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people walking on rocks in a bipolar disorder treatment programLife has its ups and downs. Everyone has days where they feel up and full of energy, ready to take on challenges and try new things—and everyone has days where they feel low and it’s hard to get through the day. Various factors influence a person’s mood and ability to function in day-to-day life, but for people with bipolar disorder, these shifts are extreme. However, our bipolar disorder treatment program can make a difference.

At Columbia Associates, we understand bipolar disorder and how to best approach treatment. We provide comprehensive mental health treatment options that combine evidence-based therapies with lifestyle changes to help you or your loved one find stability, peace, and joy. Our bipolar disorder treatment program may include psychotherapy, medications, lifestyle modifications, family therapy, and other interventions depending on each client’s needs.

We provide a safe, supportive, and compassionate environment for clients of all ages to explore their bipolar disorder and its roots to gain a better understanding of themselves and the ways bipolar disorder is impacting their life. Call us today at 703.682.8208 to determine if the bipolar disorder treatment center at Columbia Associates is right for you or your loved one.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, sometimes referred to as manic depression, is a condition that causes dramatic shifts in mood and ability to function. People with bipolar disorder experience periods of high energy, impulsivity (mania), low mood, and lethargy (depression). Unlike mood swings, these episodes can last for weeks or even months.

There are two types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I – This is the more severe form of bipolar disorder. Manic episodes last at least seven days, and depressive episodes last at least 14 days. People who experience shorter episodes may also be diagnosed with Bipolar I if their episodes are so severe that they require hospitalization.
  • Bipolar II – This involves a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, which are up periods that are not as extreme as the full-blown manic episodes that are common in Bipolar I.

At Columbia Associates, our expert clinical teams have extensive experience in treating bipolar disorder and developing personalized bipolar disorder treatment plans to meet each client’s unique needs.

What Bipolar Disorder Is Not

Bipolar disorder is often portrayed in pop culture but rarely portrayed accurately. “Bipolar” characters are usually simple ones whose moods change quickly. Sometimes, these characters are depicted as completely insane. Not only is this a simplification of the symptoms of bipolar disorder, but it also misrepresents bipolar disorder in a way that paints the condition as mere mood swings.

Like depression, bipolar disorder is a serious mood disorder that can be fatal if left untreated. Misrepresentations of bipolar disorder are dangerous because they add to the stigma surrounding bipolar and other mood disorders, making life harder for those living with the condition and preventing people who need help from seeking it.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of mania and periods of depression. The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder depend on what kind of episode a person is experiencing.

Symptoms of manic episodes include:

  • Feeling abnormally alert, jumpy, or wired
  • Increased energy or agitation
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • Easily distracted
  • An exaggerated sense of well-being or confidence
  • Impulsive or risk-taking behavior

Symptoms of depressive episodes include:

  • Feeling sad, empty, or hopeless
  • Change in eating or sleeping habits
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Feelings of guilt, shame, or worthlessness
  • Decreased ability to think or concentrate
  • Suicidal ideation

Some people with bipolar disorder, particularly Bipolar II, in which manic episodes are not as pronounced, may initially be diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a complex mental health condition, and various factors affect an individual’s risk of developing it. The exact causes of bipolar disorder are unknown, but it is likely caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Genetic Causes

Research suggests that people with an immediate relative, such as a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder, are more likely to develop bipolar disorder themselves. They have not isolated a particular gene that causes bipolar disorder, but it does tend to run in the family.

Biological Causes

People with bipolar disorder have different biological structures in their brains compared to people who do not have bipolar disorder. More research needs to be conducted on the significance of these physical differences.

Environmental Causes

First episodes of bipolar disorder can be triggered by environmental factors, such as experiencing a traumatic event or going through a period of high stress.

Psychological Causes

Individuals who have trouble coping with stress or indulge in risk-taking behaviors could be more likely to react to environmental factors that might trigger a bipolar episode. Drug and alcohol use can also trigger the first episode of the disorder.

What Happens in a Bipolar Disorder Therapy Program?

As with many mental health conditions, bipolar disorder treatment can include several components that work together to alleviate symptoms. Treatment for bipolar disorder could include:

  • Medication – Medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and sleeping medications can help relieve symptoms of bipolar disorder.
  • Therapy – Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other types of therapy can help people with bipolar disorder cope with the high highs and low lows of their condition. Therapy can also help them learn coping mechanisms to manage their bipolar more effectively.
  • Peer support – Connecting with other people with bipolar disorder can be very helpful in better understanding and managing bipolar symptoms. Peer support groups offer a safe place for individuals to talk about their experiences, ask questions, and receive support from people who have been through similar experiences.

Although bipolar disorder can be challenging to manage, many people find that with the right treatment plan, they can live full and productive lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with bipolar disorder, resources are available to help.

Benefits of Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Participating in our bipolar disorder treatment program can be incredibly beneficial for individuals struggling with mental health conditions. Education, goal-setting, and other lifestyle changes often accompany these treatments, helping people better understand their diagnosis, develop self-care strategies and gain practical skills to manage symptoms. Therapy and medication can also improve relationships with family and friends and clarify decision-making. And beyond the clinical benefits of treatment programs, our program ultimately strives to achieve larger goals, including:

  • Improved quality of life
  • Positive perceptions of self-image
  • Coping skills that contribute to long-term stability and wellness

Thanks to a wide range of evidence-based practices now available for treating bipolar disorder, a high percentage of individuals who receive such services report tremendous improvement in their diagnosis within one year.

Call Columbia Associates for Effective Bipolar Disorder Treatment in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia

Managing the two opposite sets of symptoms associated with bipolar disorder can be challenging. Contact our mental health specialists today to take control of your mental health and find balance in your life. With the help of Columbia Associates, bipolar disorder does not have to be a hindrance. Our tailored treatment plans for bipolar disorder are as unique and special as you, crafted to help you reach your objectives.

We are committed to helping people in our communities access life-changing mental health care. If you believe that you are experiencing a mood disorder like bipolar disorder, contact us today at 703.682.8208 to learn what our compassionate care providers can do for you.