Bipolar Disorder Treatment Altamonte Springs, FL

Bipolar disorder affects a person’s behavior, mental health, and stability due to changes in mood, energy, and normal functioning. Periods of intense emotion result in what is called “mood episodes,” which are the cause of extreme behaviors and mood swings. It is important to seek help from a certified professional in order to acquire an appropriate diagnosis as other conditions can affect a person’s mood.

Bipolar disorder treatment is available at Florida Psychiatric Associates in Altamonte Springs and the surrounding area. People with bipolar disorder can live normal and happy lives with proper management through medication, meditation, and counseling. Call us today at (407) 588-1744 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.

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What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is becoming more openly discussed in recent years than ever before. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes changes in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function.” Patients with bipolar disorder have periods of intense happy or sad emotions categorized as manic/hypomanic (abnormally happy) or depressive (abnormally sad), referred to as mood episodes. These episodes can last for days, weeks, or months, especially without treatment or management.

Bipolar disorder can fall under three main types or diagnoses: bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder. Bipolar I disorder includes persons who experience manic episodes of extreme happiness followed by depressive episodes of extreme sadness caused by a particular trigger. They experience neutral moods in between. Bipolar II disorder describes those who have at least two years of periodic hypomanic and depressive episodes with regular functioning throughout. Cyclothymic disorder refers to a mild version of bipolar disorder that results in frequent mood swings with both hypomanic and depressive symptoms. Each type has its own set of symptoms, causes, and treatments.

“Bipolar disorder can fall under three main types or diagnoses: bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder.”

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms of bipolar disorder vary by type and may change over time. While most people experience both manic/hypomanic and depressive episodes, their symptoms will vary.

People who experience manic and hypomanic episodes may have the following symptoms:

  • Abnormally upbeat, jumpy, or wired
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Distractibility
  • Exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)
  • Increased activity, energy, or agitation
  • Poor decision-making (shopping sprees, sexual risks, and foolish investments)
  • Racing thoughts
  • Unusual talkativeness

People who experience more frequent depressive episodes may experience symptoms such as:

  • Decreased ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
  • Depressed mood, such as feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or tearful (in children and teens, depressed mood can appear as irritability)
  • Either insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Either restlessness or slowed behavior
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Marked loss of interest or feeling no pleasure in all — or almost all — activities
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite (in children, failure to gain weight, as expected can be a sign of depression)
  • Thinking about, planning or attempting suicide

“While most people experience both manic/hypomanic and depressive episodes, their symptoms will vary.”

Causes and Risk Factors

Although there are no proven causes of bipolar disorder, various genetic and environmental factors may make a person more likely to develop one. Children with a parent with bipolar disorder are more likely to acquire the disorder than those who do not. However, studies showed that identical twins were the least likely to inherit the disorder from their parents.

Environmental factors include stress, major life changes, the onset of a medical condition, loss of a loved one, smoking, and alcohol and substance abuse. According to the Cleveland Clinic, an estimated 60 percent of people with bipolar disorder are dependent on drugs or alcohol. The study relates bipolar disorder to those with seasonal depression, anxiety disorder, and PTSD.

“Although there are no proven causes of bipolar disorder, various genetic and environmental factors may make a person more likely to develop one.”

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Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder

There is no definitive test or way to diagnose bipolar disorder. Typically, a series of tests and methods can help assess a person’s condition and rule out the possibility of other disorders or conditions. It is important for the patient to begin monitoring mood changes as they come and write down the feelings exhibited during intense episodes in order to properly describe these emotions to a therapist or psychiatrist.

To diagnose bipolar disorder, we will go through an an initial consultation and assessment in which we have a discussion about the symptoms and episodes a patient experiences. The assessment may include a physical test, lab work, a thyroid function test, and urine analyses. These tests are primarily done to rule out other possibilities that could be affecting mood. After ruling out all other possibilities, we conduct a mental health evaluation which consists of questions relating to both manic/hypomanic and depressive episodes. In most cases, this evaluation can appropriately diagnose a patient with bipolar disorder and help us curate the best treatment.

