Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as bipolar affective disorder, manic-depressive disorder, or manic depression, is a mental illness classified by psychiatrists as a mood disorder.

Do I have Bipolar Disorder?

You only need to have one hypomanic episode in your life to have a mild bipolar disorder. What is a hypomanic episode? A hypomanic episode is a period of at least two days of hypomanic symptoms. Hypomanic symptoms are a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, hyperactivity, and increased speed or amount of speech. Decreased need for sleep is needing less than four hours of sleep per night without feeling reduced energy or lowered mood the following day. Racing thoughts are accelerated and the amount of thoughts increased . Hyperactivity is increased amount of activities or speed of motion. People tend to become more reckless during a hypomanic episode. This may be expressed by spending sprees, hypersexuality/promiscuity, driving more aggressively or speeding, being more aggressive interpersonally, or beginning or increasing amounts of alcohol or drug abuse. A manic episode is a more severe state than a hypomanic episode. The symptoms are worse and last at least a week.

Bipolar disorder is a physiological malfunction in the mood center of the brain. The symptoms are primarily psychological symptoms. The predominant symptoms are mood disturbances of abnormally elated or irritable phases, depression phases, or a mixture of the symptoms of the manic, i.e. high, and depressive, i.e., low phases. The patient may have essentially normal phases for long periods of time. The ratio of time spent in depression phases is usually much greater than the time spent in manic phases. The severity of bipolar disorder is on the spectrum from mild or infrequent phases to severe and perhaps constant disturbances of one phase or another.

Medication as Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

The most effective treatment for this disorder is medication for most patients. We have an increasing armamentarium of medications to help one or more of the acute phases and for prophylactic maintenance. The most potent and quickest acting medications tend to have a higher frequency of side effects. Medications with less frequent and milder side effects tend to work more gradually. Bipolar depression has been harder to get into remission then manic phases and we had fewer medications to try until just the past few years. When individual and/or individual therapy are combined with the medications, bipolar patients tend to do better.

Dr. Hege Selects & Manages Medication Treatment

Dr. Hege’s role in helping bipolar patients is in these areas. He specializes in evaluating bipolar patients to select and manage their medication treatment. He has been doing this for 38 years with inpatients and outpatients, but now he only serves outpatients and refers patients to colleagues who are working inpatient that need hospital care. New patients he believes may need inpatient care are referred to outpatient psychiatrist colleagues so that patient can have continuity of care with the same psychiatrist during inpatient and outpatient phases of treatment.

Dr. Hege, Atlanta psychiatrist, answers questions about treatments for bipolar disorder. If you suffer from Bipolar Disorder and are seeking some answers or treatment, contact Dr. Hege today.

If I am only bothered by depression and like my hypomanic episodes, why does my psychiatrist need to know that I have had a hypomanic episode?

If your bipolar depression is treated with a typical antidepressant, it may cause you to have a more severe hypermanic episode or cause rapid cycling. Rapid cycling is swinging more frequently between hypomanic episodes and depression states. Bipolar depression specific antidepressants not only are more apt to help your depression, but they are also less apt to cause a manic swing or rapid cycling.

Why hire a psychiatrist to help me manage my bipolar disorder?

Maximal stability of mood gives greater stability and gratification in family, personal, and professional relationships–providing the foundation for occupational, business, financial, and creative success. The more time you spend in the distorted world of your irrational pessimism, self doubting, and depression; or overly optimistic, ego-inflated, offensive brash hypermania; the more consequent pain you inevitably face.

If you’re seeking treatments for bipolar disorder, call Dr. Hege today for the expertise and relief you need!