Category: Disorders

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder pic
Bipolar Disorder
Image: WebMD.com

Before completing her post-doctoral residency at the Minirth-Meier Clinic in Richardson, Texas, Dr. Grace Graham received her doctor of philosophy in clinical psychology from George Fox University. Licensed to practice by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, Dr. Grace Graham is trained to identify and treat bipolar disorder.

Formerly referred to as manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme, unpredictable mood swings ranging from euphoria to depression. Some manic symptoms of this disorder include excessive happiness, restlessness, and irritability, as well as increased energy and libido. Depressive symptoms include sadness, crying, anxiety, and exhaustion. The more severe symptoms requiring immediate medical attention include extreme fluctuation in appetite and contemplation of death. Although 10 percent to 15 percent of all patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder have taken their own lives, early diagnosis of the disorder can drastically lower the risk.

Effective treatment and management for patients suffering from bipolar disorder is commonly achieved through the combination of medication and therapy. Due to the dynamic and polarizing nature of the disease, clinicians often administer separate antipsychotic medications to manage the specific manic and depressive episodes, along with a mood stabilizer. Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is another proven form of treatment, allowing the patient to discuss thoughts, feelings, and problem-causing behaviors with the clinician.