Medically Reviewed By Dr Matthew Donlan

On 15 November 2022

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Last Medically Reviewed 15 November 2022


Psychiatrists have been diagnosing and treating bipolar illness since the mid-1800s. It was initially referred to as “manic depression,” a term that has persisted in popular culture and music to the present day. However, professionals no longer use it as an official diagnostic term.

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by distinct mood episodes at opposing ends of the mood spectrum: manic or
high and depressive. Depressed people have less mental and physical energy, whereas manic or hypomanic ones have an overabundance
of energy. Apart from mood changes, these mood episodes are associated with various other symptoms, including impaired cognition,
sleep patterns, and erratic behavior.

Despite widespread usage of the term “bipolar” and insinuations of the illness in popular culture, bipolar disorder is a mental health
condition frequently misunderstood by the general population. While the illness does involve mood swings, it is not synonymous with
moodiness or unpredictability. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that frequently requires an inpatient treatment plan in order for
the patient to be able to create a starting block for managing their illness for the rest of their lives. Untreated bipolar disorder often leads
to job loss, financial problems, and strained relationships. However, when appropriately treated, individuals with bipolar are absolutely
capable of living a fulfilling life.


There are three distinct types of bipolar disorder. Bipolar I is more severe than bipolar II, and the distinction between the two disorders
is based on the degree of accompanying manic episodes. While severe depressive episodes pose dangers, manic periods are far more
harmful. The unexpected intensity of a manic episode may be both unpleasant and dangerous. Manic episodes can occasionally be severe
enough to warrant hospitalization, especially when psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations are present.


The most severe type of bipolar disorder is Bipolar 1. It is mainly characterized by manic episodes. However, many people with bipolar 1 have both manic and depressed episodes. Severe manic episodes come with many risks. These include reckless driving, extravagant spending, and dangerous sexual acts.

Manic individuals may also develop psychosis. They can develop auditory hallucinations such as “hearing voices” or other delusions. Someone with bipolar 1 with psychotic traits may feel they are endowed with supernatural abilities and may act in ways that endanger themselves or others. Individuals who exhibit severe manic symptoms typically require a period of inpatient care until they mentally recover to the point of no longer suffering psychosis.


The most severe type of bipolar disorder is Bipolar 1. It is mainly characterized by manic episodes. However, many people with bipolar 1 have both manic and depressed episodes. Severe manic episodes come with many risks. These include reckless driving, extravagant spending, and dangerous sexual acts.

Manic individuals may also develop psychosis. They can develop auditory hallucinations such as “hearing voices” or other delusions. Someone with bipolar 1 with psychotic traits may feel they are endowed with supernatural abilities and may act in ways that endanger themselves or others. Individuals who exhibit severe manic symptoms typically require a period of inpatient care until they mentally recover to the point of no longer suffering psychosis.


Bipolar 2 disorder is diagnosed when a person has had at least one hypomanic episode and at least one severe depressive episode. While they may have psychosis during any type of mood episode, people with Bipolar 2 are far less likely to have a psychotic break than people with Bipolar 1.

Hypomanic episodes have a detrimental effect on people’s functioning, although not as severely as manic ones. Hypomanic events do not necessitate hospitalization. Patients with Bipolar 2 frequently describe them as pleasant moments of heightened energy and creativity. The enjoyable qualities of hypomanic episodes are one of the reasons that many patients with bipolar disorder avoid using antipsychotic drugs.


When deciding between cyclothymia and bipolar disorder, the primary criterion is severity. Cyclothymia is a mood illness that is considerably milder than Bipolar 2. While individuals with bipolar II have complete bouts of hypomania and significant depression, those with cyclothymia are far less likely to experience full mood episodes, as described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

People with cyclothymia may be unaware they have an underlying illness and perceive their mood swings as seasonal or contextual. While untreated cyclothymia is not as severe as untreated bipolar disorder, it can have a negative impact on relationships and employment. Additionally, it might cause individuals to seek out narcotics to manage their moods.


