similar to many others, our psychiatrists can utilize physical and psychological examination techniques as well as personal/family history as a virtual “bipolar disorder test” and help us rule out other conditions. After a diagnosis has been made, treatment will be tailored to the individual with the main goal of helping a person function more effectively. Treatment options may include medications, psychotherapy, sleep medications, and holistic therapies.
Could Bipolar Treatment Enhance Your Quality of Life?
Are you concerned about the mental health of yourself or a loved one? If you live near Smyrna or Monroe, or in the metro Atlanta area of GA and are ready to experience compassionate and innovative bipolar treatment, contact the Ridgeview Institute at (844)350-8800 to schedule a FREE assessment.