Bipolar Disorder: What You Need To Know

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:










Bipolar is a common primary mental health disorder and co-occurring disorder with substance abuse.

Bipolar Is Defined By Depression And Mania

Everyone has “mood swings”. As human beings, we all have a broad spectrum of emotions which we can feel in extreme or minimal ways. Chemically, we have a baseline. Whether we are feeling up or whether we are feeling down, we stay relatively close to that baseline. For those with bipolar, they skew far beyond the baseline. Their ups and downs are mania and depression, going to the most extreme of up and down they can go. A bipolar brain is chemically imbalanced, unable to regularly process and regulate emotions. Occasional experiences of mania and depression is not what defines bipolar. Specifically, according to the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, depression has to last at least two weeks, which is promptly followed by mania. Mania has to last at least seven days and include a significantly higher energy and mood than what was present during the depressive episode. Weeks on end of depression and mania, then a sudden shift between the two is more than just “mood swings”. The bipolarity of bipolar disorder can feel like having multiple personalities and being completely out of control of one’s emotional self.

Depression And Mania Are As Different As They Sound

However, depression and mania may not act exactly as one would expect them to. Mania can include high risk behaviors, ruminating thoughts, high energy, and started projects. Insomnia, substance abuse, promiscuous sex, high spirit and feelings of invincibility are common in manic episodes. Feeling as though they can take on the world, someone with bipolar might make rash decisions and investments, or start initiatives with big plans behind them. Unfortunately, their ideas will not come to fruition. They will fall into a depressed state, where they will lament the loss of their high energy and all the plans which didn’t mature. Depression in bipolar is often a mourning of mania, and mania is often a celebration of not feeling depressed.

Treatment For Bipolar Is Possible

Often, there are underlying causes to bipolar, stemming from childhood trauma or experience which was a “bipolar” situation in and of itself. Treatment and therapy for bipolar disorder helps clients discover their triggers, what sets them in the direction of extreme emotions, and what can get them back on track. Us of cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy creates a new set of tools for managing and articulating emotions in a healthy way.


If you or a loved one are in need of residential care for bipolar disorder, Avalon By The Sea has programs you can trust. As one of California’s only primary mental health care facilities, we provide trusted results in healing mind, body, and spirit, while creating a lifetime of recovery. For a confidential assessment, call us today at 888-958-7511.

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