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Bipolar Disorder

Carolina Wellness Psychiatry, PLLC

Psychiatrists serving Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina

At Carolina Wellness Psychiatry, PLLC, Elizabeth Bullard, MD, and Allison Foroobar, MD, have extensive experience diagnosing and treating Bipolar Disorder. If you have symptoms of bipolar disorder or you’re not finding your current treatment effective, call the office in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.

Bipolar Disorder Q & A

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive disorder, is a mood disorder marked by shifts in mood, energy, sleep, and activity level that affect daily functioning.  Mood shifts can fluctuate from periods of feeling energized and elated (known as manic episodes) to periods of feeling sad and hopeless (known as depressive episodes). 

There are four types of Bipolar Disorder - Bipolar I, which has pronounced manic symptoms lasting at least 7 days; Bipolar II, which has shifts in mood, including depressive episodes, but not full-blown manic episodes; Cyclothymic Disorder, which has numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms and subclinical depression; and Unspecified Bipolar Disorder, which does not match any of the three main types of Bipolar Disorder.


What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

Typical symptoms of a manic episode include:

  • Feeling elated or very “up”
  • Boundless energy
  • Hyperactivity
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Racing thoughts
  • Feeling invulnerable
  • Taking risks
  • Unusual thoughts or psychosis

Typical symptoms of a hypomanic episode include:

  • Increased energy
  • Increased productivity
  • Feeling elated or very “up”
  • Irritability
  • Decreased need for sleep

Typical symptoms of a depressive episode include:

  • Feeling sad or down
  • Lack of energy
  • Lethargy or fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance - sleeping too little or too much
  • Appetite disturbance - eating too little or too much
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Difficulty with concentration or memory
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Mood episodes with mixed features can include symptoms of both mania and depression.  

How is bipolar disorder treated?

The diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder requires a comprehensive assessment of symptoms, as symptoms can mimic other medical and psychiatric disorders.  Bipolar Disorder is a lifelong illness, and while episodes of depression and mania come back over time, many people are free from mood changes between episodes.  

An effective treatment generally includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy.  Medications used to treat Bipolar Disorder include mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics, and antidepressants.  Psychotherapy can provide insight, support, and education to people with Bipolar Disorder and their families.  

Your physician will complete a comprehensive assessment of your symptoms and discuss medication treatment to reduce symptoms and psychotherapy options to increase support and understanding of your illness.

If you have bipolar disorder and aren’t getting the help you need, or you’re worried about having symptoms of bipolar disorder, call Carolina Wellness Psychiatry, PLLC, today, or book an appointment online.