Initial symptoms of bipolar disorder may be inconspicuous. Early bipolar symptoms may include sleep disturbances and increased irritability. Certain individuals may have cognitive changes, such as bipolar memory loss, prior to developing mood symptoms. They may discover they are having difficulties recalling phrases or recalling plans prior to experiencing more apparent signs of sadness or mania.

Rage episodes, as some people with bipolar disorder refer to them, are frequently a forerunner to a complete bipolar mood episode. Increased irritation might cause people to snap or lash out at others when their brain chemistry changes. These outbursts can occur during depressive or manic episodes. Increased anger and violence are typical in bipolar disorder regardless of the polarity of the current mood episode. Still, they are more prevalent during acute episodes, particularly when psychotic symptoms are present.

Most symptoms of bipolar disorder are evident in one of three states: depression, mania, or hypomania.

Depression: Symptoms of bipolar depression are typically similar to those of major depression, except when mixed traits are present. While depression is often linked with poor mood and gloomy thoughts, the commencement of a depressive episode is frequently preceded by a lack of energy and changes in food, sleep, and cognition. Individuals who are depressed have a greater difficulty making decisions and sustaining motivation to engage in personally meaningful activities.

Mania: Bipolar mania is frequently preceded by an increase in energy and mental activity. During the early phases of a manic episode, individuals may notice their thoughts racing from subject to subject. They may acquire unexpected new hobbies that grow into obsessive behavior as the manic episode progresses. For instance, a new interest developed during the early stages of a manic episode might result in the individual spending excessively on products associated with that interest during the acute period of the manic episode.

Hypomania: Hypomania presents with symptoms that are comparable to those of mania but are milder. Numerous individuals report feeling inspired at the outset of a hypomanic episode. They may feel more imaginative or daring and decide to embark on a significant new endeavor. These pleasurable symptoms encourage some individuals to embrace their bipolar disease, even if it means embracing less pleasant episodes or symptoms. It’s critical to remember that not all hypomanic symptoms are benign.

Other Manifestations
Mixed Episodes: While mixed-state bipolar illness may appear contradictory, it is quite typical for people who are depressed to
have brief spurts of energy that make them irritable or agitated. Similarly, those experiencing manic symptoms may occasionally feel hopeless. Individuals who have had a mixed episode are more likely to engage in impulsive and self-destructive conduct, such as selfharming behaviors and suicide attempts.

Mixed episodes are more hazardous because very depressed individuals frequently lack the energy or drive to act on changing suicidal thinking. Still, individuals in a mixed state are more inclined to act on gloomy or hopeless thoughts. Mixed-symptom episodes may also involve psychotic symptoms, increasing their risk and likelihood of requiring hospitalization.

Rapid Cycling: Certain individuals suffer from bipolar rapid cycling conditions, often known as rapid-cycle bipolar disorder. Patients with bipolar cycling shift between mood episodes lasting a few weeks or one or two months. Instead of the regular bipolar episodes lasting many months each. It is critical to note that the phrase “fast cycling” does not refer to a person who has abrupt mood changes from day to day or who experiences mood swings throughout the day. Such emotional instability is frequently indicative of another condition, such as borderline personality disorder.

Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse: Numerous dangers are associated with co occurring disorders. People with bipolar disorder frequently abuse drugs in an attempt to alter or enhance their emotions. Because bipolar symptoms are so severe and persistent, they usually result in addiction. Comorbid drug abuse and bipolar disorder significantly increase the risk of suicide and other high-risk behaviors, which can result in serious legal, financial, and social consequences.

Receiving effective treatment is critical for a successful recovery. Bipolar disease is complex enough on its own, let alone when paired with a substance abuse problem. Contact Psyclarity Health to learn more about managing bipolar disorder and the treatment plan options available to help you regain control of these co occurring disorders.


Are bipolar disorders curable? Unfortunately, bipolar disorder, like other chronic mental health conditions, cannot be completely cured or eliminated. The illness is based on inherent distinctions in the chemistry and function of the brain that cannot be changed permanently. However, it is possible to treat bipolar disorder and obtain crucial coping skills. Individuals who have completed treatment can remain symptom-free for extended periods of time. And if they remain successful in managing bipolar disorder, they are fully capable of living a satisfying life.

