Capstone Psychological Services

Treatment Approach

People with Bipolar Disorder usually need to take medication, such as a mood stabilizer. But CBT is often used as an added treatment. CBT can help a person cope with bipolar symptoms and learn to recognize when a mood shift is about to occur. CBT also helps a person with bipolar disorder stick with a treatment plan to reduce the chances of relapse. Treatment will also focus on identifying the types of thought patterns that contribute to a person feeling "out of control," and give the client the tools to manage their emotions, regardless of the intensity of the feelings.

National Institute of Mental Health Link

Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes extreme shifts in mood and causes unusual or atypical patterns of behavior. s. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are often severe and are different from the normal mood swings that people can experience from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicidal ideation. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

Bipolar disorder is not easy to spot when it starts. The symptoms may seem like separate problems, not recognized as parts of a larger problem. Some people suffer for years before they are properly diagnosed and treated. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person's life.

What are the signs and symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

People with bipolar disorder experience unusually intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called "mood episodes." An overly joyful or overexcited state is called a manic episode, and an extremely sad or hopeless state is called a depressive episode. Sometimes, a mood episode includes symptoms of both mania and depression. This is called a mixed state. People with bipolar disorder also may be explosive and irritable during a mood episode.

Extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep, and behavior go along with these changes in mood. It is possible for someone with bipolar disorder to experience a long-lasting period of unstable moods rather than discrete episodes of depression or mania.

(National Institute of Mental Health)

Bipolar Disorder

Lauren Stevenson, PsyD., Director
Pasadena, CA