Bipolar disorder is a form of mental illness that involves episodes of severe depression alternating with episodes of mania. Both types of episodes cause significant mood disturbances and behavior changes that impact the patient’s life in many ways. At Minds In Balance Psychiatry in Peoria, Arizona, Michelle Zyla, APRN, PMHNP-BC, diagnoses bipolar disorder and offers a range of treatment options. Call the office to schedule a consultation, or use the online booking form to get started.

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What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar is a common but serious mental disorder that causes severe mood swings. If you have bipolar disorder, you’ll experience highs (mania or hypomania) where you feel particularly full of energy and happiness. You may even be able to go without much sleep.

You’ll also experience lows (depression), feeling hopeless, empty, or lose pleasure in activities you enjoy. Episodes of extreme mood swings can happen only rarely or occur several times each year.

Are there different types of bipolar disorder?

There are several different types of bipolar disorder:

Bipolar I disorder

You’ve had at least one manic episode that may be preceded or followed by hypomanic or major depressive episodes. Mania may sometimes trigger a break from reality (psychosis).

Bipolar II disorder

You’ve had at least one major depressive episode and one hypomanic episode, but you’ve never had a manic episode.

Cyclothymic disorder

You’ve had at least two years — or one year in children and teenagers — of many periods of hypomania and depressive symptoms, though less severe than major depression.

Other types

These include bipolar and related disorders induced by certain drugs or alcohol or due to a medical condition, such as Cushing’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or stroke.

What causes bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder may also have genetic causes. For example, if you have a relative with this disorder, you may be more likely to develop it yourself.

Other risk factors for bipolar disorder include periods of high stress and drug or alcohol use.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

During periods of low mood, bipolar disorder symptoms include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

During periods of high mood, you may experience:

  • Extreme euphoria
  • Increased activity
  • Unusual amounts of energy
  • Racing thoughts
  • Talkativeness
  • Poor judgment

You may also experience exaggerated self-confidence during periods of high mood.

What treatments are available for bipolar disorder?

Most patients with bipolar disorder need at least one type of medication to control symptoms and prevent severe mood swings.

Your Minds In Balance Psychiatry provider, Michelle, may prescribe mood stabilizers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, or anti-anxiety medications. Counseling and psychotherapy can also be beneficial.

If you have bipolar disorder, you’ll likely need lifelong treatment. Although you may feel better while on medication, you shouldn’t stop taking it, as symptoms usually return.

To learn more, call Minds In Balance Psychiatry to schedule a consultation or request one online.