Bipolar disorder results in mood and energy changes, including episodes of mania and depression. During manic episodes, individuals with the disorder have an unrealistic high state of mind and can lose touch with reality. At the other extreme, they may think they have superpowers, or a little less extreme, impulsively shop for items they do not need and usually cannot afford.
Doctors can’t point to a single cause of bipolar disorder, however, an underlying defect in brain circuitry, involving areas that control mood, thinking and behavior is one theory for the cause. Stress may also play a role in the development, and, in women, hormonal fluctuations may worsen symptoms. Although there’s a theory that bipolar disorder is genetic, no series of genes have been found that increase the risk for development of the disorder.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
Those suffering from bipolar disorder may have dramatic shifts in mood from a depressed state to distinct mania or may experience both extremes simultaneously or in rapid sequence. Although rare, severe bipolar episodes may include psychotic symptoms of hallucinations or delusions. Someone experiencing a milder manic phase may report an ability to be more creative, spontaneous, or overly productive; however, they’re often easily frustrated or irritable and feel little need to sleep. The diagnosis of a full manic episode occurs if, for most of the day, near daily, for at least a week, an elevated mood occurs with three or more symptoms relating to sleep, energy, thinking and behavior, with these symptoms interfering with the ability to function. Four or more symptoms are needed for diagnosis if irritability is present.
Following a manic phase, many people with bipolar disorder will lapse into a depression. It can be so disabling and pervasive that they may refuse or be unable to get out of bed. They may have difficulty falling and staying asleep or sleep more than usual. Those suffering from depression may become obsessed with feelings of loss, personal failure, guilt, or helplessness, which can lead to thoughts of suicide. Depression associated with bipolar disorder may be harder to treat. Friends and loved ones are often confused by this shift in behavior because it’s so dramatically different from their earlier manic state.
How We Treat Bipolar Disorder
Substance abuse is often present in people with bipolar disorder, and they can be used to self-medicate or increase euphoric symptoms, becoming a repetitive cycle. Substance misuse can also worsen the symptoms of bipolar disorder. In instances where substance use disorders are present, it’s vital to treat both diagnoses concurrently in an integrated setting.
Additionally, bipolar disorder can be successfully managed but must be individualized according to causes and symptoms. A combination of medications and psychosocial treatment can be helpful in education and guidance.
At Pasadena Villa, we treat issues with bipolar disorder with the most advanced and evidence-based methods available, always making sure the client’s needs are the number one priority. Pasadena Villa’s Social Integration Model™ encourages positive social functioning. Using an individualized treatment plan, we help clients in relieving the stress that comes from assimilating back into everyday life and help them achieve the highest levels of functioning and independent living once they leave treatment.