Bipolar is a mood disorder characterized by extreme mood swings and is also called "manic-depressive disorder." A woman who is experiencing such dramatic mood swings may feel like she is on a roller coaster and may be desperate to get help. The manic phase of bipolar disorder is the "up" or 'high" side and the depressive phase is the "down" or "low" side of these severe mood swings. Swings from high to low may occur in rapid cycles, even within the same day, or each phase may last for weeks or months. This instability of mood can be devastating for women and their families trying to enjoy a normal life.

A manic episode appears as an extremely elevated mood or as a time of very high energy. During a manic episode, a woman may be unable or unwilling to sleep for days at a time, may believe she can "do anything," or may feel "on top of the world." Or, she may feel out-of-control, very irritable, frightened, or restless. Whether the woman's manic experience feels wonderful or scary, the manic episode will ultimately end in burn-out or a swing to an extreme state of depression.

Treatment of bipolar disorder depends on several factors including life circumstances, medical history, severity of symptoms, and impact on daily functioning. Medication management of manic depression differs from that of depression because some anti-depressant medications may trigger a manic episode rather than stabilize mood.

Treatment for bipolar disorder can be complicated because of resistance to stay on medications. A woman with bipolar disorder may have difficulty finding an experienced bipolar therapist. Bipolar support groups may be available in some areas and can be an important resource for social support for women.

If you or someone you care about is having trouble with mood swings, contact Brookhaven now to take the first step toward getting help. Our psychiatrists and therapists work together to assess depressive and manic symptoms and to provide bipolar disorder treatment. If you think you or someone you care about is having trouble with mood swings, we can help you determine the best route to get bipolar treatment.