Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings between emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). Because of the complexity of the disorder, it is frequently misdiagnosed or undiagnosed altogether. It can be important to know what happens when bipolar disorder goes untreated. Even when properly diagnosed, bipolar can be challenging to treat. When individuals are experiencing either hypomania or a lull in symptoms, they may falsely believe they no longer need treatment. Further, many individuals give up treatment because of the side effects of medications. The bipolar disorder treatment program at Harmony Hills provides the necessary and effective treatment to help those with bipolar disorder learn to manage symptoms to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Call us today at 855.494.0357 to learn how we can help you.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder, sometimes referred to as manic-depressive illness, is a serious mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It disrupts normal day-to-day functioning and can lead to severe complications if unchecked.
The four phases of bipolar disorder include:
- Manic episode —During this phase, individuals may experience heightened energy, euphoria, and an inflated sense of self-esteem or importance. They often engage in risk-taking behaviors with little regard for the consequences.
- Depressed episode — This phase is characterized by feelings of extreme sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of energy or interest in activities. Suicidal thoughts can also emerge during this phase.
- Mixed episode — In this phase, individuals experience symptoms of both mania and depression simultaneously, leading to unpredictable behavior and an increased risk of self-harm or suicide.
- Euthymic — This phase refers to a period of stability where the individual feels balanced. It is crucial, however, to continue treatment during this phase to prevent the recurrence of symptoms.
When bipolar disorder goes untreated, the frequency and severity of these phases can increase, leading to volatile behaviors that place the individual and those around them at risk. Lifelong management of bipolar disorder is necessary to minimize these risks and maintain a high quality of life.
What Happens When Bipolar Disorder Goes Untreated?
Individuals with bipolar disorder often do not recognize the impacts of their emotional instability on themselves or those around them. Some view periods of mania or hypomania as beneficial because they are extra productive while forgetting about the crash that will ultimately follow. When undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, or left untreated, bipolar disorder only worsens over time.
Along with the immediate consequences of manic and depressive states, the long-term risks of untreated bipolar disorder can include:
- Significant challenges at work or school and difficulty managing responsibilities
- Strained relationships, loneliness, and isolation
- Increased financial instability
- Increased risk for substance abuse and addiction
- Higher risk for suicide
- Heightened anxiety
- Decreased ability for self-care and managing tasks of daily living
At Harmony Hills, we know professional treatment is crucial for effectively treating bipolar disorder. We believe in providing holistic and evidence-based care that focuses on the individual, not their diagnosis. In our mental health treatment programs, we provide the framework, support, and tools you need to achieve and learn to maintain a state of overall well-being.
What Do You Learn in Bipolar Disorder Treatment?
Following admission and a thorough assessment to determine your individual treatment needs, the first step of bipolar disorder treatment is to stabilize your symptoms. For most, this is accomplished through a combination of medications and various evidence-based and holistic treatment modalities, including individual and group therapy. As you gain an understanding of bipolar disorder and its impacts, you will learn about:
- Genetic and environmental contributors to bipolar
- Identifying and managing triggers
- Coping with stress in healthy ways
- Medication management
- The relationship between bipolar and substance use disorders
- Developing social, vocational, and general life skills
- Rehabilitating relationships
While bipolar treatment does not equate to a cure, you will learn the tools to live an exceedingly improved quality of life through treatment. Further, you will be more equipped to handle life’s ups and downs without succumbing to maladaptive behaviors you may have relied upon in the past.
Treating Bipolar and Co-occurring Disorders
If you have bipolar disorder, you might have another co-occurring disorder that needs to be treated simultaneously. Co-occurring disorders can intensify the symptoms of bipolar disorder and make it more difficult to treat. Some common examples include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Eating disorders
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Substance use disorders
The relationship between substance use disorders and bipolar is very complex, and the symptoms of each can overlap, contributing to difficulties with diagnosis. Often, individuals with bipolar disorder develop substance use disorders as they turn to drugs and alcohol to seek relief from their symptoms. Sometimes bipolar disorder develops as a result of severe addiction. At Harmony Hills, treatment for bipolar and co-occurring disorders can include the following:
- Weekly individual therapy
- Daily group therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- 12-step therapy programs
- Family therapy
- Holistic therapies, including yoga and meditation
Find the Right Mental Health Treatment Program at Harmony Hills
Bipolar disorder does not have to dominate your life. Through the bipolar disorder treatment program at Harmony Hills, you or your loved one can learn the tools and skills needed to manage your symptoms so that you can lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Contact us today at 855.494.0357 to learn more about your treatment options.