A Steps Recovery Center
Steps Recovery Center recognizes how vital the mind, body, and spirit are in their connection to the whole person. We take a holistic approach to treating bipolar disorder that includes treating the whole person, and find that it tends to be more successful, especially since mental illness affects every aspect of a person’s life. With a customized and individualized program, a holistic approach just makes sense. It affords an opportunity to meet the patient’s physical and psychological needs and allows them to engage physically, emotionally, and mentally. What used to be referred to as manic depression has now been labeled as bipolar disorder, meaning your emotions are like a rollercoaster with extreme highs and lows. The disorder has phases, from mild to severe, and vary from person-to-person. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that can be controlled with various methods.
The Science Behind BipolarThere are two neurotransmitters in the brain that can play a role in developing bipolar disorder: serotonin and dopamine.
SerotoninThis chemical is released by nerve cells in your brain, which acts as a messenger to control your moods. When the levels of serotonin decrease, it can cause a dip in your mood. Too severe of a drop, and it can cause depression to set in.
DopamineAssociated with the regulation of thoughts and emotions, as well as helping control movements in the body, a decrease in the neurotransmitter, dopamine, can slow movement and motivation. On the other hand, high levels of the chemical can result in mania or increased movement and motivation. When both of these chemicals swing wildly from one extreme to the other, it results in bipolar disorder, which has different phases.
Bipolar PhasesThere are four types of mood disorders within bipolar: mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes. However, there are two main phases of bipolar disorder, which includes bipolar mania or hypomania and depression.
Bipolar or Hypomania – The symptoms associated with this phase include:
- Euphoria or irritability
- Inflated self-esteem
- Excessive talk (rambling) or racing thoughts
- Increased energy and activity
- Abnormal energy and less need for sleep
- Impulsiveness and a reckless pursuit of gratification that includes shopping sprees, more and sometimes promiscuous sex, impetuous travel, fast driving, or high-risk investments.
Bipolar Depression/Major Depression – These symptoms included with these phases are:
- Sadness, loneliness, guilt, or helplessness
- Slow speech, fatigue, and poor concentration
- Low energy levels and apathy
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Suicidal thoughts and feelings
- Poor concentration
- Depressed mood and low self-esteem
- Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
Causes and TriggersBipolar disorder can’t be tied to one cause. It appears that some people can be genetically predisposed to it, but not everyone who has that issue will develop the disorder. Brain imaging shows physical changes in the brains of people with bipolar, with some research pointing to chemical imbalances, abnormal thyroid function, circadian rhythm disturbances, and increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Some triggers include:
- Substance abuse
- Seasonal changes
- Sleep disturbances or deprivation