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Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). These mood swings can affect an individual's energy levels, activity levels, sleep patterns, and ability to function.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is classified into several types, including:

  • Bipolar I Disorder: Characterized by at least one manic episode lasting for at least seven days, or manic symptoms that are severe enough to require immediate hospital care. Depressive episodes may also occur.

  • Bipolar II Disorder: Characterized by at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode, but no full-blown manic episodes. Hypomania is a less severe form of mania that does not cause significant impairment in functioning.

  • Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia): Involves periods of hypomanic symptoms and periods of depressive symptoms that occur for at least two years (one year in children and adolescents), with no symptom-free periods lasting longer than two months.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary depending on the type and severity of the mood episode but may include:

  • Manic Episode Symptoms: Elevated mood, extreme irritability, racing thoughts, rapid speech, increased energy or activity levels, decreased need for sleep, impulsivity, grandiosity, reckless behavior.

  • Hypomanic Episode Symptoms: Similar to manic episode symptoms but less severe and typically not severe enough to cause significant impairment in functioning or require hospitalization.

  • Depressive Episode Symptoms: Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, changes in appetite or weight, sleep disturbances, fatigue or low energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, thoughts of death or suicide.

Impact of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can have a significant impact on various aspects of an individual's life, including:

  • Mental Health: Bipolar disorder is associated with high rates of co-occurring mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorders, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

  • Social Relationships: Mood swings and changes in behavior associated with bipolar disorder can strain relationships with family members, friends, and romantic partners.

  • Work and Academic Performance: Bipolar disorder can affect work or academic performance, leading to fluctuations in productivity, difficulty maintaining employment or educational goals, and challenges in meeting responsibilities.

  • Physical Health: Individuals with bipolar disorder may be at increased risk for physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and substance abuse, which can impact overall well-being.


Effective treatment for bipolar disorder typically involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle modifications. Treatment options may include:

  • Mood Stabilizing Medications: Mood stabilizers such as lithium, anticonvulsants (e.g., valproate, lamotrigine), and atypical antipsychotics can help stabilize mood and prevent episodes of mania or depression.

  • Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoeducation, and interpersonal therapy can help individuals with bipolar disorder manage symptoms, cope with stressors, and improve interpersonal relationships.

  • Lifestyle Modifications: Engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, prioritizing sleep, avoiding alcohol and substance abuse, and practicing stress management techniques can help manage symptoms and promote overall well-being.

  • Support Groups: Participating in support groups or group therapy for individuals with bipolar disorder can provide validation, understanding, and connection with others who have similar experiences.

How We Can Help: 

Our therapists specialize in providing compassionate, evidence-based support for individuals living with bipolar disorder. We offer personalized treatment plans tailored to each individual's unique needs and circumstances, with a focus on promoting stability, resilience, and empowerment.


If you're living with bipolar disorder and seeking support, know that you're not alone, and help is available. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards managing bipolar disorder and reclaiming your well-being.

Therapists that treat Bipolar Disorder

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