Treating Bipolar Depression—Counselors and Therapists in Alexandria, VA
After a tough few months, Melissa is finally doing better. Much better, in fact. Her ex-fianceé had broken up with her after some reckless choices. He said he did not trust her. That was almost a year ago, and she was depressed for a long time, but now it seems like her mind will not stop. She is working full-time at a downtown boutique, and she joined a band. Melissa has practice or a gig every night. Her friends have said they are concerned about how much she has taken on, but Melissa feels fantastic. In fact, she goes out with the band almost every night and parties until early in the morning.
Melissa might feel great now, but her friends are right to be concerned. Melissa has Bipolar Depression, and she is in a manic phase. Soon, she could crash into a depression again.
Bipolar Depression may feel like a scary term, and to those who are suffering without a diagnosis, the disruption Bipolar Disorder bring into people’s lives is scary. However, Bipolar Depression has effective treatments, and many people are navigating this illness with the help of their therapist.
Thriveworks Alexandria offers therapy for Bipolar Depression. We understand the social, emotional, and physical support someone who is fighting Bipolar needs, and our therapists have helped many clients find the help they need to live their lives.
Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
Sometimes, Bipolar Depression is called manic depression because people experience abrupt swings in their mood, often moving quickly from a normal mood to an intense depression or an intense mania.
To be considered a depressive episode, people must experience a depressed mood as described by themselves or others as sad, weepy, or empty, a significant loss of interest in any activity as well as three of the following:
- Substantial changes in their weight or appetite (e.g., significant weight gain or complete loss of interest in food).
- Inability to concentrate or make decisions.
- Daily disruptions in sleep—insomnia or hypersomnia (e.g., not being able to sleep or sleeping all the time).
- Loss of energy and stamina.
- Slowed or intensified psychomotor activity (e.g., heightened pacing or foot tapping, slowed speech or body movement).
- Excessive, even delusional, feelings of worthlessness and guilt.
- Repetitive thoughts of dying, including suicide idealization.
These depressive symptoms, to meet the criteria for Bipolar Disorder, must last most of the day, every day for a period of two weeks.
The stereotype of Bipolar Disorder is that manic episodes are euphoric, but in reality, people who have Bipolar often experience the manic episode as irritability. The following are criteria for a manic episode according to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
- Experiencing a persistent and abnormal expansive or irritable state of mind for at least one week.
- During this period, three of the following symptoms must be displayed if the mood is euphoric and four must be displayed if the mood is irritable:
- Inflated sense of one’s own grandiosity or exaggerated self-esteem.
- Needing less sleep to function (e.g., waking rested after 2 hours of sleep).
- Increasingly talkative—more than usual.
- Racing thoughts.
- Feeling distracted (e.g., one’s attention being captured by unimportant or irrelevant thoughts).
- Increasing one’s personal or professional goal-directed activity (e.g., planning excessively).
- Involvement in risky or potentially painful activities (e.g., shopping sprees, sexual indiscretions, or unwise professional decisions).
- These disturbances must be severe enough to cause disruption in an individual’s personal or professional life, to necessitate hospitalization as a precaution for harm, or cause psychotic episodes.
- The episode cannot be attributable to a substance’s physiological effects.
Many people may see Bipolar Depression as a single diagnosis, but there are different versions of the illness. What most people consider Bipolar Disorder is actually Bipolar I. Bipolar II is a form of Bipolar Depression wherein people experience hypomania instead of a full manic episode. Hypomania can be less severe in duration and in its symptoms; however, people with Bipolar II often experience longer and more severe symptoms of depression. Within Bipolar I and Bipolar II, there are even more specific diagnoses that a mental health professional can determine. Finding the right diagnosis is important because the right diagnosis can lead to the right treatment.
Living with Bipolar Depression
Bipolar depression is a serious mental illness that requires a mental health professional’s care and oversight for treatment. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed, work closely with your therapist for a treatment plan. Beyond what your therapist may recommend, here are a few
1. Pursue Education. The information you have just read is a great start, but continue to learn about your diagnosis. Ask your therapist for resources, and begin to notice how your illness might be aligning with certain symptoms.
2. Cultivate Support. No one should have to conquer Bipolar alone. Continue to lean upon a professional therapist’s guidance, but also seek out other forms of support. There may be support groups that provide a safe place to share. Consider which family members and friends you feel comfortable sharing about the diagnosis.
3. Be active. Activity can be both social and physical. It might be tempting to withdrawal socially, but going out with friends or opening up to a loved one can go a long way for healing. So can finding a way to be physically active. Think about what you enjoy and pursue it.
Treatment for Bipolar Depression with Thriveworks Alexandria
The counselors and therapists at Thriveworks Alexandria have extensive training and experience in treating Bipolar Depression, and we are ready to help you.
When you call our office, know that you may have your first appointment within 24 hours. We do not keep waitlists, but we do offer weekend and evening appointments. We also work with most major insurance companies.
Contact Thriveworks Alexandria today.