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Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Bipolar Disorder is a chronic illness that, if managed optimally with medication and psychotherapy, can result in an individual having a life outside of the destructive cycle of mood swings. The course of Bipolar Disorder is progressive, so if treated effectively, the effect is prophylactic, that is preventative of further deterioration. It may be considered analogous to a seizure disorder, each seizure could potentially further injury. Bipolar Disorder Treatment is one of our many specialties at Harmony Place Monterey to help you on the road to recovery.

The problems associated with recovery for Bipolar Disorder include the following:

Inability to Accurately Diagnose Bipolar Disorder in an Early Stage

Recognizing symptoms of increase activity, rapid mood swings, irritability, grandiosity, hypersexuality, inability to complete tasks, family history of Bipolar Disorder or depression, and not responding to medications, which may result in social isolation or addictive behavior.

Changes to the Brain Cause Bipolar Disorder

Drugs, such as Lithium, can make for the brain to be more normal. Understanding that this chronic illness can be progressive if not treated early, we must treat it similar to illnesses like diabetes. The process of checking a diabetics glucose levels is similar to the checks of mental health required to treat Bipolar Disorder. Removing the stigma of medication and mental illness is critical.

Inadequate Treatment

Over 40% of individuals who are diagnosed are not medicated, another 30% do not take their medications as prescribed, and another 30% are given one medication, which is rarely effective. More than one medication is requisite for symptom remission. A combination of lithium, mood stabilizer, anti-seizure medication, atypical antipsychotics or MAO inhibitors are most useful. The right combination of medications requires trial and error, so a short stay in a program like ours is ideal to efficiently figure out what combination is right for each individual.


Many symptoms are masked and complicated by addiction or co-occurring disorders, such as addiction, street drugs or eating disorders. An individual will be treated for chemical dependency, eating disorder, sexual addiction, or obsessive-compulsive disorder without attention to the underlying Bipolar Disorder.

Psychotherapy and Psychoeducation for Bipolar Symptoms is Inadequate

Bipolar episodes are triggered by stress, grief, trauma, work, death of a loved one or changes in relationship status, such as divorce. Thus, it is critical to involve family members and spouses in the treatment process. Individuals who live with Bipolar Disorder must learn to manage stress and conflicts in order to reduce the likelihood that their issues trigger an episode. Vulnerability to traumatic stress can be addressed to increase resilience and interrupt the cycle of Bipolar Disorder. Family members can become involved in the healing process.

Lack of knowledge of Pharmacological Differences

Understanding the pharmacological differences of each medication, so there is rational approach. Medications usually associated with treating Bipolar Disorder are Lithium, Depakote, mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) and antiseizure medications.

Mismanaging Depression

Managing the agony of severe depression to make life changes is very important in the recovery process. Depression can result in a lack of energy and contribute to suicidal ideation or self-medication through addictive behaviors.

Absence of Psychoeducation

The individuals who live with Bipolar Disorder and their families benefit from learning the chronic cause of the illness. All family members can become aware of the chronic nature of the illness and unique manifestations that each client may present.
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Bipolar Disorder Resources
Bipolar Disorder Treatment Monterey

Bipolar Disorder, often referred to as Manic-Depressive Disorder, is a brain disorder that leads to definitive shifts in energy levels and mood and interferes with the capacity to perform day-to-day functions and fulfill one’s life.

While the manic periods might invite lots of activity and a seemingly energetic, happy person; these periods are followed by a devastating decline in energy, interest in life, and feelings of despair and hopelessness, all of which can impair one’s ability to experience life in a healthy, consistent way.

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Three Kinds of Bipolar Disorders

There are three kinds of Bipolar Disorder, each involves identifiable swings in mood, energy levels, and degree of engagement. These varying moods range from periods of significant “up-ness,” seeming elation, and highly charged behavior (known as manic episodes) to very. despondent, “down,” or hopeless periods (known as depressive episodes). Less severe “up” manic periods are referred to as hypomanic episodes.