Bipolar Treatment Centers
Hospitalization is considered a necessity when dealing with bipolar disorder. Psyclarity Health is a fully certified rehab center and mental health treatment provider located throughout the US. We have a free online assessment through which you can contact us and a simple admissions process to help you get started as quickly as possible. Among our vast treatment options, we provide a residential treatment program that will ensure safety and care during the recovery process. Our programs are directed by treatment professionals specializing in diagnosing mental illness and successful medication management.

Psychotherapy is a critical component of any treatment strategy for mental illness. Bipolar disorder treatment is no different. While individuals with bipolar disorder may benefit from various therapeutic approaches, good bipolar disorder treatment should also have an educational component.

We ensure our residential bipolar disorder treatment programs include the training needed for prolonged healthy living. Individuals can process trauma in treatment, learn to detect the warning signals of approaching episodes, and acquire insight into behavior patterns that aggravate or alleviate symptoms.

Our treatment team specializes in teaching our clients essential skills like:
• How to spot the warning signals of impending mood swings
• Recognizing habits that can influence bipolar symptoms
• The consequences of drug or therapy discontinuation
• Stress management and emotion regulation techniques


We have various forms of bipolar disorder treatment offered at Psyclarity Health. Our mental health professionals will assist you in medication management and help you figure out a personalized treatment plan to achieve the most successful treatment outcomes.

Bipolar Disorder Medications
Bipolar disorder can often be treated immediately, and medication may help manage depression and manic symptoms. During initial assessments, Our psychiatry specialist will assess the severity of the symptoms and prescribe a course of medication to aid in the treatment of the bipolar disorder. Your medication plans will vary according to your overall treatment plan and the state of your overall mental health. At Psyclarity Health, we aim to provide appropriate medical care while minimizing side effects. Bipolar disorder medication often includes antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics.

Individual Therapy
Supportive psychotherapy, which emphasizes the therapist-client connection, may sometimes be a better fit for certain individuals. Clients receive emotional support in individual therapy and are encouraged to continue adopting effective tactics or habits through a bonding experience. Supportive psychotherapy boosts adherence to medicines and treatment regimens by promoting a connection between positive reinforcement and treatment acceptance for better overall mental health.

Group Therapy
Treatment for bipolar disorder is often offered in group sessions and supervised support groups. Group therapy helps to develop interpersonal skills, which are sometimes tricky when someone has bipolar disorder. Sometimes you will hear about someone having problems with alcohol addiction, eating disorders, or other co-occurring disorders. You may find that you share similar underlying issues, which could promote connection and support in new friendships.

Family Therapy
Treatment interventions for bipolar disorders often include family involvement. Some programs offer family therapy sessions. Engaging with family members helps establish a positive home environment when you return home. Families may be able to understand bipolar disorder more fully. An experienced counselor can help your family members and friends deal with complicated topics. The encouragement of a family member can sometimes be one of the best ways to keep a client’s self-esteem strong and ensure a successful recovery.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT assists individuals in identifying distorted or unreasonable ideas or beliefs that contribute to unpleasant emotions and actions. They next learn how to question and alter these preconceived notions. CBT is comparable to supportive psychotherapy in how it works with patients who have bipolar disorder. Rather than concentrating on the cause of their problem, this therapeutic approach assists individuals in managing symptoms and implementing critical behavioral changes.

The following goals are targeted in cognitive behavioral treatment for bipolar disorder:
• Consistent daily routines
• Enhancement of symptom recognition
• Enhancing problem-solving skills
• Interpersonal and communication skills development
• Recognize and treat mood-altering ideas
• Encouraging early responses when mood symptoms occur

Cognitive behavioral therapy for bipolar disorder has been proven to enhance people’s mental health and physical health and improve their quality of life. It’s also known to increase treatment adherence, decrease the frequency and intensity of mood episodes, and decrease hospitalizations.


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