When bipolar disorder first appears, it often begins with an episode of depression before cycling to a manic episode. Then bipolar depression continues to affect your life, and it may not respond well to traditional treatment. Fredesvinda Jacobs-Alvarez, MD, at Esperanza Behavioral Health and Services specializes in helping patients with bipolar depression, which includes offering safe, effective, and cutting-edge treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation. If you need help with bipolar depression, call the office in Orlando, Florida, or book an appointment online.
A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs. The exact cause of bipolar disorder isn’t known, but a combination of genetics, environment, and altered brain structure and chemistry may play a role.
Manic episodes may include symptoms such as high energy, reduced need for sleep, and loss of touch with reality. Depressive episodes may include symptoms such as low energy, low motivation, and loss of interest in daily activities.
Mood episodes last days to months at a time and may also be associated with suicidal thoughts. Treatment is usually lifelong and often involves a combination of medications and psychotherapy.
Bipolar disorder varies in its severity and frequency, which is reflected in the three primary types of bipolar disorder:
When you have bipolar I disorder, you have at least one full-blown manic episode that’s preceded or followed by an episode of major depression.
Patients with bipolar II disorder have one or more episodes of major depression and at least one hypomanic episode. Hypomania has the same symptoms as mania, but they’re less severe and don’t affect your daily functioning.
In bipolar I and bipolar II, you may also have mixed features, which means you have depression and mania or hypomania at the same time.
In this type of bipolar disorder, you have many periods of depressive symptoms and hypomanic symptoms. However, your symptoms do not meet the diagnostic criteria for a major depressive or hypomanic episode.
When you have bipolar disorder, you experience recurring mood swings with changes in your energy level, thinking, and behavior.
These characteristic mood swings cycle between episodes of high energy, called mania, and low energy or depression. When depression is part of bipolar mood swings, it’s called bipolar depression.
Bipolar depression has the same symptoms as unipolar types of depression, such as major depressive disorder. The difference between the two is that people with unipolar depression do not experience the mood swings to mania.
Antidepressants aren’t the first choice of treatment for bipolar depression because they can trigger mania or cause rapid cycling between manic and depressive episodes.
The first line of treatment for bipolar disorder includes mood stabilizers such as lithium, antipsychotic medications, and psychotherapy. Although these treatments can improve bipolar depression, symptoms may persist in some patients.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and need help with depression, or you want an assessment to determine the cause of your symptoms, call Esperanza Behavioral Health and Services or book an appointment online.