Bipolar disorder is a serious mood disorder characterized by unusual shifts between very low mood and very high mood. Although bipolar disorder can be difficult and may feel insurmountable, treatment can help you to manage symptoms.
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Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
While the specific presentation of symptoms can vary for those with bipolar disorder, all cases of bipolar disorder feature two main symptom categories: depressive symptoms and manic symptoms. These symptoms typically appear in “episodes,” prolonged periods punctuated by the presence of a specific category of symptom.
Depressive symptoms are characterized by low mood and fatigue. For those with bipolar disorder, depressive symptoms usually occur in depressive episodes and include:
- Persistent low mood
- Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up
- Irritability or anxiety
- Social isolation, or a decrease in social interaction and activity
- Loss of interest in daily activities or hobbies
Manic symptoms are characterized by a high mood and feelings of power. Manic symptoms typically occur within a manic episode and include:
- Feelings of being “sped up,” on edge, or tense
- Unusually rapid speech
- Lowered interest in or ability to sleep
- Engaging in risky or excessive gambling, sex, or spending
- Feelings of being invulnerable or unusually power
Some people with bipolar disorder may not experience “full” or severe mania. In such cases, they may instead experience hypomania, a type of mania that lasts for shorter periods of time and is less severe. Those with hypomania may find it difficult to recognize these symptoms in themselves, and even some professionals may miss symptoms of hypomania.
Types of Bipolar Disorder
Depending on the severity and frequency of bipolar symptoms, those with the disorder are categorized into one of three sub-types of bipolar disorder. The sub-types include:
- Bipolar I disorder is considered the most severe type of bipolar disorder, distinguished by longer or more severe manic episodes lasting seven days or longer.
- Bipolar II disorder is a less severe form of bipolar disorder. Bipolar II symptoms typically last for shorter periods and may be less intense. Bipolar II is the most common form of bipolar disorder.
- Cyclothymic disorder is a less common form of bipolar disorder. Unlike bipolar I and II, depressive and hypomania symptoms are not severe or frequent enough to be categorized as episodes.
Regardless of the severity of the symptoms, all types of bipolar disorder can be treated.
Bipolar Disorder Statistics
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a total of 4.4% of U.S. adults have bipolar disorder during their lifespan. Approximately 2.8% of U.S. adults have bipolar disorder a year. It is equally common with men and women. People with bipolar disorder are more likely to have other mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders or substance use disorder (SUD).
Why Is Bipolar Disorder Treatment Important?
Left untreated, bipolar disorder can cause significant difficulties. Depressive symptoms may impede your ability to perform daily tasks, attend work or school, or care for yourself or others. Those with manic symptoms often make risky decisions, stay awake for extended periods, or struggle to socialize in their normal manner.
However, treatment for bipolar disorder can be very effective. Because bipolar disorder has been extensively studied, experts have developed strong, scientifically backed treatment modalities to aid those with the disorder. Depending on your symptoms and needs, your health care team may suggest medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Always talk to a healthcare professional before starting treatment.
What Makes Our Program Unique?
Alter Wellness San Diego Crisis Stabilization, located in the beautiful College Area of San Diego, California, offers holistic, evidence-based treatment to those with bipolar disorder facing a crisis. Our Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) is a small, short-term program designed to give you the tools and support you need to recover. With fewer than 16 beds, each client receives individualized care from members of our staff.
Our CSU is person-focused and trauma-informed. We work with you to ensure that your unique life circumstances and needs are met.
Getting Help At Alter Wellness San Diego Crisis Stabilization
We understand that crisis requires full, attentive care. To ensure that you receive the highest quality care possible, we utilize a variety of methods and services designed to aid you in your recovery journey. As part of our treatment program, clients have access to the following tools:
- Medication management: For clients with pre-existing prescriptions, we offer professional support in managing and maintaining your dosage.
- Whole-person wellness: Each person with bipolar disorder has unique life circumstances. At Alter Wellness San Diego Crisis Stabilization, we work with each person to analyze your life and support needs and customize our program accordingly.
- Recovery and safety planning: Our treatment is designed to give you the skills you need to continue your journey after graduating from our CSU. Our staff will work with you to plan for the future of your recovery and ensure your safety.
- Support services: While in treatment, clients can access evidence-backed bipolar disorder treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
- Family and community support: No one recovers alone. We help you to connect to your family and community and create a social safety net.
- Nutrition and recreation services: For those with bipolar disorder, it can be difficult to maintain a nutritious diet and care for yourself, especially while in treatment. In our CSU, we help you to manage your nutrition and mental health.
Located in the College Area of San Diego, Alter Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Unit provides short-term crisis stabilization to individuals suffering from acute mental health disorders as an alternative to inpatient hospitalization.