Bipolar Disorder

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder describes extremely intense periods of emotion that can change unexpectedly.

Although bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition, you’ve likely heard it used flippantly to describe someone who changes their mind frequently. Maybe you’ve heard someone say, “Yesterday, Jenny was complaining that we never invite her anywhere, but then she didn’t want to go to dinner with us tonight. She’s so bipolar!” or “Everything seemed fine when I left this morning, but when I got home from work, Sam seemed really mad for no reason. He’s acting bipolar again.” Neither of these examples are true cases of bipolar disorder, and the misuse of the term does a disservice to those who suffer from this debilitating condition.

Bipolar disorder describes extremely intense periods of emotion that can change unexpectedly. Extremely “high” periods, marked by increased energy, rapid speech, and reckless behavior, are known as manic episodes. Extremely “low” periods, marked by feelings of hopelessness, difficulty sleeping, exhaustion, and suicidal thoughts, are known as depressive episodes.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Bipolar Disorder

There are four basic types of bipolar disorder. Bipolar I disorder is marked by manic episodes that last 7 days or more and, in most cases, depressive episodes that usually last 2 weeks or more. Bipolar II disorder has a similar pattern of “highs” and “lows,” but the “highs” aren’t quite as extreme as manic episodes and are instead called hypomanic episodes. Cyclothymic disorder is marked by a display of hypomanic and depressive symptoms that last for at least 2 years but don’t qualify as full-blown hypomanic/depressive episodes. Individuals who display symptoms of bipolar disorder without falling into one of these three categories have an unspecified bipolar and related disorder.

Manic episodes are extreme emotional “highs,” marked by symptoms such as:

  • Acting especially “jumpy” or “wired”
  • High levels of energy
  • Agitation
  • Euphoria or exaggerated self-confidence
  • Decrease in sleep
  • Extremely talkative behavior
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Making risky/poor decisions
  • Psychosis

In order to classify as a manic episode (rather than a hypomanic episode), the symptoms must inhibit the individual from functioning normally at work, school, and in social situations.

A depressive episode is marked by several of the below symptoms and makes it difficult or impossible for the individual to continue participating in work, school, and normal daily activities:

  • Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, or sadness
  • Loss of interest or inability to take pleasure in usual activities
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty sleeping (too little or too much)
  • Restlessness or sluggish behavior
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts or tendencies

If you exhibit signs of bipolar disorder alongside the signs of substance abuse or addiction, you may have a “dual diagnosis” of both disorders. In other words, you suffer from these two conditions simultaneously, which can make it even harder to achieve sobriety and health. Treatment centers that offer dual diagnosis can assess, recognize, and treat both disorders at the same time to increase your chances of a successful recovery.

At Hawaiian Island Recovery, these two disorders are treated simultaneously. Treatment plans include one-on-one psychotherapy sessions, group therapy sessions, and experiential and holistic therapies—all administered within the framework of a 12-step program.

How Hawaii Island Recovery Can Help You Recover from Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Hawaii Island Recovery offers dual diagnosis, so men and women suffering from both bipolar disorder and addiction (or a behavioral disorder) can receive treatment for both at the same time. Our multi-disciplinary, integrative treatment approach combines evidence-based therapies (such as CBT) with experiential and holistic therapies (such as wild dolphin assisted therapy). All treatment plans are designed and administered by licensed therapists within the framework of a 12-step program. Our holistic approach guides residents towards healing of the body, mind, and spirit.

To find out more about how we can help you or your loved one recover from bipolar disorder and a co-occurring addiction,

Call Us Today: 866-390-5070