Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)
Formerly called Manic Depression, Bipolar Disorders are often misunderstood both by individuals with bipolar disorder, and their families or loved ones. In part that’s because Bipolar Disorders (e.g. Bipolar I, Bipolar II) manifest differently in different individuals.
Some people with Bipolar Disorder are prone to frequent depression, others have lots of episodes of high energy and feeling “on top of the world”, and some people have impulsive behaviors, explosive anger or substance abuse problems.
Bipolar Disorder is often misdiagnosed by healthcare professionals. The “bipolar” label is sometimes given to clients/patients simply because they experience mood instability. However, mood instability can have many other causes, and is a feature of some Personality Disorders – so it can look very similar to Bipolar Disorder symptoms. It’s important to get a thorough evaluation by a qualified professional before deciding on a course of treatment. What may work for someone who has Bipolar Disorder may not be effective for someone who’s mood swings have a different cause.
Understanding Bipolar Disorder – What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar Disorder (previously called Manic Depression) is characterized by changes in mood, or mood swings, that can range from severely depressed (even suicidal) to highly energetic and excited about life – called “mania” (sometimes to the point of having delusions and grandiosity – for example, someone who’s never been able to maintain steady employment begins to believe they are going to start a million-dollar business).
Bipolar symptoms vary and there are a few different types of Bipolar Disorders . Some people experience lots of mania, while others experience more depression, and yet other people have frequent, rapidly shifting mood swings.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
I’ve listed below some of the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, but it’s important to remember that not everyone has the same group of symptoms, and just because a person has some of these symptoms does not necessarily mean they have Bipolar Disorder. If you recognize some of the bipolar symptoms in yourself or a loved one, its a good idea to seek guidance from a qualified psychotherapist or psychiatrist.
- Euphoria / Excitement
- Poor Judgment
- Rapid Speech
- Racing Thoughts
- Inflated Self-Esteem / Grandiosity
- Aggressive Behavior
- Risky Behavior
- Increased Sex Drive
- Insomnia / Decreased Need for Sleep
- Lack of Energy
- Feelings of Hopelessness
- Feelings of Guilt
- Suicidal Thoughts or Behavior
- Problems Sleeping or Sleeping Too Much
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Lack of Interest in Activities
- Poor Performance at Work or School
Other Symptoms, or Co-Occurring Disorder and Issues:
- Unstable Relationships
- Substance Abuse
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Medication for Bipolar Disorder
There are a variety of medications for bipolar disorder and a psychiatrist is the most qualified mental health professional to help determine the right medication choice. However research shows that medication alone is not as effective in treating mood disorders, as is a combination of medication and psychotherapy.
In my practice, I generally see a new patient first for a thorough evaluation, and if it seems that medication would be beneficial, I refer my clients to one of several psychiatrists I know and trust, to manage the bipolar medication part of the the treatment.
Therapy for Bipolar Disorder – Plantation FL
Therapy and Counseling for Bipolar Disorder is useful in helping to cope with and manage many of the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Counseling can help with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, impulsivity, relationship problems, substance abuse and addiction, anger and aggression and judgement or decision-making.
In my Plantation Florida Counseling and Psychotherapy practice, I offer therapy for Bipolar Disorder and other mood disturbances.
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Dr. Chantal Gagnon
Dr. Chantal Marie Gagnon, Ph.D., LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist, relationship counselor, and life coach in Plantation, Florida. Dr. Gagnon provides individual therapy, family counseling services, and couples therapy in her Plantation, FL office. Coaching services are available nationwide.
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