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Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis & Treatment in the North Shore, Massachusetts

Do you experience extreme mood swings? This might be a sign of bipolar disorder. We can support you with both medical and non-pharmacological treatments.

What is Bipolar Disorder

Formerly known as manic depression, bipolar disorder causes mood swings that affect energy, activity level, and focus. Mood episodes can be manic, hypomanic, depressive, or mixed. Manic episodes make you feel elated and impulsive, while depressive episodes make you feel sad and drained. These swings may disrupt your life, requiring treatment for stabilization.

Normalizing your mental state requires long-term treatment that may include prescription drugs, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. Getting the right diagnosis and treatment is key.

How Bipolar Disorder Feels. Symptoms and Signs of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder has several types. Their symptoms are similar, like changes in mood, energy levels, and activity levels, but they have differences too.

Bipolar I disorder involves long-lasting manic and depressive episodes, typically lasting at least two weeks.

Cyclothymic disorder (cyclothymia) has recurring hypomanic or depressive symptoms not severe or long enough to be considered "full" episodes.

Bipolar II disorder alternates between depression and hypomania.

Unspecified bipolar disorder occurs when symptoms do not clearly align with one type.

Depressive symptoms include moodiness, persistent sadness, fatigue, appetite or weight changes, sleep disruptions, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and suicidal thoughts.

Manic symptoms include elevated mood, irritability, restlessness, little need for sleep, racing thoughts, risk-taking, and inflated self-importance.

Hypomanic episodes are similar to manic ones but less severe. Hypomania is characterized by elevated mood and energy, racing thoughts and impulsivity, increased creativity and productivity, and a reduced need for sleep.

Mixed episodes combine depressive and manic symptoms, feeling sad, empty, or hopeless yet energized.

What Causes Bipolar Disorder

Exactly what causes bipolar disorder is unknown, but several factors increase the risk:

Genetics. Higher risk if a family member has bipolar disorder.

Brain function and neurochemical imbalances. People with bipolar disorder have structural and neurotransmitter differences in their brains.

Neuroendocrine system imbalance. Symptoms may arise from fluctuations in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and thyroid hormones.

Substance abuse. Alcohol, medications, and drugs can exacerbate or trigger bipolar disorder.

Stress and trauma. High stress or trauma can trigger or worsen symptoms.

How to Cope With Bipolar Disorder

Treatment combines medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Tailoring a plan with a mental health professional is key.

Therapy

Proven therapies like CBT and psychoeducation help develop coping skills and identify mood triggers.

Medications

Mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics, and other medications.

Lifestyle Сhanges

Regular sleep, diet, avoiding certain substances, and managing stress help to ease depressive and manic episodes.

How We Can Support You

Our psychiatric nurse practitioners and life coaches offer people with bipolar disorder personalized plans, including medication management, psychoeducation, and evidence-based non-pharmacological treatments.

At Alta MH, we see you as a whole person, not just your symptoms. Our goal is to help you improve your mental health in a meaningful way – guiding and supporting you in changing your thoughts, feelings, and actions for lasting improvements and a happier, brighter future.

Alta Team. Five women sitting on a couch, all wearing purple t-shirts, and looking at the viewer

How You Can Pay

Accepted Insurances

Self-Pay Rates

  • Medicare 

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield 

  • United Healthcare 

  • Always / Mass General Brigham Health Plan 

  • Harvard Pilgrim 

  • Cigna 

  • Aetna 

No-show or late cancellation (under 24 hours) fee: $50.

Medication Clinic:

  • Initial intake – $250

  • Follow-up – $175


Outpatient Therapy: ​

  • Family – $225

  • Parenting coaching – $150 (individual)

  • Parenting coaching – $200 (couple)

  • Group Therapy – $100 per person

Individual Therapy:

  • 30 Minute – $70

  • 45 Minute – $100

  • 60 Minute – $130

Key Questions on Bipolar Disorders

Will bipolar disorder go away?

No. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. The good news is that with proper treatment, you can stabilize your mood, reduce the frequency and severity of depressive and manic episodes, and live a happy life.

Do I have ADHD or bipolar disorder?

ADHD and bipolar disorder share some symptoms like impulsivity, mood instability, and difficulty concentrating. However, they have some big differences. It all starts with a proper diagnosis. Consult a professional to figure out what to do.

What is the main difference between bipolar I and II?

The main difference between bipolar I and II disorders is intensity of manic episodes. Manic episodes are severe in bipolar I. In bipolar II, they are milder, called hypomania. Both bipolar I and II have depression episodes.

Do I have autism or bipolar disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder and bipolar disorder share some symptoms like irritability, mood dysregulation, impulsivity, and agitation. However, they have some big differences. It all starts with a proper diagnosis. Consult a professional to figure out what to do.

What are the symptoms of bipolar in a woman?

People with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings, changes in energy, and trouble making decisions and sleeping.

Though there is no evidence that this disorder is gender-specific, some factors might influence how women experience it. For instance, hormonal changes during pregnancy or menstruation can trigger bipolar symptoms.

It is more common for women to suffer from bipolar II disorder than bipolar I disorder. They are more prone to hypomania than mania.

Can I have false memories of abuse with bipolar disorder?

Manic episodes can result in distorted or exaggerated memories or totally imaginary events. This can be particularly dangerous because it can lead to poor decisions or actions.

Consult a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment. You should get help as soon as possible so you do not ruin your relationships, career, or other important things in your life.

Am I bipolar or narcissistic?

Narcissistic personality disorder and bipolar disorder share some symptoms like mood swings, grandiosity, irritability and impulsivity. However, they have some big differences. It all starts with a proper diagnosis. Consult a professional to figure out what to do.

Can I have bipolar disorder without depression?

Yes, there are people with bipolar disorder who do not have depressive episodes. The only way to diagnose your condition as bipolar is to get a proper evaluation. Consult a mental health professional.

Can bipolar disorder cause brain damage?

Some evidence shows bipolar disorder damages the brain; however, the exact mechanisms are not clear. The long-term effects of bipolar disorder can interfere with memory, concentration, attention, and overall executive function (impulsive control, organization, planning). Detecting and treating this condition early is key to preventing functional decline.

Request Your First Consultation Today

Start here for better mental health. Book a consultation today and take steps to a happier, healthier you.

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