• Derek Schumm, MD

Non-Drug Therapy for those with Bipolar Depression


One of the biggest challenges we face in the mental health field is diagnosing and treating the depressive phase of bipolar disorder, known as bipolar depression. It’s a condition where one’s mood intermittently experiences highs (mania) and lows (depression). The highs range from agitation to euphoria and from high creative energy to risky behaviors. The lows are the same symptoms found with those with major depressive disorder; sadness, lack of energy and interest, etc. Unfortunately, those with bipolar depression experience both mood highs and lows.

Symptoms of Mania: The "Highs" of Bipolar Disorder

  • Heightened mood, exaggerated optimism and self-confidence

  • Excessive irritability, aggressive behavior

  • Decreased need for sleep without experiencing fatigue

  • Grandiose thoughts, inflated sense of self-importance

  • Racing speech, racing thoughts, the flight of ideas

  • Impulsiveness, poor judgment, easily distracted

  • Reckless behavior

  • In the most severe cases, delusions and hallucinations

Symptoms of Depression: The "Lows" of Bipolar Disorder

  • Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells

  • Significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns

  • Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety

  • Pessimism, indifference

  • Loss of energy, persistent lethargy

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness

  • Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness

  • Inability to take pleasure in former interests, social withdrawal

  • Unexplained aches and pains

  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

As a practicing psychiatrist for 10 years, I have found it at times difficult to truly identify bipolar depression. For example, those who experience true lows, may not experience mania. Not everyone who impulsively decides to buy a new car is having a manic bipolar experience.

At Bay Psychiatric Associates we have a team of experts that help patients, their friends and loved ones both identify bipolar depression and treat the disorder. One tool we find helpful during a full consultation is the Young Mania Rating Scale. This scale can help to identify manic symptoms, while the PHQ-9, can help to identify depressive symptoms.

Helping those with bipolar depression often starts with medications and talk therapy. If we find that the bipolar disorder is not well managed by medications and psychotherapy, we have also used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to treat the depressive phase of bipolar disorder. Although TMS for bipolar disorder is considered an off-label indication, it is used and studied with a high level of effectiveness.

Resources:

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

About Bay TMS

We believe in providing excellent, state-of-the-art, individualized mental health care with a focus on attention to detail and your well-being. We pride ourselves in our outstanding commitment to ensuring that you have a meaningful connection with your TMS doctor and technician throughout the duration of your treatment. After your initial evaluation with your TMS doctor, you will meet with him or her every week and we will send updates to your regular doctor and psychotherapist to keep them informed about your treatment progress. In addition, we encourage you to remain actively engaged with your technician throughout each treatment session. Scientific evidence suggests that these interactions may help to alleviate depression by simultaneously activating other important brain systems.

Call our offices for more information or to schedule an appointment: 510-809-1599

#depression #mentalhealth #TMSTherapy #bipolarderpression

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