Also known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that is characterized by extreme and intense shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to complete daily tasks. These extreme changes in mood are known as manic (high energy) and depressive (low energy) episodes. Some patients may also experience less severe manic periods, which are known as hypomanic episodes.
At Montana Psychiatry and Brain Health Center, we offer innovative, cutting-edge treatments for many mental health conditions. Our medical personnel are experts in the specialized approaches they take. Contact us today to schedule a consultation appointment and find out how we can help you be well.
Types of Bipolar Disorders
- Bipolar I Disorder – patients with this variation of bipolar disorder typically experience manic episodes that can last for at least seven days. Depressive episodes also occur and can last for at least two weeks.
- Bipolar II Disorder – this variety of bipolar disorder is characterized by depressive and hypomanic episodes.
- Cyclothymic Disorder – defined by multiple periods of hypomanic symptoms and numerous depressive symptoms that can last for at least two years.
- Other Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders – characterized by bipolar disorder symptoms that do not fit into the previous three categories.
Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
There are a variety signs and symptoms associated with bipolar disorder. Patients with bipolar disorder typically experience periods of extreme, intense emotion, extreme changes in sleep patterns and activity levels, and actions or behaviors that differ from their “normal” self. These periods of extreme emotion and change in behavior are known as mood episodes, and can be identified as they are markedly different from the moods and behaviors that are typical for the patient. Mood episodes can be characterized by both manic (high energy) and depressive (low energy) episodes.
Possible Causes and Risk Factors
Most scientific experts agree that there is not a single cause for bipolar disorder, and potential causes are still being researched. Many scientists agree that there are a combination of factors that can increase the potential risk of bipolar disorder and contribute to the illness. Some of the most common potential causes and/or risk factors include:
- Biology. Studies have shown that the brains of patients with a diagnosed bipolar disorder differ from the brains of patients without bipolar disorder.
- Genetics. Genetic structure also increases the risk of developing bipolar disorder and some patients may be predisposed to develop the disorder.
- Family history. Bipolar disorder tends to be hereditary and run in families. Patients with a parent or a sibling with bipolar disorder are more likely to develop the illness.
Possible Treatments for Bipolar Disorder
There are many different potential treatment options for bipolar disorder and not every patient will require the same type of treatment. Treatment options can include:
- Medications: including mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and atypical antipsychotics
- Psychotherapy: usually performed in combination with medication. Psychotherapy options can include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, psychoeducation, and family-focused therapy.
- Other treatments options: including natural supplements and sleep medications
The highly-trained team at Montana Psychiatry will work with you to determine the appropriate course of treatment to effectively treat and address your symptoms. If you or a loved one is experiencing the signs and symptoms of a bipolar disorder, treatment is available. Contact the experts at Montana Psychiatry and Brain Health Center today to learn more or to schedule your introductory appointment!