Bipolar Disorder Treatment at Absolute Awakenings
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Formerly called manic depression or manic depressive illness, bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that’s characterized by dramatic changes in mood and behavior. Bipolar is also a mood disorder. Bipolar episodes toggle between excessive highs and extreme lows. People with bipolar disorder may be filled with tremendous energy and unreasonable optimism one day, and feel utterly hopeless and lacking motivation the next.
Although people without bipolar disorder also experience dramatic changes or fluctuations in their moods, normal fluctuations span just hours rather than days or weeks. Living with untreated bipolar disorder often makes it hard for people to take care of important responsibilities, remain consistent in their performance at work or school, and maintain healthy, stable relationships. Bipolar disorder causes people to be extremely productive and focused at times, but unmotivated, unfocused, and altogether disinterested in others. This disorder tends to push loved ones away without much thought.
Bipolar disorder is a common co-occurring disorder among people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and substance use disorder (SUD). It’s estimated that as many as 60 percent of people living with bipolar disorder also struggle with SUD or AUD. When this condition is both unknown and untreated, many people attempt to self-medicate which at times, results in substance abuse.
Abusing illicit drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol to relieve the symptoms of bipolar disorder often encourages dependency and exacerbates this condition. This creates a vicious cycle in which self-treatment for symptoms perpetually creates or intensifies the discomfort that people hope to alleviate.
At Absolute Awakenings, our mental health treatment program is streamlined to provide effective and long-lasting relief. We use comprehensive, evidence-based treatments for addressing bipolar disorder. With our help, our patients learn how to lead happy and productive lives. We also provide addiction treatment care alongside our bipolar disorder program for a well rounded recovery.
Symptoms and Signs of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar episodes, mood episodes, or mood swings that toggle between excessive highs and excessive lows are primary symptoms of bipolar disorder. Emotional highs for those with bipolar disorder are referred to as mania or hypomania, with hypomania being less intense than mania. Bipolar symptoms of mania and hypomania include:
- Suddenly becoming abnormally upbeat
- Feeling wired or jumpy
- Racing thoughts
- Excessive talkativeness
- Insomnia or a decreased need for sleep
- Having an elevated sense of self-importance and self-confidence
- Being easily distracted
- Hypomanic behavior
Low or depressive periods with bipolar disorder are referred to as major depressive episodes.
Among the most common symptoms of a major depressive episode are:
- Sleeping excessively or struggling with insomnia
- Loss of energy and general emotional and physical fatigue
- Overwhelming guilt
- Feelings of worthlessness
- A decreased ability to concentrate on basic tasks
- Extreme indecisiveness
- Suicidal thoughts and suicidal ideation
Other symptoms of bipolar disorder can include psychosis, anxious distress, and persistent feelings of melancholy. If untreated, manic episodes may lead to hospitalization.
Risk Factors for Bipolar Disorder
Although the exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, certain genetic, environmental, and physiological risk factors are believed to make people more likely to develop this condition. These include:
- Having one or more immediate/first-generation family members with bipolar disorder
- Experiencing the recent loss of a close friend or family member
- Experiencing childhood abuse or childhood trauma
- Having specific variations in brain structure, brain chemistry, or general brain functioning
Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder
Diagnosis for bipolar disorder starts with a full medical exam. This allows doctors to check for physiological factors that may be causing manic episodes or other symptoms of this disease. Various forms of diagnostic imaging may be used as well to assess the brain and its functions, along with blood tests and other lab test types.
These assessments are followed by a full psychological evaluation in which patients are asked about their family histories of mental health disorders, traumas that they’ve experienced, and various lifestyle factors. To prevent misdiagnosis, it’s necessary for medical and mental health professionals to identify several, long-lasting core symptoms of this illness before diagnosing it.
The standards for diagnosing bipolar disorders that are defined in the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) are applied.
How Is Bipolar Disorder Typically Treated?
Medication and psychotherapy are the cornerstones of bipolar disorder treatment. Multiple types of psychotherapy can be used to motivate patients, teach healthier coping skills, and encourage problem-solving, self-care, and the ongoing management of this condition.
The level of care needed may vary from person to person. Medication and psychotherapy are also often paired with support groups and group therapy, and education about this illness and its impact on addiction recovery. Some cases benefit greatly from residential treatment, others find relief with outpatient facilities.
Individual therapy as well as group therapy has shown to improve bipolar symptoms.
Also known as “talk therapy”, psychotherapy is performed with the overarching goal of helping patients find natural ways to manage and maintain their mental health. For bipolar disorder, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common approach. In therapy, patients have the opportunity build their self-esteem, develop problem-solving skills, learn strategies for controlling their behavior, and discover the importance and basics of ongoing self-care among other things.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psycho-social intervention that’s consistently proven to be an effective part of treatment for various anxiety and depression disorders. CBT helps patients identify and correct negative thought patterns through cognitive reframing and restructuring. It also teaches patients how to listen to themselves and to recognize the connection between distorted or negative perceptions and painful emotions.
Depending upon the severity of a person’s condition, the symptoms exhibited, and other factors, medication for bipolar disorder treatment can include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, antipsychotic medications, and mood stabilizers. Medications that are commonly prescribed for the treatment of bipolar disorder include:
Not every patient receives multiple medication types. While some people may do well with mood stabilizers alone, others respond best to combinations of several drugs.
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder at Absolute Awakenings
At Absolute Awakenings, we always take a needs-specific approach when treating bipolar disorder. We take your wellness seriously and know that there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment plan that’s guaranteed to work well for everyone. This disorder affects each person in different ways, especially when it co-occurs with SUD or AUD. We offer our patients multi-pronged treatment plans with the goal of providing as many effective coping and management tools as possible.
In addition to medication and psychotherapy, we offer a number of on-campus workshops and activities that assist with stress management, life-planning, relapse prevention, goal-setting, and more.
Start Treatment Today at Absolute Awakenings
Mental illness does not have to be a life sentence. Living with untreated bipolar disorder can be incredibly challenging. At Absolute Awakenings, we offer evidence-based strategies for alleviating the symptoms of this condition and successfully managing it over the long term.
With help, you can eliminate the need to self-medicate your bipolar disorder in dangerous and ultimately ineffective ways. Call us today to find out more about the programs and services we provide at our bipolar disorder treatment center, discuss treatment options, or to start the intake process.