Bipolar Disorder | Overview & Treatment

Bipolar disorder is categorized by distinct mood periods: manic and depressive. There are three common types of bipolar, which are affected by severity of symptoms.

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Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition where you can experience severe changes in mood, energy, and cognition. Bipolar disorder can affect your relationships, health, and overall quality of life.

About 7 million United States adults suffered from bipolar disorder in 2020. Bipolar disorder can increase your risk of suicide, diabetes, drug abuse, and other serious health problems.

If you or a loved one suffer from bipolar disorder, help is available. Effective treatment options such as talk therapy and medication can help you manage your bipolar symptoms in the long term.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

Bedrock Recovery Center offers inpatient or residential bipolar disorder treatment options such as medication, individual psychotherapy, group therapy, and other options. Our mental health treatment plans are evidence-based and flexible for the needs of you or your loved one.

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Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by two distinct mood episodes. Periods of intense activity, irritability, and energy are known as manic episodes, while periods of apathy, excessive sleeping, and depression are known as depressive episodes.

Mixed episodes of both mania and depression can also occur in bipolar patients.

Problems with your brain chemistry may cause bipolar disorder. How often and intensely you experience mood episodes depends on the type of bipolar disorder you have.

Types Of Bipolar Disorder

The types of bipolar disorder are defined by the 5th Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

These diagnoses include:

  • bipolar I disorder: includes severe, long-lasting manic symptoms and severe depressive symptoms
  • bipolar II disorder: includes hypomanic episodes, a less severe form of manic episodes
  • cyclothymic disorder: includes hypomania and less severe depressive episodes

Forms of bipolar disorder may exist that do not fall under these categories.


An accurate bipolar disorder diagnosis can start with your primary healthcare provider, who can perform tests and refer you to a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist can give you mental health assessments and compare your symptoms to those in the DSM-V.

If you receive a bipolar diagnosis from your doctor or psychiatrist, you may start discussing long-term treatment plans.

Signs & Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

The warning signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder may vary from person to person. Manic and depressive symptoms are the most recognizable signs, but there are many others.

Additional bipolar symptoms include:

  • hallucinations, dissociation, and other forms of psychosis
  • inflated sense of self
  • sleeping problems
  • sudden changes between episodes of mania and episodes of depression (rapid cycling)
  • headaches
  • high blood pressure
  • rapid weight gain or weight loss

The amount of time these symptoms last may vary between patients.

Risk Factors

Your family history can be a major risk factor for bipolar disorder. Between 80 to 90 percent of bipolar disorder patients have a family member with bipolar disorder or major depression.

Other risk factors for bipolar disorder can include a history of substance abuse, insomnia, and high stress.


About 3 percent of U.S. adults and adolescents suffer from bipolar disorder every year. Bipolar I disorder is slightly more common in the U.S. than bipolar II disorder.

One study reported over 50 percent of bipolar patients will struggle with a substance use disorder at some point in their life.

Treating Bipolar Disorder

Treating bipolar disorder likely involves the use of medication and psychotherapy. If you have a co-occurring bipolar disorder and substance abuse problem, you may also receive substance abuse treatment.


Medication is an effective way of reducing your bipolar disorder symptoms.

Mood stabilizers such as lithium and valproate can make your mood episodes less severe. If your symptoms do not improve with mood stabilizers alone, your treatment provider may also prescribe antipsychotics.

Additionally, antidepressants can relieve episodes of depression. Antidepressants may be prescribed alongside mood stabilizers to avoid manic side effects. Long-term treatment plans with medication may be more effective than short-term treatment.


Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, can help you manage your mental health in the long term.

Forms of psychotherapy used in the treatment of bipolar disorder include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and cognitive processing therapy (CPT).

Other Treatment Options

Other treatment options for bipolar disorder may include:

  • electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)
  • social rhythm therapy
  • light therapy
  • dual diagnosis treatment

These treatment options may be used in patients who need specific or intensive care.

How To Find Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Local and national resources can help you find bipolar treatment options that work for you and your loved ones.

Reach Out To Local Treatment Providers

You may find contact information on local treatment providers, such as Bedrock Recovery Center, and support groups through your county’s addiction recovery board or your state’s official webpages.

PCP Or Family Physician

Your primary care provider (PCP) or physician can perform tests for bipolar disorder and refer you to mental health specialists. Visiting your PCP can be the first step in getting bipolar disorder treatment.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hosts resources such as behavioral health treatment locators, national helplines, and information pamphlets.

To find out if our bipolar disorder treatment options work for you, your family members, and your loved ones, please contact us today.

  1. American Psychiatric Association
  2. Medicina
  3. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  4. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: January 8, 2024

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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