Bipolar I Disorder

Bipolar I is defined by manic episodes that last approximately seven days or are characterized by manic symptoms that are so extreme that the individual requires immediate hospitalization. Frequently, depressive episodes take place as well, oftentimes lasting at least two or so weeks. Depressive episodes with mixed features (depression and manic symptoms simultaneously) are possible as well.

Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar II is defined by a sequence of depressive and hypomanic episodes; however, they do not express a full-scale manic episode, as described above.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic Disorder (also called cyclothymia) is defined by several bursts of hypomanic symptoms as well several cycles of depressive symptoms, lasting two years or so (only one year for a child or adolescent’s diagnosis). That said, these symptoms do not meet diagnostic requirements for hypomanic nor depressive episodes.
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Signs and Symptoms

Individuals suffering bipolar disorder express periods of extraordinarily intense emotions, alterations to sleep patterns and activity levels, and can oftentimes exhibit abnormal behaviors. These definitive sequences are called “mood episodes.” Mood episodes are noticeably different from the moods and behaviors typical of the individual. Extreme changes in energy levels, activity levels, and sleep interferences go along with the mood episodes.

Manic Episodes often include:

  • Feeling super “up,” “high,” elated
  • Have a ton of energy
  • Display an increase in activity
  • Feel “jumpy” or wired
  • Struggling to sleep
  • Speaking rapidly and on a multitude of subjects
  • Agitation, irritability, heightened sensitivity
  • A mind that seems to spin out of control
  • Attempts to unsuccessfully multi-task
  • High-risk behaviors

Depressive Episodes often include:

  • Sluggish energy level
  • Decreased activity levels
  • Sleeping either too much or too little
  • Feeling nothing is enjoyable
  • Anxiety and worry
  • Inability to focus
  • Forgetfulness
  • Changes to eating patterns
  • Entertaining thoughts of suicide

A mixed-feature episode is one that includes both manic and depressive symptoms. People experiencing a mixed-feature episode may express a feeling of sadness, emptiness and hopelessness while at the same time appearing extremely energized.

Bipolar Disorder can be expressed despite mood swings that are less extreme. Some individuals with bipolar disorder can express hypomania, a less severe type of mania. During a hypomanic episode, and individual may feel good, be productive, and function pretty well. The individual may not suspect anything is wrong, but, those close may recognize the mood variations and/or changes in activity levels.


Diagnosis and Treatment

The goal of treatment is mood stability. First, we offer an assessment since most clients preset with multiple diagnoses and are different from one another, and they require individualized intervention. With the wide variety of medications such as mood stabilizers, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, it can be a complex task to determine the targeted symptoms and optimal medication regimen. Also, the side-effects need to be considered as well as minimizing and avoiding addictive substances. It is not unusual for several diagnoses to be present, such as Attention-deficit disorder, Post-traumatic Stress, Anxiety/Obsessions or Depersonalization. The importance of medication being taken consistently is emphasized.

Clients are taught to monitor their mood daily, seek support from family members, particularly those taking medication. They are taught Buddhist principles to better monitor irritability, restlessness, lack of consistent sleep, unusual eating patterns, difficulty in interpersonal relationships, expressions of anger, and the identification of external stress. They learn to quiet their mind and to be less restless and irritable, as well as learn to focus their attention.

In many cases, adequate psychotherapy can be as useful as optimal pharmacology. At Harmony Place Monterey, we help each individual find optimal balance in order to both control as well as maintain wellness and daily function.

Clients are assigned an individualized therapist, specializing in Bipolar Disorder. Family participation is often useful. Our clients are taught how to recognize warning signs and they can meet other clients with similar histories in group session, if desired. Families are taught better ways of communicating, especially those difficult or irritable issues. The goal is to provide optimal stability and minimize the stigma of the diagnosis.

Issues of Bipolar Clients include:

  • Medication management
  • Ineffective medication
  • Need for increased activation when feeling depressed
  • Recognizing signals of hypomania
  • Recognizing signs of irritability and tools for impulse control
  • Difficulty in interactions with others

Confidential Consultation

Please contact Harmony Place Monterey for a confidential consultation. We welcome your questions. Let our program help you take the necessary steps to help you or your partner, family member or friend, recover.

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