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Everyone experiences shifts in mood. Oftentimes, our moods are dependent on our current circumstances. Maybe we receive a raise at work or we finally work up the courage to ask our crush to the movies, and they say yes. These positive experiences lift our spirits and improve our mood, maybe even for days at a time.

On the other hand, certain life experiences crush our spirits. Maybe we have to put down a family pet, we lose a long, lucrative career unexpectedly, or a romantic relationship comes to an end. We feel deeply sad, maybe even hopeless. Grief can last for days or weeks. Eventually, however, our mood begins to stabilize. For those suffering from bipolar disorder, fluctuations in mood are not dependent on external factors. Emotional highs and lows last for weeks or months at a time, and severely impact overall quality of life.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Southern Live Oak Wellness is available to help. We offer an effective inpatient treatment program for individuals of all ages diagnosed with bipolar disorder or another significant mental health concern. To learn more about our Atlanta, Georgia mental health recovery program, contact us today.

man in therapy for bipolar disorder in Atlanta, GA

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by dramatic shifts in mood and energy levels. Also referred to as manic depressive disorder, this condition affects a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Based on diagnostic interview data from National Comorbidity Survey Replication, nearly 2.8% of U.S. adults had bipolar disorder in the past year. Additionally, an estimated 4.4% of U.S. adults experience bipolar disorder at some point in their lives. This equates to approximately 5.7 million Americans over the age of 18.

In the past, medical professionals diagnosed bipolar disorder as a singular mental health condition. Now, bipolar disorder is understood to be a spectrum of disorders that have different symptoms, causes, and treatments.

These include:

Bipolar I Disorder

Bipolar I (one) is the most severe form of bipolar disorder. People with bipolar I experience intense mood swings that vacillate between mania and major depression. Signs of mania include extreme energy levels, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and grandiosity. Some manic episodes trigger psychosis or a break from reality. In cases like these, hospitalization is typically required.

On the other hand, symptoms of depression include loss of interest in activities, low energy, feelings of hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts. A person must experience at least one manic episode preceded or followed by a major depressive or hypomanic episode before Bipolar I is officially diagnosed.

Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar II (two), characterized by depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, is slightly less common. Hypomania is a milder form of mania that lasts at least four days. People with bipolar II may experience cycles of depression and hypomania for weeks or months. For a bipolar II diagnosis, a person must have at least one major depressive episode and one hypomanic episode, but no manic episodes. It is important to note that bipolar II is not a milder form of bipolar I — it is a separate diagnosis.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder (CD) is a milder form of bipolar disorder characterized by cycles of hypomanic and depressive symptoms. The cyclical mood swings experienced by a person with CD are not severe enough to qualify as full-blown episodes of mania or major depression. For a CD diagnosis, a person must experience at least two years of many periods of hypomania and depression.

Mixed Feature Bipolar Disorder

Mixed-feature bipolar disorder occurs when a person experiences symptoms of mania and depression at the same time. They might feel full of energy and anxious while simultaneously feeling sad and hopeless. Between 40 and 50% of people with bipolar disorder will experience mixed episodes at one point in their lives.

Rapid Cycling

Rapid cycling occurs when a person experiences four or more episodes of mania, hypomania, or depression within a year. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) states, “Changes in the mood here can happen quickly and occur over a few days or even over a few hours. Four mood changes within a month indicate ultra-rapid cycling. While the phrase ‘rapid cycling’ may make it seem that there is a regular cycle to these shifts in mood, most cycles do not follow a pattern.”

man with rapid cycle bipolar disorder symptoms

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

The symptoms associated with bipolar disorder can vary on a person-to-person basis. Symptoms also vary depending on the specific diagnosis. However, some symptoms stay consistent across the board.

