Diagnosing and Treating Bipolar Disorder Online
Bipolar disorder can bring severe highs and lows, and these mood shifts also affect one’s thinking, functioning and behavior. People with bipolar disorder will typically go through periods of time where they are overly active and happy, followed by periods of time in which they are sluggish and sad. Think of mania and depression as the two “poles” of mood – like the North (high) and South (low) pole - which leads to the name bipolar.
Some individuals can experience symptoms of both mania and depression during the same single episode. Over the course of the illness, depressive symptoms typically occur more frequently than manic symptoms. However, once an individual has experienced a single hypomanic or manic episode, they are considered to have bipolar disorder rather than a depressive disorder.
People that suffer from bipolar disorder are not always in a manic or depressive state, but when these episodes do occur they often significantly impair one’s functionality. If an episode is severe, one can even experience hallucinations. Hallucinations are defined as experiencing sensations that are not there in reality, and this can be through hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, or feeling things. Someone experiencing hallucinations should see a doctor right away.
Treatment for bipolar disorder is usually lifelong and can include a combination of medications and psychotherapy. You and your online psychiatrist and therapist can help determine the severity of your bipolar disorder and what type of treatment is needed. There are many forms of therapy available to those suffering from bipolar disorder:
- Support groups
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Family therapy
Typically, the medications used for treatment will be from these three classes of medication:
- Mood stabilizers
During a video consult on Amwell, one of our psychiatrists or therapists will ask you a series of targeted questions to make an accurate diagnosis and create a treatment plan customized for you. Your diagnosis will be based on their observations of your functioning during the exam, as well as the duration, severity and history of your symptoms.