Bipolar disorder, also known as bipolar affective disorder, manic-depressive disorder, or manic depression, is a serious illness that causes changes in mood, energy, and the ability to function. People with this disorder experience periods of a frenzied mood known as mania or manic episodes. The manic episodes can vary immensely in their level of seriousness and can range from feeling energetic, excitable, and highly productive to erratic and impulsive behavior with a distorted view of reality. Many people with bipolar disorder also experience periods of depression, but some do not. Manic and depressive episodes can last from a few days to months. Only about 4% of the population is bipolar and genetics contribute to an individual’s likelihood of developing the disorder. There is no simple test to confirm bipolar disorder and the diagnosis is often a difficult one, even for mental health professionals.
Local Experts in Bipolar
With the highs and lows that come with the diagnosis of Bipolar, it can be at the best, overwhelming. I provide a safe space to encourage you to express the feelings that come with this diagnosis, to explore the stigma that can occur, and how to manage family/friends/relationships and life. I will help you define who you are, instead of you being defined by your moods & your diagnosis.
Bipolar disorder is such a difficult, confusing, and isolating illness. Those who suffer from it feel miserably depressed, alternating with boundless energy and ideas, irritability and impulsiveness. At times, you may feel ecstatic and other times, you have no idea why you ever felt that way. I help people make sense of their moods, swings, frantic thoughts, and unravel the mess of symptoms.
Deep lows and intense highs can wreck havoc on your life. But they can also be gifts of exquisite sensitivity, a response to trauma, or/and a spiritual awakening. I am learning from friends, clients and colleagues what can be helpful. I would be honored to share what I am learning and learn from you on this journey.
Research indicates that bipolar disorder is best treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. At THRIVE, we offer both medication management and evidence-based therapies for teens and adults with bipolar disorder. Our clinic manager, Dr. Christopher Hawkey, was intensively trained in Family-Focused Therapy by the treatment developer, Dr. David Miklowitz.
Bipolar disorder is often a lifelong challenge, but it can be managed successfully, and it does not have to be a barrier to happiness or success. Outside of medication management there is a great deal that the individual can do to institute a healthy routine, monitor symptoms, and compensate for temporary impairments. I can help.
I have a family relative with bipolar disorder. Many people in my support groups are also diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I also write about bipolar disorder in my book Healing From Depression. Many of the tools and strategies that treat depression can be successfully applied to helping those with bipolar disorder.