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Bipolar Disorder

Learn more about bipolar disorder, its different types and symptoms, and how it can be treated.

female psychotherapist treats a teenage female patient with normal and cliche waysWhat is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition marked by intense and extreme emotional states that occur at separate times called “mood episodes”. These mood episodes are categorized as depressive, manic, or hypomanic. Generally, people with bipolar disorder have periods of normal mood as well.

The exact causes of bipolar disorder is unknown. However, researchers indicate several factors that may cause it, such as genetics, biological differences, substance or alcohol abuse, and periods of high stress (i.e. a traumatic event).

What are the types of bipolar disorder? What are its symptoms?

  • Bipolar I

    People with Bipolar I experience at least one manic episode that may be preceded or followed by a hypomanic or major depressive episode.

  • Bipolar II

    People with Bipolar II experience at least one hypomanic episode and at least one major depressive episode, but have never experienced a manic episode.

  • Cyclothymic Disorder

    People with Cyclothymic Disorder experience at least two years (or one year in children and adolescents) of many mood swings, with depressive symptoms and hypomania symptoms occurring often and fairly constantly. However, the symptoms experienced in Cyclothymic Disorder are less severe than those with Bipolar I or II.

Note: During a manic episode, people with bipolar disorder may experience grandiose thoughts, talk excessively, do many activities at once, and engage in risky behavior. A hypomanic episode is similar to a manic episode; however, the symptoms are less severe and need only last for at least 4 days in a row. During a major depressive episode, they may feel intense sadness, feelings of worthlessness, have sleep difficulties, experience chronic fatigue, and have recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

How can Prime Behavioral Health help?
At Prime Behavioral Health, we treat bipolar disorder with three main classes of medication, namely mood stabilizers (to treat manic or hypomanic episodes), antidepressants (to treat depressive episodes), and antipsychotics (to treat mood episode symptoms). Typically, treatment necessitates a combination of at least one antipsychotic and/or mood stabilizer, plus psychotherapy.

Get the Help That You Need
Need more information? Set An Appointment now to meet with one of our clinicians. If you have other questions, you can call us at 301-477-2128 for assistance.

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or are concerned about a loved one, please contact Maryland’s Crisis Hotline at +1-800-422-0009 or you can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to someone, you can use the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. For immediate crisis support, please call 911. For other resources, please visit https://www.mdcrisisconnect.org/.