Bipolar Disorder Treatment at Alvarado Parkway Institute


 
 


Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a neurological brain disorder that affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans. While bipolar disorder can be either mild or severe, approximately 83% of cases are classified as severe. Researchers estimate that between 24% and 60% of people with bipolar disorder will attempt sucide, and between 4% and 19% will suceessfully commit suicide. These are devastating statistics, particularly when effective treatment is available. At Alvarado Parkway, our bipolar disorder treatment program has helped countless patients experience relief from their symptoms and go on to live meaningful and productive lives. 

Bipolar Symptoms and Signs

Bipolar Disorder is associated with intense emotion, unusual behaviors, and extreme changes in activity levels. These symptoms are experienced in periods known as “mood episodes” and can last anywhere from hours to days, weeks, or months. Most often, the emotions are out of proportion with or disconnected from real-world events. Episodes can be triggered by a number of things, including stress, sensory overload, changes in routine, and drug or alcohol use. Every person with bipolar disorder is unique, but episodes can usually be categorized as manic or depressive, though some people do experience episodes with mixed features as well.

Manic episodes may involve: 

  • Exuberance or elation 

  • Excessive energy

  • Increased activity levels

  • Fast-talking and jumping from subject to subject

  • Irritability or agitation

  • Risky behavior

  • Impulsive behavior

  • Hallucinations or delusions

Depressive episodes may involve:

  • Sadness and hopelessness

  • Pessimism and a bleak outlook

  • Decreased energy levels

  • Changes in sleep and appetite

  • Lack of motivation

  • Loss of pleasure

  • Difficulties with concentration and memory

  • Social withdrawal

  • Thinking about death and suicide

Because some of the above symptoms are present in other mental health conditions, it can be difficult to recognize them as symptoms of bipolar disorder. A proper diagnosis from a mental health professional is crucial for receiving the appropriate treatment.


Bipolar Disorder Treatment

There is no “cure” for bipolar disorder, but treatment can help patients identify triggers, manage symptoms, and minimize the frequency and duration of episodes. At Alvarado Parkway Institute, our treatment programs begin with a full physical exam and medical testing to rule out other illnesses and a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation to ensure the proper diagnosis. Every person is different, some with milder symptoms of bipolar disorder, and others with more severe symptoms. Many people with bipolar disorder also have co-occurring conditions such as chemical dependency issues. Our customized treatment plans are designed to address the particular needs of each individual, and we provide varying levels of care, depending on whether the patient is best suited for inpatient services, or whether he or she is stable enough to participate in one of our outpatient programs.


Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder

No two treatment plans will look exactly the same, but treatment options for bipolar disorder usually include a combination of medication and psychotherapy.  Medications may include antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and SSRIs. 

Medication for bipolar disorder helps patients to:

  • Decrease symptoms of mania

  • Alleviate symptoms of depression

  • Minimize risk of psychosis

  • Stabilize mood

  • Relieve anxiety

  • Keep a normal sleep schedule


Psychotherapy for bipolar disorder helps patients to:

  • Identify and manage triggers

  • Change unhealthy patterns of behavior

  • Communicate needs effectively with friends, family, and colleagues

  • Manage stressful life events

  • Improve interpersonal relationships

  • Protect against the development of future episodes

Every individual responds differently to treatment, and it can take time to find the most effective combination of medications for the treatment of bipolar disorder.  But once you do, it’s important to keep taking them as prescribed and to remain under the care of a psychiatric professional who can help monitor symptoms and adjust dosage as needed. 

Caring for Someone With Bipolar Disorder

Caring for someone with bipolar disorder can be heartbreaking and frustrating, whether it’s your child, your spouse, or a friend. Their manic episodes may frighten you, and their depressive episodes may make you feel shut out and helpless.  Education and self-care are two crucial aspects of living your best life while caring for someone with bipolar disorder. 

  • Educate yourself about bipolar disorder. The more you know about your loved one’s condition, the more compassion and understanding you’ll have about what they’re going through—and how not to take it personally. Additionally, you’ll learn what you can and cannot control. Struggling to “fix” something that is not in your control only leads to further misery. Acceptance of your limitations (and theirs) is a crucial step toward peace and serenity. 

  • Take care of yourself. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. While it can be tempting to prioritize your loved one’s needs over your own, it’s not sustainable over a long period of time. It’s important to replenish your resources regularly. Practice self-care by eating healthy, exercising, getting adequate sleep, strengthening your support network, pursuing hobbies and other pleasures, and giving yourself regular breaks from your caretaking duties.


At Alvarado Parkway, we’re committed to helping our patients and their families optimize their mental health and live their best lives. For more information on bipolar disorder treatment at Alvarado Parkway Institute, please call us at (619) 667-6125.