Bipolar disorder is a term used for a person who fluctuates between being depressed and manic. It is considered a “mood disorder”. The ups and downs are not always equal in length or amounts of time they happen. Sometimes a person can go in and out of a depression for several cycles before they ever become manic. Sometime people are manic more. There are different levels and types of Bipolar behavior and disorders.
The depressed state may include:
Gaining or loosing weight in the last 6 months, sleeping too much or not enough in the last 6 months, being tearful or feeling more sensitive to one’s emotions, having difficulty focusing or concentrating and feeling somewhat “numb” when it comes to going out or having a good time. Depression can decrease passion and pleasure. It also decreases motivation to do things one would normally handle with ease.
The manic state on the other hand, may include:
Increased activity, excessive speech, inflated self-esteem, grandiosity, decreased need for sleep and distractibility. Insight and judgment are poor in the manic phase. People may engage in excessive activities such as gambling or spending sprees or wild and excessive sexual activity. Often they will phone people in the middle of the night to “party”, or simply talk constantly and rapidly to anyone who will listen. Hyperactivity is common in the manic phase often coupled with pacing or running up and down halls, intruding in others’ activities, sleeping and eating little, and changing clothing several times a day. Clothing, jewelry, and makeup may be excessive. In an extremely manic phase, some people, but not all, can become suspicious, paranoid and psychotic where their reality is not the reality of others.
Studies reveal a higher rate of treatment success for clients with mood disorders when medication and psychotherapy is combined. Medication can be prescribed by an MD and is given when more immediate relief of symptoms is desired or required. Some people present in the depressed stage and others in the manic stage. Since not everyone has the same symptoms, medication is given to fit the needs of each particular patient.
Psychotherapy focuses on self maintenance and preservation, helping the individual identify, modify and eventually change negative thought patterns and gives support to practice thinking realistically about self and his/ her situation. This is known as cognitive therapy. Psychotherapy also uses behavior therapy by focusing on methods for attaining realistic goals for self care and establishing and maintaining appropriate and healthy relationships. Depression and Manic symptoms often result in impaired relationships with families, friends and colleagues of clients with mood disorders.
How I Can Help
In therapy we can discuss your symptoms and evaluate if you are experiencing or have a history of Bipolar disorder. Then we can discuss the treatment options. If you choose medication, I have several psychiatrists that will work with us to treat your immediate symptoms. I can identify combine cognitive and behavioral methods that apply for you to give you a better understanding of how to manage your symptoms. Therapy will be a place to:
1) Identify psychosocial stressors and how to recognize, manage,
and prevent symptoms.
2) Discuss the risks, benefits and effects of various medications to
make an educated decision about if this is right for you
3) Learn adaptive coping methods to manage and cope with this
4) Promote a healthy support system
5) Discuss how to maintain adequate nutrition, rest, hygiene
6) Discuss protection from self-destructive behavior if applicable.