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Bipolar Disorder


The depression just came when it wanted to come. I just sat there and thought about something and I got depressed.

- 17 year old male suffering from depression.

Depression is a serious mental illness that affects 16.5% of all adults in the United States at some point in their lifetime. Additionally, 6.7% of all U.S. adults report feeling depressed for 12 consecutive months. With a current population of 313.9 million people, close to 52 million people have suffered from depression at least once, and 21 million people feel depressed for a year at a time.

The National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) suggests that depression can be identified by the following criteria:

  1. Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty" mood
  2. Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  3. Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  4. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed

When depression continues for a year, and a person can be diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, this diagnosis is very different from manic depression, which is now categorized as bipolar disorder.

Almost 15% of the entire U.S. population, or 47 million people, will experience major depressive disorder at some point in their lifetime. This diagnosis can be made when a life event (trauma, tragedy) has not caused the depressed mood that includes disruptions in sleeping and eating habits, behavioral choices, and energy levels. In other words, if depression has been caused by the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, or another life event, major depressive disorder is not applicable.

For the symptoms of depression to be diagnosed as a major depressive disorder, feelings of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, and a loss of interest in activities must occur every day, for most of the day, for at least seven consecutive days.

Manic depression, which has evolved into being called bipolar disorder, is best described as a mental illness, or a disruption in the brain that creates unusual changes in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function in everyday life. The disorder is characterized by alternating periods of depression, normalcy, and mania.

A person suffering from an untreated bipolar disorder swings from high periods of extreme happiness to deeply depressed periods of hopelessness and back again, often with a time of normal moods in between. Subsequently, bipolar disorder often affects work, relationships, school, and mental stability. Sadly, when left untreated, many dipolar disorder sufferers feel that suicide is the only way out.

There are treatment centers that specialize in the specific needs of those with depression, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. Call Recovery Now TV today at 800-281-4731 to find out what program is right for you, or for someone you love.

Bipolar Disorder

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans (age 18 and older), or about 2.6% of the U.S. population, each year.

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental illness in which the brain’s chemistry is altered in a way that creates unusual changes in mood, energy levels, and one’s ability to function in everyday life.

A person suffering from bipolar disorder swings from high periods of elation (manic episodes) to deeply saddened periods of hopelessness (depressive episodes) and back again, often with periods of “normalcy” in between.

Manic episodes (the high periods) generally include:

  1. Increased activity, energy, or restlessness
  2. Overly good, elated mood; euphoria
  3. Irritability
  4. Racing thoughts and rapid, increased speech, jumping from topic to topic
  5. Inability to concentrate
  6. Decreased need for sleep
  7. Feelings of unrealistic grandiose
  8. Poor judgment involving risk factors like spending, sex, and substance abuse
  9. Inappropriate social behavior

Depressive episodes (the low periods) generally include:

  1. Feeling sad, anxious, hopeless, empty, or pessimistic
  2. Feeling guilty, worthless, or powerless
  3. Loss of pleasure or interest in hobbies or enjoyable activities
  4. Fatigue; lack of energy
  5. Increased need for sleep
  6. Change in appetite or weight
  7. Inability to concentrate
  8. Suicidal thoughts or attempts

The first signs of bipolar disorder may appear in a person’s late teenage or early adult years, and approximately 50% of all bipolar diagnoses are made before the age of 25.

A 30-year-old man shares his experience with the mania and depression of his bipolar disorder:

The manic feeling is a real feeling of elation and euphoria. There’s that grinding angry sort of - I don’t really get angry and violent, well I did in jail, but I don’t really want to hurt anybody or anything. And as far as being depressed goes, I can really say I’ve only been depressed about three times, once to the point of being suicidal.

Episodes of mania and depression tend to develop over a period of days or weeks. With treatment, symptoms can be drastically shortened, reduced, and managed. When 5.7 million people in the United States are suffering from a disorder every year, you are not alone.

To find out more about helping yourself, or someone you love, contact Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731. Treatment is available for bipolar disorder. Call now!

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings that range from a depressed state to manic episodes. There are symptoms of each type of episode that can help you identify the presence of a diagnosable bipolar disorder.

The most common symptom of bipolar disorder is the observance of severe mood swings, involving extreme periods of highs and lows, sometimes with periods of normal moods in between episodes. When mood and behavior have veered far from an individual’s usual functioning, the result may be a bipolar disorder diagnosis.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) uses the following diagram to illustrate how a person can spot a manic or depressive episode in someone who might be suffering from bipolar disorder:

Symptoms of mania or a manic episode include:
Symptoms of depression or a depressive episode include:
Mood Changes
  1. An overly long period of feeling "high," or an overly happy or outgoing mood
  2. Extreme irritability.

Behavioral Changes

  1. Talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts
  2. Being unusually distracted
  3. Increasing activities, such as taking on multiple new projects
  4. Being overly restless
  5. Sleeping little or not being tired
  6. Having an unrealistic belief in your abilities
  7. Behaving impulsively and engaging in pleasurable, high-risk behaviors.
Mood Changes
  1. An overly long period of feeling sad or hopeless
  2. Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex.

Behavioral Changes

  1. Feeling overly tired or "slowed down"
  2. Having problems concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
  3. Being restless or irritable
  4. Changing eating, sleeping, or other habits
  5. Thinking of death or suicide, or attempting suicide.

In some cases of bipolar disorder, an individual only experiences mild mood swings and never experiences extreme psychotic symptoms. These individuals are said to have cyclothymia, a mild, genetically-related form of a bipolar disorder.

