Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health problem that causes the individual with the disorder and his or her family many difficulties.  Bipolar disorder tends to run in families and has a genetic basis.  It can be treated with medication and supportive psychotherapy.  Bipolar disorder can be an often misunderstood diagnosis and with the recent recognition of juvenile bipolar disorder, many have wondered, “do I or does my child have bipolar disorder?”  Bipolar disorder can be diagnosed by a trained professional  by assessing for the symptoms associated with the disorder.

Through medication management and the support of friends and loved ones, individuals with bipolar disorder can be successful in life.  It is often hard for the person to understand that their mental illness is not because they are not trying hard enough to control it or that it means that they are a bad person.  It is also difficult for the person’s family members not to become frustrated or feel that these problems are under the control of the individual.

When working with a client who has bipolar disorder, I help them and their family to understand the disorder and learn how to separate the person from the disorder.  I provide psychoeducation around the illness and explore ways to decrease the episodes of relapse.  A thorough assessment needs to be done to diagnose bipolar disorder as it is not a diagnosis to take lightly.

If you or a family member have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or you think you or a loved one might have bipolar disorder, we can find out what might be going on and help you make decisions about how to address it.

Symptoms of Mania/Hypomania may include:

  1. Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  2. Decreased need for sleep
  3. More talkative than usual or pressured speech
  4. Flight of ideas or racing thoughts
  5. Distractibility
  6. Increased goal directed activity
  7. Excessive activities in goal directed behaviors with a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, foolish business investments)


  1. Feeling sad or empty most of the day, nearly every day
  2. Less interest or pleasure in activities
  3. Weight loss or weight gain
  4. Problems sleeping or oversleeping
  5. Feeling physically slowed down or physically agitated
  6. Loss of energy nearly every day
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  8. Difficulty thinking and concentrating
  9. Suicidality or thoughts of death
  10. Hopelessness