Bipolar disorder can begin in children and middle-aged adults, but the first signs most often appear in people aged 14 to 21. At any age, bipolar disorder is a serious, lifelong condition requiring expert care from the team at Spero Psychiatry and Counseling in Gilbert, Arizona. They treat bipolar disorder in people of all ages, creating personalized care plans that stabilize mood swings and support a thriving life. Call Spero Psychiatry and Counseling today or use the online booking feature to request an in-person or telepsychiatry appointment to receive skilled care for bipolar disorder.

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What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder refers to a group of three conditions that cause swings between high-energy, euphoric moods (mania) and low-energy, sad moods (depression). Each mood episode lasts for days to weeks, often with periods of stable, neutral mood between the episodes.

The severity of your symptoms differs in each of the three types:

Bipolar I disorder

Bipolar I disorder causes swings between major depression and full-blown mania. The manic episodes last seven days or longer and cause severe symptoms that typically require hospitalization.

Bipolar II disorder

Bipolar II disorder is defined by episodes of major depression and hypomania. Hypomania causes the same symptoms as mania, but they’re milder and seldom disrupt your life.

Cyclothymic disorder

Cyclothymic disorder causes frequent but mild mood swings that continue for at least two years. Though your symptoms are mild (they don’t qualify as major depression or hypomania), the swings are so frequent they can interrupt daily life.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

During manic and hypomanic episodes, you experience one or more of the following:

  • Talking rapidly
  • Having nonstop energy
  • Needing little or no sleep
  • Experiencing racing thoughts
  • Having a high sense of self-importance
  • Engaging in risky behaviors (such as driving while drinking or overspending)

During manic episodes, you may also have hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or smelling things that aren’t there) or delusions (believing things that aren’t true).

Depression causes several of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, and worthless
  • Losing interest in your favorite activities
  • Withdrawing from your friends, partner, and family
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Struggling to make decisions
  • Having little to no energy
  • Thinking about suicide

You may also experience physical symptoms like muscle aches, headaches, and chronic pain.

How is bipolar disorder treated?

Medication is essential when treating bipolar disorder. Mood-stabilizing medications prevent mania and depression, and consistent use may stabilize mood swings and keep them in remission.

Most people with bipolar disorder combine medication with therapy. Your provider recommends one of several therapeutic approaches, depending on the goals you want to achieve. For example, you may learn to manage mood swings or gain skills for overcoming the challenges bipolar disorder causes in your personal, social, and work life.

Call Spero Psychiatry and Counseling today or book an appointment online to get expert care for bipolar disorder.