Understanding, Treatment & Help
Bipolar disorder has nothing to do with occasional “mood swings” that people experience from time to time. This disorder is a potentially serious mental health condition that impacts an estimated 5.7 million Americans. Of these millions of people, many are treated right here with care and dignity at Chicago Behavioral Hospital.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
People with bipolar disorder have unusual and extreme fluctuations in mood, energy levels, and behaviors that can be so severe that they impact a person’s ability to function in daily life. These “episodes” are classified as:
- Mania: if untreated, manic episodes typically last around 6 months. In some cases, a person’s behavior can become so erratic that they become a danger to themselves or others and require hospitalization.
- Depression: if left untreated, depressive episodes can last around 12 months.
- Hypomania (a less severe type of mania)
The four different kinds of bipolar disorder include bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, cyclothymic disorder, and other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders.
The specific causes of bipolar disorder are not always known, however brain physiology, genetics, and family history are all likely to play a role.
Bipolar Signs and Symptoms
A person will exhibit different types of bipolar signs and symptoms depend on which type of episode they’re currently experiencing. Manic episodes are associated with:
- Increased activity, creativity, and energy
- Tangential and accelerated speech and movement
- The feeling of euphoria, elation, or feeling “high”
- Increased risky behaviors, such as reckless spending or sexual activities
- Decreased sleep
- Racing thoughts
Conversely, depressive episodes are associated with:
- Persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness, joylessness, worry, and despair
- A feeling of worthlessness and guilt
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Decreased or increased appetite (with or without weight changes)
- Suicidal ideation or frequent thoughts of death
- Suicide attempts
- Problems with concentration, memory, and decision-making
- Decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities and hobbies
Common Types of Bipolar Treatment
While there’s no specific “bipolar test” that can help a clinician rule in the condition, a thorough physical and mental health exam—along with assessment of a person’s personal and family history—can help rule out other conditions and confirm a bipolar diagnosis (including which type of bipolar disorder the person has).
Once a diagnosis has been made, bipolar treatment can be applied on an individual basis. Techniques including psychotherapy, medications, and brain stimulation therapies (along with supportive interventions that focus on diet, exercise, and lifestyle) can help a person manage symptoms and improve function.
In Need of Bipolar Treatment?
Call Chicago Behavioral Hospital at (844)756-8600 for a free assessment. This service is available 24/7, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you have concerns about the mental health of yourself or your loved one living in the Des Plaines area.