Bipolar Disorder Treatment

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Bipolar disorder is a prevalent and significant mental health disorder. It affects less than 1% of the global population, and an estimated 2.8% of US adults have experienced it in the last year. Unfortunately, it’s often misunderstood and undertreated, leaving the individual open to various lifelong risks. If you or your loved ones suspect such a diagnosis, you are likely already aware of this fact.

At Archstone Behavioral Health, we have treated this condition manifold across different cases. We understand its intricacies, and its unique treatment needs well. Whether you’re actively seeking treatment providers for bipolar disorder or you’re looking for more information on this subject, we’re here to help.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Initially, bipolar disorder is often misunderstood. This is partly because of its depictions in pop culture, and in part because psychiatric literature continues to evolve. Consider how much the definition has changed between DSM-IV and DSM-V; the two differ substantially.

In brief, what many refer to as “bipolar disorder” is actually a group of disorders. What its members share is that they are all chronic, recurring, and often unpredictable in terms of episode frequency and severity. In terms of symptoms, they all entail extreme mood swings. A person with a bipolar disorder may experience intense highs, like euphoric bursts of energy, and debilitating lows like severe depression.

In all cases, bipolar disorder is typically diagnosed in the person’s teenage or early adulthood years. It’s highly heritable, approximately 70%, and comes with considerable health, social, and other risks.

A psychotherapist during a session reaching for Rorschach tests.
Bipolar disorder is often misunderstood, so proper definitions are vital.

Types Of Bipolar Disorder

Distinguishing among different members of this group is crucial, as it will define Bipolar disorder treatment options. Each type of bipolar disorder is its diagnosis, and requires its approach to treatment.

Bipolar I Disorder

The first major type, Bipolar I Disorder entails at least one manic episode. DSM-V defines this as “a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and abnormally and persistently increased goal-directed activity or energy”.

Treatment centers for Bipolar disorder will also strictly follow the criteria that:

  • The manic episode has lasted for at least one week
  • Symptoms of the episode were present most of the day, nearly every day
  • Symptoms are significant and “represent a noticeable change from usual behavior”

Such symptoms should include at least 3 of the following:

  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Increased talkativeness
  • Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
  • Distractibility
  • Increase in goal-directed activity
  • Excessive involvement in activities that have a high potential for painful consequences

Finally, a manic episode can follow, or be followed by, hypomanic or major depressive episodes.

Bipolar II Disorder

The second major type, Bipolar II Disorder is an entirely different diagnosis. In fact, the two are mutually exclusive in terms of manic and hypomanic episodes. In turn, bipolar disorder treatment for the two cannot be the same.

Specifically, this diagnosis holds that:

  • The person has experienced at least one hypomanic episode and at least one major depressive episode
  • Manic episodes have not been experienced at all
  • The symptoms are not better explained by other mental health disorders
  • The symptoms are substantive, disruptive, and clinically significant

This doesn’t mean that Bipolar II Disorder is the “milder” of the two, by any means. While hypomanic episodes can be less severe than manic episodes, depressive episodes and other symptoms set the two apart.

A depressed woman sitting behind a tiled wall.
Bipolar II Disorder typically features recurring depressive episodes.

Additional members and characteristics

Finally, if you’re exploring treatment options for bipolar disorder, it bears noting that the group includes more variants and combinations. Brief examples include:

  • Cyclothymia, which includes hypomanic periods and non-major depression
  • Bipolar with mixed features, where mania/hypomania and depression can co-occur or cycle quickly
  • Bipolar with seasonal patterns, where the time of year or seasons substantially affect symptoms and episode severity

Bipolar disorder treatment must rely on accurate diagnoses that pinpoint all underlying factors. For example, bipolar disorder symptoms with accompanying trauma require due care and attention.

With bipolar disorder varying so much, it’s vital that you don’t self-diagnose or ignore potential symptoms. A trained psychiatrist or mental health practitioner should always do so for you, so you can know precisely how to proceed.

Can Bipolar Disorder be cured or treated?

Nowadays, as is the case with many mental health disorders, bipolar disorder cannot be cured. While this may change as clinical literature grows, it’s not curable. However, it can be treated very effectively using an appropriate combination of mood stabilizer drugs and a tailored psychotherapy program.

Such an approach can help the individual prevent severe episodes and avoid complications. In many cases, and particularly in severe ones, doing so can be imperative to ensure well-being and proper everyday function.

A close-up of a woman writing on a document.
Treatment for bipolar disorder must, in all cases, be highly personalized to suit each diagnosis’s needs.

Potential complications of untreated Bipolar Disorder

Unfortunately, bipolar disorder can have many complications if left untreated. Namely, the most notable ones are:

These risks are not exclusive to bipolar disorder, and may strongly stem from depression. Nonetheless, they are too substantive to ignore.

Bipolar Disorder dual diagnosis; mental health and addiction

In addition, as bipolar disorder treatment providers will attest, untreated bipolar disorder also presents the risk of exacerbating addiction symptoms. This may mean that poor mental health leads to addiction or that it makes a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) worse. This is dubbed dual diagnosis, where a SUD and a mental health disorder co-occur.

Unfortunately, this is a rather common phenomenon. In the US, 37.9% of adults with SUDs also have mental health disorders, and 18.2% of those with mental health disorders also have SUDs.

This can have a much bigger impact than making bipolar disorder treatment harder. Often, one condition will fuel the other and expose the individual to even more potential risks. This is particularly notable here, as substance use can directly affect or even induce episodes.

A depressed man under the water flow in the shower.
Unfortunately, dual diagnosis, where substance abuse and mental health disorders co-occur, is quite common.

Treatments for bipolar disorder at Archstone Behavioral Health

Thankfully, as highlighted above, bipolar disorder can be treated – whether in the context of drug addiction treatment or on its own. At Archstone Recovery, we offer the following treatments that are fit for this purpose:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

General mental health benefits aside, such treatments are demonstrably effective in managing bipolar disorder. While it cannot permanently cure the condition, behavioral counseling in such forms can prevent severe episodes, by letting you identify warning signs early and helping you manage symptoms, as well as by educating your loved ones on the condition.

Whether you’re seeking help for loved ones or yourself, you can rest assured that our programs leave nothing to chance. Evidence-based, robust, and flexible, they will focus on your exact needs on the way to recovery.

A psychotherapist and a patient lying on the couch during a therapy session.
Whether for standalone bipolar disorder or dual diagnosis, psychotherapy and behavioral therapy are notably effective treatment tools we offer.

Archstone Behavioral Health is here for you

Bipolar disorder is not a condition to take lightly or equate to simple mood swings. It is a disorder that can considerably impact your mental health and well-being, reducing your quality of life and even your life expectancy. 

If you’re seeking the best treatment providers for bipolar disorder Lantana FL has to offer; we’re here for you or your loved ones. At Archstone Behavioral Health, we can treat both standalone bipolar disorder and dual diagnosis cases including it. Our experienced teams of certified psychiatrists and mental health specialists are equal parts discreet and professional, offering the best possible outcome for each case.

If you’re ready to take the brave first step forward, please feel free to contact us today. Our representatives are always available, and will happily set your mind at ease and explore your options.

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