Mood changes are natural coping mechanisms for the ups and downs of life, but when mood swings become extreme, occur more frequently, or show up more sporadically, this can be a symptom of bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by extreme highs and lows in mood and energy. Those living with bipolar disorder may feel energetic, abnormally happy, and make reckless or impulsive decisions during manic states. Symptoms of bipolar disorder fall into two main categories, depression and mania or hypermania. Those in a depressive state may feel an overwhelming urge to cry, experience feelings of hopelessness, and have a negative outlook on life. Mania, which can last up to three months if untreated, may include symptoms such as high energy, reduced need for sleep and loss of touch with reality. Hypomania is a less severe form of mania.
At Interborough we let patients know that they are not alone. One in five American adults experiences some form of mental illness in any given year. As with other mental illnesses, there is widespread misunderstanding about bipolar disorder. We help patients do the things they enjoy by developing a robust treatment plan that can reduce many of the symptoms. People with mental health conditions can succeed in their careers, make friends and have relationships. While mental illness can create a bump in the road, we believe that these are bumps that can be overcome.
Proper treatment helps most people living with bipolar disorder control their mood swings and other symptoms. Because bipolar disorder is a chronic illness, treatment must be ongoing. If left untreated, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can get worse. Thus, an early diagnosis which leads to treatment is important. Treating bipolar disorder may include medication, psychotherapy, education, self-management strategies and external support such as family, friends and support groups.
Typically, there is no single approach to treating bipolar disorder. Instead there are two or three different therapies that are used concurrently, in addition medication. Therapies may include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps change the negative thinking and behavior associated with depression. The goal of this therapy is to recognize negative thoughts and to teach coping strategies.
Family-focused therapy which helps people with bipolar disorder learn about the illness and carry out a treatment plan.
Psychotherapy is focused on self-care and stress regulation, helps a person improve self-care, recognize patterns of the onset of the symptoms and manage stress.