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Bipolar Disorder: How to Keep Your Mood in Check with Counseling

Bipolar Disorder: How to Keep Your Mood in Check with Counseling


Bipolar Disorder: How to Keep Your Mood in Check

with Counseling


Do you often find yourself doing things impulsively—walking out on a job, maxing out a credit card, or engaging in risky behaviors—only to loathe yourself and spend days in distress afterwards? Are you often confused about what to make of your mood swings from down and depressed to manic or euphoric?

While not every mood swing indicates bipolar disorder, if they are affecting your life to a great extent, it is proactive to get a professional diagnosis. Bipolar disorder is a condition that is not easy to recognize and is often misdiagnosed. Untreated, the manic and depressive episodes can get worse and more extreme. Proper diagnosis by an experienced emotional health provider is vital to obtain treatment.


Bipolar Disorder: What Is It?

Bipolar disorder is a serious emotional condition that, according to Healthline, is characterized by “extreme shifts in moods, energy and functioning.”  It is also called manic-depressive disorder and manic depression because of the two characteristic phases of the condition: mania/hypomania and depression.

Mood changes are normal, but a person with bipolar disorder experiences frequent and extreme mood swings that potentially impair their day-to-day functioning. In between mood swings, however, they can function like any normal person.  

Bipolar disorder is also more prevalent than you think. According to Healthline, there are about 2.3 million Americans with the condition, while NIMH says about 5.7 million American adults are affected. Though the condition is found in all ages, “the median age of onset for bipolar disorder is 25 years” (NIMH); it can also start early in “childhood or as late as the 40s and 50s.”


Can It Be Avoided?

The actual cause of bipolar disorder is still not clear, but “more than two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder have at least one close relative with the illness or with unipolar major depression, indicating that the disease has a heritable component “ (NIMH). This is why it is widely believed to have a genetic link—NCAN, ODZ4, and CACNA1C genes.

Though it can run in families, one case in the family does not mean that the other members are all predisposed to it. As with depression, there are other factors, both environmental and biological, that may contribute to the development of bipolar disorder.

Current research using brain-imaging tools shows that the brain’s structure and functioning can also significantly influence the development of the condition. Those with bipolar disorder generally have a smaller, less functional prefrontal cortex. This brain structure is known to perform “executive functions,” such as decision-making and problem solving.

It is also widely held that frequent exposure to high stress, substance abuse, trauma, and other chronic health issues can make a person more vulnerable to the condition.


The Basic Types and Phases of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is not easy to recognize. One reason is because it has four fundamental types with varying symptoms and severity. The other reason is because the condition has two phases—manic and depressive. 

  • The most severe or extreme type is Bipolar I Disorder. (2) Bipolar II Disorder is often misdiagnosed as depression; it is a separate condition with less severe episodes of depression and an almost unrecognizable form of hypomania. (3) Cyclothymic Disorder or cyclothymia manifests less severe but numerous episodes of hypomania and depression. (4) The last type is what NIMH calls “Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders,” which include all those with symptoms that do not match the first three types.
  • The manic or hypomania phase of the condition is generally characterized as feeling super-charged or high-energy even with little sleep. The increased energy is often manifested in racing thoughts, exceptional talkativeness, inflated self-esteem, and spending sprees. (2) On the other hand, the depressive phase manifests as extreme sadness that is reflected in irrepressible crying, anxiety, social withdrawal, unwarranted guilt, and loss of interest or pleasure in activities, things, or people they used to enjoy.


Managing the Symptoms with Therapy

Bipolar disorder can make your life miserable through the disruptive effects of hypomania and the distressing symptoms of depression. Many have turned to risky behaviors in confusion or in an effort to understand and control their intense emotions. There is a better alternative for you— seek help from Carolina Counseling Services – Pittsboro, NC.

If you call Carolina Counseling Services – Pittsboro, NC, a contracted therapist can help you keep your moods in check by adhering to a treatment plan. Many people have successfully done it; you can too. While you may not be a literary genius like Edgar Allan Poe, a leading post-impressionist painter like Vincent van Gogh, a celebrated social reformer like Florence Nightingale, or an A-list actor like Catherine Zeta-Jones, you too can experience great productivity at the height of your hypomania while managing your “downs” well. Find out how to make the best of your mood swings with a little help. Call now.


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Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Chatham, Alamance, Durham, Harnett, Lee, Moore, Orange, Randolph, Wake, NC
Areas: Pittsboro NC, Gulf NC, Hickory Mountain NC, Hadley NC, Siler City NC, Wilsonville NC, Fearrington NC, Mandale NC, Bear Creek NC, Albright NC
Zip Codes: 27312, 27344, 27207, 27228, 27256, 27559


Gail Gustafson, MSW, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 9+) Adolescents and Adults, Individuals, Couples and Families. PTSD/Trauma, EMDR, Adoption, Drug/Alcohol/Substance Abuse addiction, Anxiety, Depression, Bi-polar, Life Transitions, Grief and Loss, Parenting, Family, couples and marriage counseling.
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