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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, previously referred to as Manic Depression, is a brain disorder that causes abnormal shifts in mood and energy levels, causing difficulty in carrying out day-to-day activities and self-care. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are four types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I Disorder — manic episodes of at least seven days and depressive episodes lasting about two weeks.

  • Bipolar II Disorder — a pattern of depressive and hypomanic episodes or episodes that aren’t as full blown as the manic episodes in bipolar I.

  • Cyclothymic disorder (cyclothymia) — a year or more of depressive and hypomanic symptoms that don’t meet the requirements for a hypomanic or depressive episode.

  • Other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders — bipolar symptoms that don’t fit into the other three categories.

Bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose and is typically done so by a licensed psychiatrist. While you should not self-diagnose, you can look out for signs and symptoms common to bipolar disorder, such as:

  • Extreme emotions

  • Severely irrational behavior

  • Rapid speech

  • Racing thoughts

  • Delusional thoughts

  • Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping too much or too little)

  • Changes in activity levels

  • Mood episodes that include manic and/or depressive symptoms


Keep in mind that mood episodes and mood changes may not be extreme all the time, so bipolar disorder can be hard to detect. In fact, individuals with bipolar and borderline personality are frequently misdiagnosed with the incorrect mental illness at least once prior to receiving the correct diagnosis. At Astra Behavioral Health, we pride ourselves on having highly experienced psychiatrist and APRNs, so if you think that you or a loved one may have a form of bipolar disorder, please contact one of our office locations to schedule an evaluation.

Bipolar Treatment Options

Typically, bipolar is treated with medications like antidepressants and mood stabilizers. Sometimes psychotherapy can also be an effective supplemental treatment for patients with bipolar disorder.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find the right medication to help stabilize and balance mood, without side effects that can be intolerable for some. For circumstances like this, Astra Behavioral Health offers several effective alternative treatment options as well.

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