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Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder?

What is bipolar disorder? It is a brain disorder that causes unusual or extreme shifts in moods, emotions, energy, activity levels, and even the ability to carry on daily tasks. Bipolar disorders include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) there are four basic types: Bipolar I disorder, Bipolar II disorder, Cyclothymic disorder or as it is also known as Cyclothymia, and Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders. All four types involve changes in mood, energy, and activity levels.

The Four Types of Bipolar Disorder:

Bipolar I Disorder: an illness in which those who suffer from it experience one or more episodes of mania and depression. An episode of depression is actually not needed for a diagnosis. To be diagnosed with bipolar I the manic episode must be for at least seven days or be severe enough that hospitalization is required. The four types broken down for you:

Bipolar II Disorder: you have had at least one major depressive episode and one episode of emotional highs, but has had no “full” manic episode. A full manic episode could potentially trigger breaks from reality. These breaks are known as psychosis, these epsidose may reach the point that hospitalization is needed. 

Cyclothymic Disorder or Cyclothymia: when you have had at least two years, of chronically unstable mood state- of many periods of hypomania and mild bouts of depression. Cyclothymia sufferers may have periods of normal moods but they usually last less than eight weeks. 

Bipolar Disorder, “other specified” and “unspecified”:
when a person does not meet the criteria for bipolar I and II or cyclothymia. Yet they have experienced episodes of clinically significant abnormal mood shifts. 


There are no known causes. No single cause has been found. Some factors have been known to contribute, they include: abnormal brain structures and functions, family history, genetics, and stress.

Diagnosis & Treatments:

A doctor has to  may perform a physical examination, conduct an interview and order lab test. A doctor or a medical health professional are the only people qualified to diagnosis a patient. For more information on our own clinics services, follow the link. The most common available treatments are:

  • Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and family-focused therapy.
  • Medications, such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medications and, to a lesser extent, antidepressants.
  • Self-management strategieslike education and recognition of an episode’s early symptoms.
  • Complementary health approaches, such as aerobic exercise meditation, faith and prayer can support, but not replace, treatment.

Supplemental Research Materials:

In addition for more information watch this quick video by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), click on the link.

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