For those suffering bipolar disorder, life is a roller coaster of emotional ups and downs that the mental health community calls “mood episodes.” These feelings range from intense highs (called manic episodes) to plummeting lows (known as depressive episodes.) And — unlike the thrill ride at a carnival or state fair — the price of admission for those with this manic-depressive illness includes extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep and behavior.
In addition to these mental highs and lows, people with bipolar disorder can sometimes experience symptoms of both mania and depression concurrently, something therapists call a mixed state. And some experience a long-lasting period of unstable moods instead of the more discrete episodes of either mania or depression. People with bipolar disorder also might become agitated and irritable during an episode. On occasion, symptoms are so severe that the person cannot function normally at work, school or at home.
No matter the medical terminology or the mood experience, many of those suffering the unstable mood events presented by a diagnosis of bipolar disorder say they would willingly sell their souls for a peaceful heart and a quiet brain.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says bipolar disorder affects about 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the population 18 years and older in a given year. The median age for a bipolar onset is 25 years.
The specific symptoms for those experiencing a manic episode or depression are broken down into two categories — mood changes and behavioral changes.
Mood changes for a manic episode include long periods of feeling “high” or particular upbeat and outgoing. These episodes can also include periods of irritability, agitation, feeling “jumpy” or “wired.”
Behavioral changes for mania include talking fast, jumping from one idea to another and racing thoughts. The manic is easily distracted, wants to take on new products, has an unrealistic belief in their own abilities, and sometimes acts impulsively, taking on high-risk behaviors such as spending sprees, impulsive sex and on-the-spot business investments.
Manic symptoms for depression include long periods of feeling worried or empty and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed. Behavioral changes often include extreme tiredness; problems concentrating, remembering or making decisions; being restless and irritable; thoughts of death or suicide.
Bipolar disorder can be effectively treated over the long run, according to therapists at Morningside Recovery. But they are quick to note that there is no cure. The disorder is best controlled when treatment is continuous, rather than on-again, off-again.
Morningside offers a strategy that combines both medication and psychosocial treatment in order to manage the disorder over time. Offering inpatient or outpatient care, Morningside’s goal is to relieve symptoms, restore the patient’s ability to function and reduce the chance of recurrence.
Among the treatments for bipolar disorder that are available at Morningside are:
Psychotherapy — The clinicians and therapists at Morningside believe that multi-therapeutic approach is necessary. Morningside offers CBT, DBT, experiential, family of origin, and integrative therapies — both individual and group — is essential in dealing with the disorder, teaching the patient how to live with difficult feelings, fix relationships that have gone sour, manage the stress associated with the disorder and regulate mood swings.
Medication — Another mood regulator that is almost always required in bipolar disorder treatment is medication to minimize those highs and lows.
Learning how to manage symptoms requires education, and Morningside offers classes for both the patient and the family so that everyone has the tools necessary to avoid problems and deal with setbacks.
Most treatment centers don’t admit clients with a single mental health diagnosis, but Morningside does so in a residential treatment setting with an experienced staff working in both psychiatry and mental health medicine.
Professional and comprehensive bipolar disorder treatment, when administered in the safety and comfort of a residential setting such as Morningside, offers freedom from a condition that might have seemed hopeless for years. This personalized program of recovery, when conducted in conjunction with effective medication, can result in a life that is independent, to a large extent, of the disorder. The end result can mean climbing off that roller coaster and starting to again live life on life’s terms.
Morningside Recovery offers bipolar disorder treatment in a quiet, comfortable and secure setting, surrounded by a caring staff that has been providing solutions to mental health issues for decades. For more information, call Morningside at 866.458.9533.