"Bipolar" is a term often loosely used to describe people whose disposition and/or mood-swings vary from "hot" to "cold."
The clinical definition and symptoms of bipolar disorder are similar to the popular use of the term. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a condition in which someone experiences alternating periods of highs (mania) and lows (depression).
These alternating moods associated with bipolar disorder differ from the usual ups and downs everyone experiences. Bipolar disorder can negatively affect a person's job performance, relationships and daily functioning. While symptoms of bipolar disorder are typically easy to identify, the cause of the condition is usually linked to a combination of factors.
"More than 50 percent of patients have something other than bipolar disorder, such as substance abuse, anxiety disorder or panic disorder," said Himasiri DeSilva, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist and medical director of Behavioral Health Services at
St. Joseph Hospital, Orange.
Other causes of bipolar disorder can include genetic factors, brain structure and brain functioning. It's important for patients to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with the different episodic periods of bipolar disorder, Dr. DeSilva said.
There are four main types of bipolar disorder categorized by the duration and pattern of manic and depressive episodes. Patients are diagnosed with bipolar disorder if their symptoms are significantly different than their normal moods and behaviors. Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, treatment options are available. The behavioral health experts at St. Joseph Hospital, Orange help patients develop new skills to effectively manage their bipolar disorder through the Bipolar Track program.
"The Bipolar Track program is a partial hospitalization program that provides patients comprehensive and personalized treatment five days a week. This program offers an alternative to patients who do not require inpatient hospitalization or 24-hour nursing care," Dr. DeSilva said.
The Bipolar Track covers a wide range of topics to help patients cope with every aspect of bipolar disorder, including family education.
"Bipolar disorder is manageable and it is possible to live a healthy, fulfilling life with the right treatment," Dr. DeSilva said.
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