“Typically, a series of tests and methods are used to assess a person’s condition and rule out the possibility of other disorders or conditions.”

Types of Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Following a bipolar disorder diagnosis, we will customize a series of treatments to help develop a collective effort at home, work, and the office that effectively manages the symptoms. Treatment for bipolar disorder includes comprehensive treatments such as medication, treatment, and various complementary treatments.

Comprehensive treatments refer to a full treatment plan, including medication, therapies, and other treatments specific to each patient. Medications used to treat bipolar disorder are generally mood-stabilizers such as lithium (Lithobid) and valproic acid (Depakene). Various forms of treatment are especially effective when coupled with other treatments. Therapy for bipolar disorder includes behavioral treatment, interpersonal and social rhythm treatment, and family-focused treatment.

Complementary treatments are mainly effective in addition to the primary treatment and not as stand-alone treatments. Complementary treatments may include light and dark treatment to regulate the patient’s biological clock, mindfulness meditation, and acupuncture. Florida Psychiatric Associates will typically recommend these on a case by case basis.

“Treatment for bipolar disorder includes comprehensive treatments such as medication, treatment, and various complementary treatments.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can something trigger bipolar disorder?

A. There are a variety of risk factors that can trigger bipolar disorder, such as having an immediate relative with the disorder, high levels of unmanaged stress, and traumatic events (loss of a loved one, car accident, etc.). However, in most cases, bipolar disorder does not spark on its own. Those who fall under genetic or environmental risk factors are more prone to developing it but not guaranteed to acquire it.

Q. How can I manage bipolar disorder?

A. It is important to seek professional care and help yourself in order to properly manage bipolar symptoms. Some methods include eating clean, avoiding alcohol, substances, and tobacco products, limiting stress, sleeping and exercising well, and keeping a journal to continually monitor mood. Self-care and management should be coupled with professional help and counseling.

Q. How can I avoid having an episode?

A. Those who are in treatment for bipolar disorder generally have a plan that helps limit their personal triggers, such as stress, irregular sleep patterns, unhealthy diet, or insufficient exercise. To avoid or reduce the frequency of mood episodes, we recommend maintaining a daily routine, setting realistic goals, reducing sources of stress, and avoiding substances that exacerbate their symptoms. Treatment varies per each individual, involving professional guidance and self-management practices.

Q. Is there a cure for bipolar disorder?

A. While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, people who follow a treatment plan and manage their symptoms can lead normal lives with minimal mood swings or episodes. Those who only follow one method, such as medication, may fall into an episode as other factors are in play. Bipolar disorder is best managed when comprehensive treatments are used simultaneously.

Q. Can I manage bipolar symptoms without medication?

A. In most cases, yes. People who strictly follow their treatment plan, eat healthy, and adhere to any special instructions given by their doctor(s) may be able to manage their symptoms without the use of medications. Bipolar disorder is best managed through meditation, therapies, and counseling.

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Definitions

Cyclothymic disorder
A rare mood disorder that causes periods of emotional ups and downs.
Episode
A period in which a person experiences manic or depressive symptoms for at least one week.
Hypomania
A mild form of mania that is marked by elation and hyperactivity.
Mania
A period of great excitement or euphoria, delusions, and overactivity.
Mental Health
Mental health includes a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
Mood-stabilizers
A psychiatric medication used to treat mood disorders characterized by intense and sustained mood shifts.
Psychiatrist
A psychiatrist is a medical professional who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing mental health conditions via medicine.
Psychotreatment
Psychotreatment, also known as talk treatment, is a means of helping patients with several different mental health conditions.
Therapist
A therapist is a professional who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing mental health conditions via talk treatment.
Therapy
Therapy is a treatment for relieving mental distress and mental health problems.

Call Us Today

If you suspect bipolar disorder is negatively affecting your life, do not wait to ask for help. We can help you manage bipolar symptoms and continue living life without fear of experiencing frequent episodes. Call us today (407) 588-1744 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.

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  • Florida Psychiatric Associates was established in 2003.
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  • We serve patients from the following cities: Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Sanford, Deltona, Orange City, DeBary, Apopka, Maitland, Winter Park and Orlando
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