Bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness that causes extreme fluctuations in an individual’s ability to function. These people will experience dramatic emotional highs and dramatic emotional lows, alternating between the two without warning. Bipolar disorder can cause those suffering from it to struggle with significant impairment in most, if not all, aspects of their lives. While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, with proper treatment, the symptoms can be successfully managed and people with this illness can go on to lead productive and successful lives.
At our treatment facility near Atlanta, Georgia, we recognize the concern you may feel over the inability to predict exactly when a manic or depressive episode may occur. We understand that it probably takes a heavy toll on you as you struggle with feeling a sense of loss over the ability to control your own thoughts and emotions. Since each individual’s pattern of cycling may be different from others, you may feel as though there is no one who will ever be able to understand you or what you are going through. This can leave you feeling increasingly anxious, stressed, and somewhat hopeless. At our facility, we will work with you to identify the best options for controlling your symptoms and help you get started on the path towards living the life you want to live.
Why You Should Consider Treatment at Riverwoods near Atlanta, GA
If you are suffering from bipolar disorder, you are likely to feel a sense of apprehension about what your future may hold. You may fear what overwhelming emotions you will face each day and may go through periods of anxiety at what behaviors you will partake in as part of those emotions. You may feel hopeless that there is nothing you can do to regain control of your own mind. Yet you do not have to continue feeling this way.
Our hospital for bipolar disorder is located near Atlanta in Riverdale, Georgia and we pride ourselves on doing everything possible to ensure we are doing what is best for every patient that we treat. We understand that many of the people in your life may not understand your different moods, along with the thoughts and behaviors that result from those moods. We also recognize that the symptoms of bipolar disorder may not be the only difficulties from which you suffer. We are aware of the wide variety of co-occurring disorders that often go along with bipolar disorder but also the numerous other types of problems and stressors that life can often hold for people. Thus, one of our other primary goals is to continuously reassess your stages of progress so that we can see where you are at, how far you are coming, and how comfortable you feel with the treatment you are receiving as a whole.
We also want to know about any coping strategies you may have identified that are effective in helping with any aspect of those areas of your life that are difficult for you. While our staff is thoroughly trained to help you on your path to healing, at the same time we recognize that you are our richest source of information regarding the multitude of qualities that reside within you.
Our Facility Philosophy and Benefits
At our hospital for bipolar disorder, we strongly believe that ensuring that the environment that you will enter when you come to us is the proper one to induce healing. Thus, we work hard to provide a compassionate, nurturing and supportive environment to always reinforce your treatment successes as you move through our program. Sometimes, individuals can perceive they are making progress but feel that it is too little to amount to anything significant. We will always show you how even the smallest step forward is still in the right direction and let you know that we understand how hard it is to give up patterns of behavior and emotions that have begun to feel normal to you, even if they are not adaptive. We are here to help you adjust to new ways of experiencing your world, which may at first feel uncomfortable since it is not what you have become used to as your normal emotional capacity.
In addition to our wonderful hospital staff, you will have the opportunity to meet other individuals who are working to overcome the same difficulties you have come to work through. As you get to know some others with similar experiences, you will learn more about how bipolar disorder may be experienced by different people and perhaps be helped by talking to some who have been on the journey to recovery for longer than you have. At the same time, we fully believe that no matter how long someone has been working on an issue or problem area, that everyone has something to contribute to another person’s well-being and recovery.
For individuals who are largely not in favor of taking medication, peers can often help you understand why they can be beneficial and how they have been helped by the medication they have been prescribed. We believe that much of the healing that occurs in our program comes through peer interaction and sharing. While our hospital staff is very knowledgeable about numerous types of problems, it often helps to talk to someone who has firsthand knowledge of what you are going through. We make sure to provide informal time for you to get to know others on the unit and to start forming new relationships. This process alone often results in large improvements in symptoms due to the positive nature of social support in general, but also due to the fact that it demonstrates that you are capable of forming and maintaining relationships. This can help you view other relationships differently, such that you begin to understand that instead of problematic relationships being due to something about you, it is more likely the result of a lack of knowledge and understanding in others. This is why we find family sessions so important.
Types of Therapy Used to Treat Bipolar Disorders at Riverwoods
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition resulting in the need for continuous treatment and frequent monitoring to ensure the treatment protocol remain effective for managing your symptoms. While many people become anxious or depressed when learning that there is no absolute cure for bipolar disorder, the majority of individuals who have been diagnosed with the problem, when properly medicated, live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives. Thus, the word “chronic” does not automatically mean “suffering”.
Treatment for Bipolar I and II may overlap but frequently call for different medications and a different focus for psychotherapy, though often there is considerable overlap.
