Bipolar Disorder (occasionally called Manic-Depression) is a psychiatric illness that involves severe changes in mood that can last from days to months. These changes are not “mood swings” or normal changes in emotions that everyone experiences, but rather involve severe extremes of emotion. People with Bipolar Disorder usually go through periods of depression (you can read about depression here), as well as periods of mania. Mania is characterized by elevated mood, feelings of euphoria, fast moving thoughts, and impulsivity. People experiencing mania may require less sleep and feel energetic; they may also have impulsive behavior such as using drugs and alcohol, making extravagant purchases they cannot afford, or engaging in thrill-seeking or risky sexual behavior. Irritability is another common symptom of bipolar disorder, and people with the illness may experience symptoms of depression and mania at the same time.
The Anxiety Treatment Center of Austin does not treat Bipolar Disorder as a primary clinical concern, but we may see patients with Bipolar Disorder who also have significant anxiety. We will likely recommend that patients with Bipolar Disorder participate in additional treatment with an outside provider to address their bipolar symptoms. We will sometimes also accept patients who are currently in treatment for Bipolar Disorder, but require additional treatment for co-occurring anxiety. Lists of resources for Bipolar Disorder and treatment information are presented below.