What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that causes unusual shifts in mood, ranging from extreme highs (mania) to lows (depression). Bipolar disorder can be frequently inherited, with genetic factors accounting for approximately 80% of the cause of the condition. 

Bipolar disorder is the most likely psychiatric disorder to be passed down from family. If one parent has bipolar disorder, there’s a 10% chance that their child will also develop this.

Some of the things that categorize bipolar include periods of unusually intense emotion, and changes in sleep patterns and activity levels. These periods are called “mood episodes.” Mood episodes are very different from the moods and behaviors that are typical for the person regularly. Episodes can vary in length. 

Proper diagnosis and treatment (including psychotherapy and a psychiatric medical treatment plan) can help people with bipolar disorder lead healthy and active lives. Talking with a doctor or other licensed healthcare provider is the first step. The health care provider can complete a physical exam and order necessary medical tests to rule out other conditions. The health care provider may then conduct a mental health evaluation or provide a referral to a trained mental health care provider, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker who has experience in diagnosing and treating bipolar disorder.

Dialectical behavior therapy is a skill-based approach that will assist clients in recognizing the onset of a mood shift and develop concrete tools to use when that happens, in order to decrease the frequency, duration, and problematic outcomes of any mood shifts.

three outlines of a head in one - two white, one light blue and cloudyBipolar disorder can be treated with both individual and group therapy. It teaches mindfulness and acceptance skills, such as the ability to experience moment-to-moment thoughts, emotions and their accompanying physical sensations from an observer’s stance, without negative judgment. It also teaches distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.

 ​​If you think therapy could be something you’d want to try, visit Counseling Center of Maryland in Bethesda: https://www.counselingcenterofmaryland.com, as we specialize in bipolar treatment in Bethesda or call 888-604-6776 for more information about a consultation.

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three outlines of a head in one - two white, one light blue and cloudy
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