Conditions we treat

Bipolar Disorder

Swinging between high highs and low lows can have a dramatic impact on people, their families, and their lives. Our goal is to help you find balance so that you can live the life you want.

how & why

Our highly trained, compassionate clinicians are here to help.

Life has its ups and downs. Everyone has days where they feel up and full of energy, ready to take on challenges and try new things, and days where they feel low, and it’s hard to get through the day. A variety of factors influence a person’s mood and ability to function in day-to-day life, but for people with bipolar disorder, these shifts are extreme.

Although it is relatively common – an estimated 1 in 100 people will be diagnosed with bipolar disorder at some point in their life – there is still a great deal of stigma and misinformation surrounding bipolar disorder.

If you believe that you or someone you care about might be suffering from Bipolar Disorder, you are not alone. Keep reading to learn more about:

  • What is Bipolar Disorder?
  • What isn’t Bipolar Disorder?
  • What causes Bipolar Disorder?
  • What are common signs and symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
  • How is Bipolar Disorder treated?

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please contact emergency services or reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s free, confidential, 24/7 national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for immediate assistance.

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What is 

Bipolar Disorder


Bipolar Disorder (sometimes referred to as Manic Depression) is a condition that causes dramatic shifts in mood and ability to function. People with Bipolar Disorder experience periods of high energy and impulsivity (mania) as well as periods of low mood and lethargy (depression). Unlike mood swings, these episodes can last weeks or even months.

There are two types of Bipolar Disorder:

  • Bipolar I: This is the more severe form of Bipolar Disorder. Manic episodes last at least 7 days, and depressive episodes last at least 14 days. People who experience shorter episodes may also be diagnosed with Bipolar I if their episodes are so severe that they require hospitalization.
  • Bipolar II: Involves a pattern of depressive episodes and “hypomanic” episodes. Hypomanic episodes are “up” periods, but they are not as extreme as full-blown manic episodes as are common in Bipolar I.

What isn't 

Bipolar Disorder


Bipolar Disorder is often portrayed in pop culture, but it is rarely portrayed accurately. “Bipolar” characters are often simply ones whose moods change quickly. Sometimes these characters are depicted as completely insane. Not only is this a simplification of the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, it also misrepresents Bipolar Disorder in a way that paints the condition as mere mood swings.

Like depression, Bipolar Disorder is a serious mood disorder that can be fatal if left untreated. Misrepresentations of Bipolar Disorder are dangerous because they add to the stigma surrounding Bipolar and other mood disorders, which can make life harder for those living with the condition and prevent people who need help from seeking it.

Types of 

Bipolar Disorder

What are the signs and symptoms of 

Bipolar Disorder


Bipolar Disorder is characterized by periods of mania as well as periods of depression. The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder depend on what kind of episode a person is experiencing.

Symptoms of manic episodes include:

  • Feeling abnormally alert, jumpy, or wired
  • Increased energy or agitation
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • Easily distracted
  • Exaggerated sense of well-being or confidence
  • Impulsive or risk-taking behavior

Symptoms of depressive episodes include:

  • Feeling sad, empty, or hopeless
  • Change in eating or sleeping habits
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Feelings of guilt, shame, or worthlessness
  • Decreased ability to think or concentrate
  • Suicidal ideation

Some people with Bipolar Disorder – particularly Bipolar II in which manic episodes are not as pronounced – may initially be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.

Learn more about depression causes, symptoms, and treatments >>

Who can develop 

Bipolar Disorder


What causes 

Bipolar Disorder


Bipolar Disorder is a complex mental health condition, and a variety of factors affect an individual’s risk of developing it. The exact causes of Bipolar Disorder are unknown, but it is likely caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Genetic Causes of Bipolar Disorder

Research suggests that people who have an immediate relative – such as a parent or sibling – with Bipolar Disorder are more likely to develop Bipolar Disorder themselves. We have not isolated a particular gene that causes Bipolar Disorder, but it does have a tendency to run in a family.

Biological Causes of Bipolar Disorder

People with Bipolar Disorder have differences in biological structures in their brains compared to people who do not have Bipolar Disorder. More research needs to be conducted as to the significance of these physical differences.

Environmental Causes of Bipolar Disorder

First episodes of Bipolar Disorder can be triggered by environmental factors, such as experiencing a traumatic event or going through a period of high stress.

Psychological Causes of Bipolar Disorder

Individuals who have trouble coping with stress or indulge in risk-taking behaviors could be more likely to react to environmental factors that might trigger a bipolar episode. Drug and alcohol use can also trigger the first episode of the disorder.

How is 

Bipolar Disorder


As with many mental health conditions, Bipolar Disorder treatment can include a number of components that work together to alleviate symptoms. Treatment for Bipolar Disorder could include:

  • Medication. Medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and sleeping medicine can help relieve symptoms of Bipolar Disorder.
  • Therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other types of therapy can help people with Bipolar Disorder cope with the high highs and low lows of their condition.

Managing the two, opposite sets of symptoms associated with Bipolar Disorder can be challenging. Contact one of our mental health specialists today to take control of your mental health and find balance in your life.

At Transformations Care Network, we are dedicated to helping people in our communities access life-changing mental health care. If you believe that you are experiencing a mood disorder like Bipolar Disorder, contact us today to learn what our compassionate care providers can do for you.