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Introduction to Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder affects about 3 out of every 100 adults. At Aucoin and Associates Psychology Practice, our trained professionals can help you navigate the ups and downs of this disorder. Although mood swings are a normal part of everyday life, people with bipolar disorder experience mood shifts which are much more dramatic and make life difficult at home, school, or work. You and your family may have many questions about this disorder and your treatment options.


Bipolar Disorder, like Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is a mood disorder. In fact, many people with Bipolar Disorder experience depressive symptoms that are similar to individuals with MDD. The difference for those with bipolar disorder is the additional experience of mania symptoms.

Depressive Episode (symptoms present for at least 2 weeks)

-Feelings of sadness or emptiness

-Lack of interest in activities that used to be fun for you

-Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

-Eating too much or loss of appetite

-Difficulty concentrating

-Not wanting to make decisions

-Being tired, lazy, and unmotivated

-Feeling worthless, guilty for no reason, or hopeless

-Thoughts of dying or suicide

Manic Episode (symptoms present for at least 1 week)

-Feeling unusually excited, euphoric, irritable or on edge

-Noticeable decreased need for sleep or not sleeping at all

-Talking excessively or very rapidly, possibly while jumping from topic to topic

-Racing thoughts or feeling like you can’t turn off your brain

-Jumping quickly from one activity to another

-Unable to focus or concentrate

-Increased risky or reckless behavior without consideration of consequences

-Impaired judgment and lack of insight into symptoms

-May experience false beliefs about having great powers, abilities, importance, or deserving special treatment

-May see or hear things that aren’t really there (hallucinations)

Hypomanic Episode (lasts for a few days)

-Symptoms are similar to those of a manic episode but less severe

-Less need for sleep

-Feeling full of ideas or creativity

-Increased self-confidence

-High energy levels and increased daily activities

-Increased pleasure-seeking behaviors, including some that have negative consequences (overspending or risky sexual behavior)

Mixed Episode (symptoms last a week or longer)

-Symptoms of both depression and mania are experienced at the same time

-Rates of suicide increase during a mixed episode


Bipolar disorder is a condition that requires long-term treatment. While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, proper treatment can decrease the severity of your symptoms. Medication is necessary to relieve symptoms and stabilize mood swings. Most people with bipolar disorder remain on medications throughout their lives.  Meeting with a therapist gives you a safe place to discuss your feelings and provides you an opportunity to learn how to effectively manage your illness. We will develop a treatment plan for you that includes medication, counseling, education, and lifestyle changes to help you lead your most productive and healthy life.

Aucoin & Associates Psychology Practice

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