Bipolar Disorder Treatment in San Diego

Bipolar disorder can be debilitating, preventing people from being able to work or function normally in their day-to-day lives. However, bipolar disorder is treatable, and many people with the condition live full and productive lives after visiting the Mental Health Center of San Diego.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder (also called manic depressive disorder) is a mental illness that causes noticeable and even extreme mood swings and behavior. While it’s normal to have our “ups and downs,” patients with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings that are often uncontrollable.

People with bipolar disorder may also experience periods of stability between episodes. However, these periods of stability are usually not as long as the manic or depressive episodes.

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What are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

People with a bipolar disorder diagnosis go back and forth between two main episodes: mania and depression. These different episodes exhibit very different types of symptoms.


During a manic episode, people with bipolar disorder can have an unusually high mood, along with increased energy and activity levels. They may feel like they can do anything and may not be able to sleep. They may also make impulsive decisions, such as spending too much money or getting into legal trouble.

When manic episodes are severe, people with bipolar disorder may also experience psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions.


During a depressive episode, people with bipolar disorder can have a low mood, along with reduced energy and activity levels. They may feel hopeless and lose interest in activities they used to enjoy. People with bipolar disorder may also have difficulty sleeping, eat too much or too little, and think about death or suicide.

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Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are four main types of bipolar disorder:

1. Bipolar I Disorder

This type of bipolar disorder is characterized by manic episodes that last for at least 7 days or by manic symptoms that are so severe that they require hospitalization. Depressive episodes may also occur, but they are not required for diagnosis.

2. Bipolar II Disorder

This type of bipolar disorder is characterized by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but the person has never experienced a full manic episode.

3. Cyclothymic Disorder

This type of bipolar disorder is characterized by numerous hypomanic episodes and numerous depressive symptoms that do not meet the criteria for either major depressive episodes or manic episodes.

4. Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders

These types of bipolar disorders include all other types that do not meet the criteria for the above three types.

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

While the exact cause of bipolar disorder is not known, there are a number of factors that appear to play a role in its development. These include genetic factors, brain structure and functioning, and environmental stressors.

Research suggests that bipolar disorder is caused by a combination of these factors, rather than any one single factor. This means that while there may be a family history of bipolar disorder, it is not necessarily inherited. It is also important to note that not everyone who has a family member with bipolar disorder will develop the condition themselves.

There are many possible causes of bipolar disorder, and further research is needed to better understand this complex condition. However, it is clear that there is no single cause of bipolar disorder, and it is likely to be a multi-factorial condition.

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How to Diagnose Bipolar Disorder

There is no one test to diagnose bipolar disorder. Rather, it is diagnosed by a trained mental health professional based on a clinical evaluation. This evaluation usually includes a thorough interview and may also include completing a questionnaire or taking a physical exam.

During the clinical evaluation, the mental health professional will ask questions about your mood, energy level, sleep patterns, and other symptoms. They will also ask about your family history of mental illness and any other factors that may be contributing to your symptoms.

Based on this information, we will determine whether or not you meet the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder. If you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, our mental health professional will work with you to develop a treatment plan.

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Bipolar Disorder Treatment Options

While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, there are many treatment options available that can help people to manage their symptoms and live healthy, productive lives. Common treatments for bipolar disorder include:


There are several different types of medications that can be used for bipolar disorder treatment, including mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants. Mood stabilizers are the most commonly prescribed type of medication for bipolar disorder. They work by evening out mood swings and helping to prevent manic and depressive episodes. Antipsychotics are typically used to treat manic episodes. Antidepressants may be prescribed to help alleviate depressive symptoms.


Psychotherapy can help people with bipolar disorder learn how to cope with their symptoms and manage their illness. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that has been shown to be particularly effective in treating bipolar disorder. CBT helps people with bipolar disorder identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors that contribute to their illness.

Lifestyle Changes

In addition to medication and psychotherapy, lifestyle changes can also help people with bipolar disorder manage their symptoms. Some lifestyle changes that may be helpful include maintaining a regular sleep schedule, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol and drugs. Making these changes can help stabilize mood swings and prevent manic and depressive episodes.

How to Get Bipolar Disorder Treatment in San Diego

You don’t have to suffer from bipolar disorder alone. We the Mental Health Center of San Diego offers an individualized treatment program with techniques tailored specifically to your disorder.

Bipolar disorder has no cure and may last a lifetime. But patients can seek bipolar disorder treatment to better control their episodes, excel in life, and develop better relationships with family members. To learn more about what treatment options are available to you, contact the Mental Health Center of San Diego at (858) 258-9883.

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