Bipolar Disorder Therapy | Center for Growth Therapy

Bipolar Disorder Therapy

Alex , CAS, MSW, ACSW, LCSW — Founder & executive director

Bipolar Disorder Therapy In Philadelphia:

Life’s little ups and downs are just that – part of life. Everyone has good days, and everyone has those unpleasant, not so good days. Sometimes this is brought on by outside events. Maybe you saw a friend unexpectedly, so you feel happy. Maybe your alarm didn’t go off and made you late, so right away you started out your day in a bad mood. There are biological causes as well, such as feeling short-tempered and snappy when you haven’t had enough sleep. And sometimes, our moods occur without any apparent reason at all. Daily and even hourly changes in mood are something that everyone experiences, and for the most part it’s just the result of how the complex human brain interacts with day-to-day life.

It is normal to have changes in mood over almost any period of time, no matter how short. However, maybe you don’t experience these changes as a gradual movement that seems to fit reasonably into your life. Maybe for you, the highs feel higher, the lows feel lower, and you experience all your mood levels in a very intense way. Maybe your changes in mood feel drastic, abrupt, and are not really brought on by outside events. Maybe your mood swings feel less like a swing, and more like a roller coaster.

If this sounds like you, don’t write it off by saying “I’m just an emotional person.” You should know that these feelings, periods of intense highs alternating with periods of intense lows and sudden shifts in between, may actually be the symptoms of a common mental disorder. It is called Bipolar Disorder, sometimes referred to as Manic-Depressive Disorder, and it affects millions of Americans every year. Many more people may never be diagnosed because they don’t take their situation seriously enough, and they don’t think that “mood swings” are important enough to talk about with a professional. But Bipolar Disorder is a real medical condition. Having Bipolar Disorder doesn’t mean that you are worth any less as a person, and it is not the result of a personality flaw – if you develop Bipolar Disorder, you couldn’t have helped in any more than you could helping catching the flu. However, like the flu, once you recognize that you don’t feel right, you can begin taking steps to recovery. The initial recognition, using self-assessment to understand if you are going through something more severe than just mood swings, is the most important part. Before writing off how you feel, ask yourself the questions below.

WHEN I FEEL GOOD, DO I…

* Feel restless and fidgety, and seem to have too much excess energy?
* Feel not just happy or pleasant, but have a surge of euphoria?
* Feel “sped up,” talking too fast and jumping from one idea to the next?
* Tend to overestimate myself and my abilities?
* Act impulsive, rushing into things that I normally wouldn’t do, or would at least think about first?
* Have an increased desire for sex or mood-altering substances, such as drugs or alcohol?
* Fell irritated when others can’t keep up or try to calm me down?
* Have difficulty focusing?
* Feel overly confident and even aggressive?
* Seem unable to accurately evaluate situations and make sound decisions?
* Feel like I don’t need sleep?

WHEN I FEEL BAD, DO I…

* Feel lethargic and tired?
* Seem unable to get interested in things I normally enjoy?
* Feel depressed, hopeless, and pessimistic for long periods of time?
* Feel “slowed down” and exhausted?
* Experience guilt and feelings of being worthless?
* Have little desire for sex?
* Have difficulty focusing?
* Experience abnormal sleep of eating patterns?
* Seem to be full of aches and pains for no reason?
* Sometimes contemplate suicide?

If you answered yes to these questions, don’t ignore how you feel! Bipolar Disorder is not just being in a good or bad mood, and you can’t just shrug it off or snap out of it. It is a mental imbalance, and you shouldn’t “just let it go” any more than you would ignore something like a broken bone, or food poisoning. And remember that admitting you have a problem is NOT admitting defeat – in fact, it’s the exact opposite. By recognizing that something is wrong and recognizing a need for change, you are actually moving away from being overcome by the disease and taking steps toward recovery. If you think you might be experiencing Bipolar Disorder, you should go see a professional right away, because with treatment, even people with severe Bipolar Disorder can live a normal, happy life. A doctor or psychiatrist can evaluate you and rule out environmental causes for the way you feel, and can discuss your options for medications. You should also contact a therapist. Many Bipolar patients are very responsive to therapy and report improved stability after only a short time. In addition, a therapist is someone who understands what you are going through, has the experience and training to help, and overall is someone that you can talk to.

There are even things you can do on your own to help reduce the abruptness and intensity of your mood shifts and help you get more in control of how you feel. The most important part is to remember that you are not to blame for how you feel – Bipolar Disorder is a real medical condition, not a personality flaw or a sign or lacking self-control. The next thing you can do is regularly practice any activities your therapist teaches you, such as self-monitoring and cognitive techniques. In your own time, you may find deep breathing exercises, meditation, or slow exercises like Tai Chi or Yoga to be helpful in feeling in control of your emotions and staying focused. If you feel comfortable with the social interaction, there are also many support groups available to people who are coping with or recovering from Bipolar Disorder. There are many things that you can do, both on your own and with the help of professionals, to alleviate your emotional unhappiness. Remember that there is treatment available, and people who are willing to help. You deserve a life where you can be calm and confident, but only you can take the first step toward recovery by recognizing how you feel.

Are you struggling with Bipolar? Help is available. Call 215-922-5683 Ext. 100 to reach Center for Growth/Bipolar Disorder treatment in Philadelphia. We offer Bipolar Disorder Therapy in Philadelphia, PA, Ocean City, NJ, Richmond, VA and Santa Fe, NM, in addition to virtual therapy in both Georgia and Florida.

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