Resources for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition marked by extreme mood swings, going from episodes of mania to episodes of depression. The mental health professionals at Meridian understand that excessive mood changes can be hard to live with, and we’re here to help.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression or bipolar depression) is a mood disorder where a person experiences high energy and manic episodes followed by extreme lows and depressive episodes. While in a low state, individuals often experience common symptoms of depression

Risk Factors

There is no one cause of bipolar disorder, but many factors affect a person’s likelihood of developing a mental illness. Since genetics play a role in any medical condition, having a  family history of family members with bipolar disorder or major depression is the first risk factor. However, other environmental factors contribute to mental disorders, as well. Stress, lifestyle, traumatic experiences (posttraumatic stress disorder), major life events, and sleeping problems are all external factors that can trigger the onset of bipolar disorder.

Warning Signs

Bipolar disorder can be hard to spot due to its contrasting mood episodes. However, there are some warning signs to look out for if you or a loved one are concerned that your symptoms could indicate a larger issue.

    • Extreme mood swings
    • Impulsive behavior
    • Confusion
    • Anger and aggression
    • Lack of sleep
    • Substance abuse

Bipolar disorder in children and teens can also be hard to spot because symptoms and warning signs can overlap with other conditions like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), major depression, anxiety disorders, and other behavioral problems. Fortunately, the National Institute of Mental Health ( notes that adolescents diagnosed with bipolar disorder can see improvement over time with a designated treatment plan.

Residential treatment facility at Meridian.

Manage Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder with Meridian

If you or a loved one are seeking resources or treatment options for bipolar disorder, call Meridian HealthCare today. Our compassionate team will work alongside you to improve your mental health and help you find your way toward a better tomorrow.

Boardman Office

8255 South Ave
Youngstown, OH 44512
Phone: 330-797-0070

Poland Office

2894 Center Rd.
Poland, OH 44514
Phone: 330-797-0070

Meridian Campus

527 North Meridian Road
Youngstown, OH 44509
Phone: 330-797-0070

Warren Office

320 High Street, NE
Warren, OH 44481
Phone: 330-318-3873

Types of Bipolar Disorder

As with any mental condition, there are a variety of ways to experience bipolar disorder; bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymic disorder are the most common categories used by mental health professionals. Let’s take a look at how the different types of bipolar disorder are explained. 

Bipolar I Disorder

Bipolar I involves the most extreme mood swings. People experience severe mood symptoms going from mania to depression. 

Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar II has milder mood swings than bipolar I disorder. It includes milder hypomania episodes followed by major depressive episodes.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymia is another milder mood disorder. These mood swings are often less severe and do not last as long. Cyclothymic disorder includes shorter periods of mild depression and hypomanic episodes.

Not everyone will fit into these three categories. Mental health professionals may diagnose someone as having “mixed bipolar disorder” or “unspecified bipolar or related disorders” if the patient does not meet the exact description of bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, or cyclothymia

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder symptoms vary from person to person, going between symptoms of mania and depressive symptoms. During episodes of mania, a person will often appear to be in a very good mood. Episodes of depression are much the opposite and typically include the common symptoms of depression. During these depressive episodes, there is a heightened risk of suicide.

*If this is an emergency, please call 911 or the suicide helpline at 1-800-273-8255.

It’s important to know that all categories of bipolar disorder can experience rapid cycling, which is the presence of at least four mood episodes in the span of 12 months or less.

Manic Symptoms:

    • Feeling happy 
    • Racing thoughts
    • Full of energy
    • Lack of appetite
    • Talking fast
    • Hallucinations
    • Spontaneous decision-making despite negative consequences

Depressive Symptoms:

    • Hopelessness or worthlessness
    • Lack of appetite
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Hallucinations
    • Loss of interest
    • Self-doubt
    • Isolation from friends and family members
    • Self-harm or suicidal thoughts
Counseling session for bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment Options

Without treatment, bipolar-related mood episodes can last for months at a time, with depressive episodes tending to last the longest. A bipolar disorder treatment plan should address mood swings, symptoms of both mania and depression, and living with the disorder. The most effective treatment options will utilize a combination of both medication and therapy.

Therapy Treatment Plans

Bipolar disorder treatment often includes psychotherapy (also referred to as talk therapy), which allows the person to talk through their emotions and experiences. The most common type of psychotherapy for bipolar disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT allows people to learn from their emotions and thoughts to respond more positively. It can be done individually or with a support group to improve medication adherence, mood and social functioning.

If psychiatry or other treatment options are not effective, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can be used for those struggling with bipolar disorder. During ECT, the patient receives a brief electrical stimulation in their brain that alters brain chemistry to reverse mental illness symptoms. According to the American Psychiatric Association, electroconvulsive therapy can also treat major depression or schizophrenia.

Medication Treatment Options

Most mental illness treatment plans utilize medication to alleviate symptoms for the patient in conjunction with therapy to address the whole disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) describes the medication options commonly used in bipolar disorder treatment plans.

    • Mood stabilizers
    • Lithium
    • Divalproex
    • Carbamazepine
    • Lamotrigine
    • Second Generation Antipsychotics (SGA)
    • Antidepressants

Before taking medication, be sure to discuss potential side effects with your care provider. Bipolar disorder commonly co-occurs with other mental conditions, such as anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), substance use disorders, or eating disorders. Treatment plans should address any other mental conditions present while treating bipolar disorder.

Effective Mental Health Treatment at Meridian

Meridian HealthCare has helped patients address their mental health conditions and concerns for over 50 years. Our compassionate team of counselors develops personalized treatment plans for each and every patient. If you or a loved one may have bipolar disorder, Meridian is here to help.

What do current and recovering patients have to say about Meridian?

Without the help I got from Meridian, I would be dead. I’m so grateful to them for everything they did. Thanks to Meridian, I got my life back.

They actually care. Meridian helped me with my recovery. Really, they saved my life.

My Meridian counselor was the BEST ever. You should never hesitate to ask if you need help — they are great.

I had a great experience at Meridian. They are the best out there for drug and mental health issues.