Are The Ups And Downs Of Bipolar Disorder Controlling Your Life?
Are unusual shifts in moods and erratic energy levels keeping you from carrying out basic day-to-day tasks? Do you experience periods of elevated mood and heightened energy followed by periods of depression, during which you feel sad, down, hopeless and helpless? Are your “up” periods characterized by trouble sleeping; rapid speech; irritability; jumpiness; engaging in impulsive, often risky behavior; and unrealistic beliefs about your capabilities? When you crash and depression sets in, do you struggle to get anything done, find it hard to concentrate and even entertain suicidal thoughts? Perhaps extreme mood swings have made it difficult—if not impossible—for you to hold down a job, maintain relationships or get through school. It may be that intense moods have taken over your entire life, causing you to feel like you have no grounding, routine or stability for any length of time. You might feel like you’re at the whim of your emotions, as though you’re stuck on a rollercoaster with no way to get off. Do you wish you could feel safe, secure and happy and get the treatment needed to help you regulate emotions and feel in control of your life?
You might be worried that your teenager or young adult is suffering from bipolar disorder and don’t know what to do or how to help, especially if his or her behavior is becoming more erratic or frightening. Your child might be engaging in particularly worrisome behavior, such as drug use, risky sex, reckless driving or other thrill-seeking activities, and you’re worried that he or she will gravely hurt him or herself or others. When depression sets in, your child may need constant supervision, especially if he or she has expressed suicidal thoughts. Do you feel helpless, frustrated and increasingly fearful about when the next episode will occur and what it will entail?
Living with or watching someone you love suffer from bipolar disorder can be a frightening, confusing and highly stressful experience. You might not be sure of what’s going on, and have begun to worry about your or your child’s wellbeing, especially if friends and family members are pointing out patterns of scary, erratic behavior. Do you feel helpless, overwhelmed and desperate for a sense of stability and relief?
Understanding Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, once referred to as manic depressive disorder, is characterized by extreme mood swings from high (mania) to low (depressed). About 5.7 million Americans, about 2.6 percent of the adult American population, are living with bipolar disorder. There is no definitive cause for the disorder, although it often runs in families and researchers believe that there is a genetic component. And, while most people are not diagnosed before late adolescence or early adulthood, some researchers believe that bipolar disorder can be detected in children as young as six. While this complex mental health disorder cannot be prevented, it can be effectively treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. With the help of a skilled psychiatrist who can prescribe and monitor medication and the support and guidance of an experienced, understanding therapist, you or your child can receive treatment for this debilitating disorder that can lead to sustainable relief.
Bipolar Disorder Treatment Can Help You Live A Stable, Supported And Balanced Life
While complex, bipolar disorder is one of the most treatable mental health disorders. With a combination of medication and therapy, you or your child can gain control over mood swings, experience stability and feel better equipped to navigate life.
At Collaborative Counseling and Psychiatry, your skilled mental health team will develop a treatment plan that best addresses your symptoms and sets you up for success. In addition to medication and therapy, the treatment plan will include strategies for early detection of and response to specific, manic symptoms, such as trouble sleeping. We can also work with you to develop a strong support system, which can include your family, friends and employer, with your consent. Rather than feel excluded and isolated by your condition, your friends and family can be educated on what is being treated and why. You can become an active part of your treatment and surround yourself with understanding people who you can talk to outside of the therapy office.
In bipolar disorder therapy sessions, you can learn a variety of skills that can help you cope with the disorder and challenges you may encounter. You can develop stress management techniques and problem-solving skills. You can also learn ways to improve and foster relationships, as well as communication skills that can help you talk about your experience. Your therapist can help you work into a regular, daily routine. Getting on a recurring sleep, exercise and daily work/school/task schedule can lower levels of stress and facilitate stability.
If it’s your teenager or young adult that is experiencing bipolar disorder, we can help treat your child’s symptoms and provide you and your family information about bipolar disorder. You can learn the triggering factors for your child so you can help to identify symptoms and mitigate or even prevent bouts of mania before they take over. You can also learn about the risk factors involved with bipolar disorder, such as risky, impulsive behavior during manic periods, and learn effective problem solving and communication skills. Having a loved one with bipolar disorder can be an intense experience, but we will be there to support and guide you as your child receives treatment and learns how to take care of him or herself.
Co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety disorders or substance abuse, are not uncommon with bipolar disorder. Your or your child’s therapist can assess for and address other, potential issues and provide guidance about how to work through difficult thoughts and feelings, increase personal awareness and foster acceptance.
While there may always be some ups and downs with bipolar disorder, it is possible to learn how to monitor symptoms, develop healthy ways to engage in self-care and create stability. With an effective bipolar disorder treatment plan, you or your child can function well and feel loved, accepted and secure.
You still may have questions or concerns about treatment for bipolar disorder…
Does a bipolar disorder diagnosis mean medication for life?
Most people with bipolar disorder will need to be on medication for the long-term. It’s truly in the service of wellbeing, and the right medication helps to mitigate the severity of symptoms. Although some people still report symptoms with medication, they also find those symptoms much more manageable. Medication helps to stabilize mood, activity and behaviors and can make a profound difference in overall quality of life.
I think that my teenager is experiencing bipolar disorder. Where should I start in getting him or her help?
If you think your child might be experiencing bipolar disorder, we’d recommend that you bring him or her in for a psychiatric evaluation and to establish a safety plan right away. If things feel really out of control, you might consider taking him or her directly to the hospital, where doctors can intervene and quickly establish safety and stability. There are many risks associated with bipolar disorder. It’s best to be proactive and seek help before things become critical.
My loved one is struggling with bipolar disorder, which is hard and stressful on my family and me.
Bipolar, while highly treatable, can be a distressing condition for not only the person suffering from it, but also his or her loved ones. Between the financial stresses and highs and lows that often come with the disorder, family members can become exhausted and frustrated. Many feel like they don’t have the time to engage in their own self-care. If you’re struggling to support your loved one, we’d recommend that you attend individual and/or group therapy. There’s also the option to get everyone into family counseling. Both therapy and groups can help you feel supported and connected to a larger community, which can bring both immediate and long-term relief.
You Or Your Child Can Live A Stable, Productive And Happy Life
You don’t have to navigate this challenging time on your own. We invite you to call 847-440-2281 to schedule an initial appointment and/or for a brief phone consultation. We’re happy to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about bipolar disorder treatment, medication for bipolar disorder, psychiatric evaluations and our practice.