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Bipolar Disorder

Joshua D. Feder, M.D.

Child & Family Psychiatry located in Solana Beach, CA

Experiencing a range of emotions is a normal part of the human experience. The change between moods is often gradual or linked to a specific event. But if you or someone you love swings between extreme emotions such as euphoria and depression, you may have a mental health condition known as bipolar disorder. From his practice in Solana Beach, California, board-certified psychiatrist Joshua D. Feder, M.D., provides expert diagnosis and treatments to help you manage your bipolar disorder symptoms and lead a healthy, active life.

Bipolar Disorder Q & A

What is bipolar disorder?

Formerly known as manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorders cause extreme emotional states known as mood episodes. Current classifications of bipolar disorders include Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder.

Bipolar disorders are caused by abnormalities in your brain function that control and regulate your moods. As a result, you experience dramatic swings between manic, hypomanic, and depressive episodes interspersed with periods of normal mood. Fortunately, bipolar disorders are treatable, and you can manage your symptoms to lead a healthy and productive life.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

The defining characteristic of bipolar disorder is dramatic and often sudden changes in mood and temperament.

Manic episodes are characterized by high energy, uncontrollable racing thoughts, increased risky behavior, and less sleep. Hypomanic episodes include the same symptoms and behaviors, but to a lesser degree.

Depressive episodes cause feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, poor concentration, and changes to your eating and sleeping habits.

Each bipolar disorder classification presents symptoms slightly differently.

Bipolar I

Bipolar I causes dramatic mood swings ranging between manic “high” episodes and periods of intense depression. You may often have periods of normal moods between episodes of mania and depression. Dr. Feder diagnosis bipolar I after periods of mania.

Bipolar II

Bipolar II is characterized by hypomania, a state with persistent elevated energy and irritability, but which may still have severe depression.

Cyclothymic disorder

Cyclothymic disorder is a more mild type of bipolar disorder. You experience more frequent but less severe swings between depression and mania. Dr. Feder diagnoses cyclothymic disorder if you’ve experienced symptoms for two years and your symptoms have never stopped for more than two months within that time.

How is bipolar disorder treated?

After a thorough assessment and diagnosis, Dr. Feder works with you on a customized treatment plan. While your program is unique to your needs, in most cases, Dr. Feder combines medication with therapy and lifestyle modifications.

Medication is not a magic bullet to cure bipolar disorder. However, it can regulate your brain function and reduce your symptoms so you can focus your energy on addressing any underlying issues that contribute to your mood variability and behaviors.

Call Dr. Feder or make an appointment online to talk about your symptoms and get the expert help you need to lead a healthy, fulfilling life.