Symptoms common during the manic stage include:

  • Feeling excessively happy or elated
  • Speaking quickly
  • Feeling full of energy
  • Being easily distracted
  • Feeling irritable or easily agitated
  • Experiencing a disproportionate sense of self-importance
  • Disrupted sleep patterns/insomnia
  • Experiencing hallucinations or delusions
  • Engaging in irrational or impulsive behaviors
  • Making self-destructive decisions

Symptoms common during the depressive stage include:

  • Feeling sad and/or hopeless
  • Experiencing a significant lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Problems with memory
  • Isolation/increased desire for privacy
  • Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed
  • A lack of appetite/weight loss
  • Suicidal ideation

Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder

Our bipolar disorder treatment in Atlanta combines intensive psychotherapy and antipsychotic medication. Medications used for the treatment of bipolar disorder include:

  • Mood Stabilizers — Mood stabilizing medications treat manic and hypomanic episodes. Lithium is a mood-stabilizing medication commonly used for the treatment of bipolar I and bipolar II. Additional medications include valproic acid, divalproex sodium, and carbamazepine.
  • Antipsychotic Medications — In some instances, antipsychotic medications are prescribed alongside mood stabilizers or utilized if more traditional treatment methods are ineffective. Examples of antipsychotic medications commonly used for the treatment of bipolar disorder include olanzapine, risperidone, and aripiprazole.
  • Antidepressants — If a person experiences major depressive episodes as part of a bipolar disorder diagnosis, a prescribing physician might recommend antidepressant medications. However, antidepressant medications can trigger manic episodes. They are typically prescribed in conjunction with mood stabilizers for this reason.
  • Antianxiety Medications — Benzodiazepine medications are prescribed short-term for individuals experiencing severe anxiety, panic attacks, or insomnia.

According to the DBSA, “Consumers with bipolar disorder face up to ten years of coping with symptoms before getting an accurate diagnosis, with only one in four receiving an accurate diagnosis in less than three years.” At Southern Live Oak Wellness, we understand the importance of an accurate diagnosis followed immediately by an individualized and effective treatment plan. Recovery from bipolar disorder is not a one-size-fits-all process. We develop personalized treatment plans for each individual client, taking personal history into careful account.

client in therapy during bipolar disorder treatment in Atlanta

Bipolar Disorder Treatment in Atlanta, GA

Bipolar disorder is a complex condition that requires a comprehensive approach to treatment. At Southern Live Oak Wellness, we offer a range of evidence-based treatments to help our clients manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Our team of professionals provides a supportive and compassionate environment that empowers individuals to take charge of their mental health. If you or a loved one is struggling with bipolar disorder, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss our treatment options. We will help you achieve lasting recovery and wellness.

Regain control of your life today with bipolar disorder treatment in Atlanta, Georgia. Contact us to begin your personal journey of recovery today.


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What Our Clients Say

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    I have so much to say about this wonderful place, but I’m sure my words will never do my experience justice. Southern Live Oak Wellness and it’s people not only helped me find myself again, but they saved my life.

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    Johns Creek, GA
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    Southern Live Oak Wellness saved my life. The therapists genuinely care about the clients and helping them get better. Working on yourself is not easy, but the therapists help guide you and make you be able to work through whatever may be going on.

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    Lawrenceville, GA
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    I can easily say that Southern Live Oak wellness saved my life. I had hit rock bottom when I first got admitted and they helped me build myself up from nothing. I have learned how to cope with things I never thought I would be able to handle.

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    Dallas, GA
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    Going to SLOW has impacted my life in ways I never thought possible. I came for help with my mental state and came out with so much more; life skills, medical advice, mental health counseling and addiction treatment. SLOW is a whole life transformation program and I highly recommend it to anyone I know!

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    Kennesaw, GA
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    When I was a part of this program, I had the most personal growth I’ve had in my entire life. All of the tech staff were willing to talk to me whenever I felt like I needed someone to talk to and the group sessions gave me multiple perspectives I never would’ve thought of from people in similar situations to me.

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    Belleville, IL
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    This place has changed my life. For the first time in my life I felt heard and cared about. The clinical staff is amazing. The groups are well structured. You learn a lot of different skills to help you in life this is the best mental health facility to come to.

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    Brunswick, GA

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