Since individuals with Bipolar I experience the more extreme state of full mania which frequently results in various problems throughout the areas of their lives and can lead to dangerous and impulsive acts, it is important to quickly control these symptoms to eliminate these risks. Individuals with Bipolar I undergo a medication evaluation and generally, are placed on a medication to control both the highs and lows of the disorder, bringing them closer to center. As each individual is different, so is the course of their disorder. Therefore, it may take several medication trials to determine the most effective option for you. Some of the most commonly prescribed medications include:
Mood Stabilizers – These are usually the first type of medication an individual is placed on as they have proven most effective for treating. The most recognized of this class of medication is lithium, which is a soft metal taken in pill form. While many individuals are helped by this medication, it is important that they are monitored frequently for signs of toxicity and to ensure the proper dosage is being prescribed. Lithium works best on the manic symptoms as opposed to mixed manic/depression symptoms. Depakote, an anti- seizure medication, helps to level out mood states. Due to its rapid onset, it is frequently used to treat acute mania and often has been shown to reduce new episodes. Other anti-seizure medications, including Lamictal and Tegretol, are useful as mood stabilizers, evening out depressive and manic mood states.
Anti-psychotics – Antipsychotic medication has been found to be very useful in treating individuals with severe manic episodes. Both traditional antipsychotics, such as Haldol and Thorazine, and newer medications termed atypical antipsychotics, such as Abilify, Risperdal, and Zyprexa, have been shown to be useful for controlling severe manic episodes and used to prevent additional episodes.
Benzodiazepines – These are tranquilizers such as Valium, Xanax and Ativan are sometimes used short term to treat acute mania. However, they don’t help other core symptoms such as euphoria and depression.
Since individuals with Bipolar I have a high risk of re-occurrence when they stop taking their medications, they are encouraged to remain on the treatment regimen prescribed by their physician.
While individuals with Bipolar II don’t experience as severe mood symptoms as individuals with Bipolar I, medications can still be helpful for prevention of future episode to decrease the negative effects of hypomania.
Mood Stabilizers – Similar to Bipolar I, mood stabilizers have been shown to be effective in leveling out hypomania and depression in individuals with Bipolar II and as a preventive agent.
Antipsychotic Medications – While individuals with Bipolar II do not generally experience psychosis or delusional systems as is found in Bipolar I, some of these medications can effectively treat hypomania and depressive episodes.
Benzodiazepines – This class of medication is most often used an only short term to treat specific aspects of hypomania such, as agitation or insomnia.
As with Bipolar I, those with Bipolar II experience recurrent episodes when they stop taking their medications and are encouraged to remain on the dose that was prescribed.
We also use psychotherapy to treat bipolar disorder at our facility near Atlanta, Georgia. This treatment modality tends to be most effective in combination with a medication regimen.
At our hospital, we offer several types of psychotherapy to help you better control your moods. We use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) in individual and group therapy modalities.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This type of therapy corrects misperception in thinking and helps you re-evaluate your thoughts to determine if they are adaptive or maladaptive. Once you can identify your maladaptive thoughts, you are then taught to challenge them and replace them with alternate thoughts. Many individuals with bipolar disorder experience negative consequences which result from their difficulties. These consequences may be financial, career-related or interpersonal. For example, some individuals might believe that the trouble they are having in relationships is because they are simply not likable. They would be taught to examine this belief based on occurrences when it appeared others weren’t reacting positively to them.
Perhaps they are able to discern that it appears that following a manic episode their friends and family members seem more estranged from then. They would be encouraged to replace the original thought with one where others are not aware of their difficulties, and that with some education they could potentially restore their relationships. They would also be taught to view such problems as a result of their mood difficulties which can be improved and not as a permanent character flaw. CBT is also used to help individuals to be able to identify and alter specific patterns of thinking that accompany their mood swings.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy – DBT is used to help individuals accept their difficulties and then develop better coping mechanisms in several areas to handle their mood swings. Coping strategies learned to include mindfulness. This strategy teaches the individual to remain focused on the here and now by concentrating on their bodily sensations to remain grounded and relaxed. Individuals also learn methods of distress tolerance, better methods for regulating their emotions and how to be more effective in interpersonal relationships.
When psychotherapy is used in conjunction with medication, most individuals experience a significant decrease in symptoms which they are able to maintain over time.
Continuing Care – What Comes Next?
When individuals decide with their treatment team that they are ready for discharge, a comprehensive treatment plan for continuity of care is arranged. We understand that even when individuals have shown a decrease in symptoms while at our hospital, the fear of relapse often continues to exist. This is why we take great care helping you to determine the best and most comfortable next step for you to take as you work to establish a normal life. If you feel hesitant about leaving a hospital setting but no longer need the intensive intervention, support, and structure of such a treatment option, a residential facility may be appropriate for you.
At our facility, we have two additional levels of treatment options that you can enter following discharge. These are our Partial Hospitalization Program and Intensive Outpatient Program. We have developed these treatment options with the best care of the patient in mind, to ensure continuity of care while providing a low anxiety transition. The models utilized by these treatment options are based on the same principles as those used in our main hospital so despite entering a different facility, it will feel familiar and comfortable, allowing you to more easily continue to work on your difficulties without the need for a period of significant adjustment. The difference in the two treatment options is the number of hours a week they provide services.
Don’t let the continuous worry over current or future mood swings prevent you from living life to the fullest. We can help you control your symptoms and provide you with several levels of care as appropriate to your needs.
If you or someone you love is experiencing serious mood swings that resemble the types of symptoms listed here, please call our facility near Atlanta, Georgia to talk to a trained professional who can help you understand what you are experiencing and suggest the most appropriate course help you with your difficulties.