Understanding Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a disorder that causes extreme highs and lows in mood and energy levels.
Bipolar disorder (also referred to as “manic-depression”) is a mental health disorder characterized by extreme highs and lows in mood and energy. While it’s common for everyone to experience emotional ups and downs, those who have been diagnosed with a bipolar disorder will experience extended periods of mood and energy that are excessively high with periods of normal mood in between.
Those who suffer from bipolar disorder need to understand that they’re not alone. More than 3 million American adults suffer from bipolar disorder in a given year, and an estimated 4.4% of US adults will experience bipolar disorder at some time in their lives. They need to also understand that their disorder is treatable, and recovery is possible.
Facts & Figures
Bipolar Disorder Averages & Statistics
What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
A bipolar disorder can, at times, be very difficult to recognize and diagnose. It causes a person to have high levels of energy, unrealistically expansive thoughts or ideas, and impulsive or erratic behavior. These symptoms sometimes cause a person to feel good, which leads to denial that there is a problem.
Another reason bipolar disorder is difficult to diagnose is that its symptoms may appear to be part of another illness or linked to other problems such as a substance abuse disorder, poor work performance, or relational conflict.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder fall into two categories:
Mania is a facet of type I bipolar disorder in which the mood state is abnormally heightened and accompanied by hyperactivity and a reduced need for sleep.
Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities.
How is Valley Treating Bipolar Disorder?
Paying regular attention to your mental well-being is good and should be a normal part of healthy living. At Valley, we know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health, which is why we take the time to care for each client individually and consider their broader story. Every client who walks through our doors is assessed holistically and cared for comprehensively within a solution-focused approach.
We offer a wide variety of counseling and counseling environments for a wide variety of clients:
Our individual counseling focuses in on each client and their unique story in order to discover the solutions that are right for them. After pairing our clients with the ideal therapist, we take the time to press into the cognitive, behavioral, and motivational aspects of our client’s recovery while also considering dual-diagnosis.
At Valley, we offer FDA approved psychiatric medication as part of our comprehensive treatment plan. Each medication program is prescribed by a trained medical professional (e.g., psychiatrist, nurse practitioner) within a broad scope of long-term care.
Research shows that counseling within a group setting is just as effective, sometimes even more so, as individual care. At Valley, we are proud to provide robust and interactive care groups care groups led by trained clinicians. These empowering spaces have proven to be an invaluable resource for learning coping skills, feeling acceptance, and avoiding social isolation.
While every client needs to be individually motivated to seek treatment, one of the largest factors in successful treatment is a solid support system. Our family and couples counseling partners with immediate family, primary caregivers, adopted families, and support systems to get everyone on the same page in caring for their loved ones.
Complementary & Alternative Treatments
Integrating Alternative Medicine and Activity
Incorporating complementary or alternative medicine is often referred to as an integrated approach and works best when used alongside professional treatment. Don’t replace conventional medical treatment or psychotherapy with alternative medicine.
With that said, here are some things proven to be helpful when dealing with Bipolar Disorder:
Fish oil: Fish oil and fish are common sources of two of the three main types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids may affect the chemicals in your brain associated with mood disorders.
Rhodiola rosea: Rhodiola rosea (arctic root or golden root) may help treat mild to moderate depression. Rosea is a mild stimulant and may cause insomnia. Other side effects include vivid dreaming and nausea.
S-adenosylmethionine: Studies indicate that the supplement form of a substance that naturally occurs in the body, S-adenosylmethionine, may also be beneficial for depression.
N-acetylcysteine: This antioxidant helps reduce oxidative stress. In one randomized controlled trial of people with bipolar disorder, adding 2 grams of N-acetylcysteine per day to traditional bipolar medication treatment led to significant improvement in depression, mania, and quality of life.
Exercise is generally classified as aerobic (running or walking), resistance (weight training), or mindfulness-based (yoga or tai chi). Exercise is known to improve cognitive mechanisms due to a diversion from negative thinking, social contact, and feelings of control over one’s health. Consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or another activity that you enjoy.
Getting a healthy amount of sleep is important for both your physical and mental well-being. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about what they can do to help A consistent sleep schedule is especially important in managing symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Stress complicates depression. Calming techniques can’t cure bipolar disorder, but they may help you manage your symptoms and be a valuable part of your treatment plan. Several alternative treatments aim to reduce anxiety and stress. These treatments include:
- massage therapy
Videos & Podcasts
Knowledgeable Insights from Around the Web
Great Resources on Bipolar Disorder
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
By Kay Redfield Jamison
Madness: A Bipolar Life
By Marya Hornbacher
Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament
By Kay Redfield Jamison
Manic: A Memoir
By Terri Cheney
The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know
By David J. Miklowitz
To Walk on Eggshells
By Jean Johnston
Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D
By Lizzie Simon
Is Your Child Bipolar?: The Definitive Resource on How to Identify, Treat, and Thrive with a Bipolar Child
By Mary Ann McDonnell
The Up and Down Life: The Truth About Bipolar Disorder--the Good, the Bad, and the Funny
By Paul E. Jones
Research and Resources
Great Articles & Resources on Bipolar Disorder
Typically, treatment for Bipolar Disorder involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Bipolar disorder is a type of mood disorder that affects all areas of life, including your mood, energy level, attention, and behaviors. While there is no cure for the disorder, the symptoms are very treatable. The sooner you seek treatment after developing the disorder, …
There’s a lot you can do to help manage your bipolar disorder. Along with seeing your doctor and therapist and taking your medicines, simple daily habits can make a difference. Start with these strategies. Set a schedule. Many people with bipolar disorder find if they stick to a daily schedule, it helps them control their mood. Pay attention to …
Bipolar disorder involves extreme shifts in mood, energy, and levels of activity. Medications can help people manage symptoms, but these can have adverse effects. A number of natural remedies may also help. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimate that around 2.6 percent of people in the United States have bipolar disorder, and nearly 83 percent of …