For all forms of bipolar disorder there is applicable treatment available. To begin the process, contact the team at Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731. With proper assessment, medication management, and therapeutic intervention, bipolar disorder can be treated.

Dual Diagnosis

I believe I had depression all along, even before I started using, and so through alcohol, marijuana, and even heroin, I was treating that depression.

- 24 year old dual diagnosis client.

Bipolar disorder is often accompanied by a substance abuse disorder, another mental illness, or an eating disorder. When one person is experiencing the symptoms of two disorders, and can be diagnosed with each separately, this individual falls into the category of dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders.

As you can imagine, bipolar disorder is disruptive to a person’s life, and when another disorder is also affecting mood, energy levels, eating and sleeping patterns, and almost every other aspect of everyday functioning, life becomes nearly impossible.

Bipolar Disorder with Substance Abuse

For someone who has been suffering from bipolar disorder, an attempt at feeling better may have involved drugs and alcohol. Alcohol is often abused in an effort to treat depression, cocaine is often abused to increase energy levels and to feel more confident, and prescription drugs are often abused to eliminate pain.

Substances may offer a temporary relief from reality, from pain, and from the symptoms of bipolar disorder, but their use adds to the overall problem, and to the need for treatment.

Bipolar Disorder with Another Mental Illness

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety often occurs with bipolar disorder, and when the combination has gone untreated, majorly impaired functioning, decreased quality of life, an increased likelihood of substance abuse, and a tendency toward suicidal thoughts, ideations, and attempts are the result.

Similarly, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) co-occurring reduces a person’s quality of life, increases rapid cycling between mania and depression, and increases the likelihood of suicide. The actual manic and depressive episodes can be experienced as trauma, so the cycle is extremely difficult to break without professional help.

Bipolar Disorder with an Eating Disorder

As published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, more than 14% of all people who can be diagnosed with bipolar disorder can also be diagnosed with an eating disorder in the form of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder.

During a manic episode, people with bipolar disorder may engage in anorexic or bulimic behaviors: not eating, overly exercising, and counting calories. During depressive episodes, this same person may overeat, or binge eat. These behaviors are harmful and need to be addressed.

Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

The best way to address an accurate dual diagnosis is to treat the combination of disorders at the same time. Each disorder needs its own set of treatment modalities and approaches, but evidence-based practices find that concurrent treatment, treating each disorder at the same time, within the same treatment program, is what offers the greatest chance for improvement, change, and healing.

A 52-year-old dual diagnosis client shares her story:

I have this illness, mental illness, with manic depression, and when I take the alcohol, my functioning isn’t as clear cut, not as sharp as, say, the average person who isn’t suffering any mental problems.

To find the best dual diagnosis treatment for you, or for someone you love, call Recovery Now TV today at 800-281-4731. Healing can begin now!

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

While there is not a specific cure for bipolar disorder, there are therapeutic ways to manage the symptoms and to keep mood and energy levels consistent. When creating a treatment plan for bipolar disorder, or for someone with dual diagnosis, a long-term outlook is needed to properly approach management of the disorder.


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most widely used form of therapeutic treatment for bipolar disorder. The technique helps clients identify negative and harmful thought patterns and behaviors.

The effectiveness of CBT is based on the idea that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors all have an impact on one another. When thoughts change, subsequent feelings and behaviors also change. For example, if a person with bipolar disorder receives an email from his or her boss, the initial thought can be that employment is going to be terminated. The emotional response may then be worry, anxiety, anger, shame, and even panic. Subsequent behaviors could be crying, screaming, not showing up for work the next day, or abusing substances to cope.

With CBT, the goal is to change that initial interpretation. Instead of an immediate thought that he or she will be fired, a therapist can help this person react with a thought more like, “My boss emailed me for a routine update on projects,” or, “Maybe I am getting a new assignment or project.” Feelings and behaviors of either of these thoughts are generally much more calm, and even positive.

CBT is used along with psychoeducation and family-focused therapy, each aimed at learning new tools and skills for everyday functioning.


Since the effects of bipolar disorder are from altered brain chemistry, many pharmaceutical medications have proven beneficial in its treatment when used in conjunction with psychotherapy, like CBT. However, as with any combination of chemicals, a person’s reaction to pharmaceuticals cannot be predicted. It is vital to constantly consult a psychiatrist or other medical professional when taking any medication for bipolar disorder.

Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and atypical antipsychotics are most effective for managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Antidepressants, like Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), and Wellbutrin (bupropion), are most common.

The issue with antidepressants is the side effects: possible trigger of mania, hypomania, or a quick onset of symptoms. Often a mood stabilizer is used with an antidepressant to prevent the quick switch from depression to mania.

Antipsychotics, like Abilify (aripiprazole), Zyprexa (olanzapine), Seroquel (quetiapine), Risperdal (risperidone), and Geodon (ziprasidone), are used to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Recovery Now TV for Bipolar Disorder Treatment

The team at Recovery Now TV specializes in making referrals to the top programs available to treat bipolar disorder, and dual diagnosis. With a thorough assessment, our trained professionals help place each new client with the combination of treatment centers that will best support that particular client in the healing process.

For individuals who have been abusing mind-altering substances, a detoxification program is the first step. From there, treatment for bipolar disorder can happen while learning how to live a substance-free life.

Treatment is available for everyone who is suffering from bipolar disorder. Starting to heal will save the life of anyone who has tried navigating a manic episode alone. Instead of continuing to swing from depression to mania, intervention and treatment offer a healthy solution.

To find out what program is best for you, or for someone you love, call Recovery Now TV at 800-281-4731. The time is now to heal and regain your life!

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