Bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic depression, is a mental health disorder that is distinguished by dramatic changes in a person's mood, from the elated highs of mania to the lows of depression. Bipolar disorder affects all ages, genders, and ethnicities, and usually has its onset in late adolescence or young adulthood. We know that genetics can play a role in the vulnerability to bipolar disorder, as researchers have traced the incidence of bipolar disorder among generations of families.
While bipolar disorder cannot be prevented, it's important to be aware of early warning signs of an impending episode of bipolar depression or bipolar mania. Early recognition of bipolar warning signs and seeing your doctor regularly can allow you to monitor your mood and medications and keep illness from escalating.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is an illness in which the person's mood alternates between the high of mania and the low of depression. People diagnosed with bipolar disorder usually have one or more major depressive episodes along with one or more manic or mixed episodes.
Bipolar mania is a prolonged state (at least one week at a time) of extreme elation or agitation accompanied by excessive energy. Symptoms of the manic "highs" include increased energy, racing speech and thoughts,...
Impulsiveness, a reckless pursuit of gratification -- shopping sprees, impetuous travel, more and sometimes promiscuous sex, high-risk business investments, fast driving
Hallucinations and or delusions (psychotic features such as these may be involved in about one out of every two of cases of bipolar mania)
How is bipolar disorder treated?
Bipolar disorder is treated with medications to stabilize mood. If the mood stabilizers do not fully manage the symptoms, other medications may be added to help calm the mania or ease the depression.
Along with mood stabilizers, psychotherapy is recommended to help the patient develop appropriate and workable coping strategies to deal with everyday stressors and to increase medication compliance.
Can behavioral counseling help those with bipolar disorder?
Different types of talk therapy options are available to help those with bipolar disorder prevent or cope with a mood episode:
Individual Counseling: This is a one-on-one session with a professional therapist with experience in bipolar disorders in which the patient's problem areas are addressed. The session may include help accepting the diagnosis, education about bipolar moods, ways to identify warning signs, and intervention strategies to manage stress.
Family Counseling: Bipolar disorder extends beyond the patient and can affect the entire family. Families are frequently involved in outpatient therapy as they receive education about bipolar disorder and work with the therapist and patient to learn how to recognize early warnings of an impending manic or depressive episode.
Group Counseling:Group sessions allow for the sharing of feelings and the development of effective coping strategies. The give-and-take at group sessions can be the most productive way to change the way you think about bipolar disorder and improve coping skills as you face life's challenges.