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Bipolar Disorder: How To Treat Manic And Depressive Moods

Expertly reviewed by Jessica Espanto, LPT, MA, RPsy · Psychology · In Touch Community Services

Written by Amable Aguiluz · Updated Jul 28, 2022

Bipolar Disorder: How To Treat Manic And Depressive Moods

Bipolar disorder, previously known as manic depression or manic-depressive illness, is a mental disorder that causes severe imbalances to the person’s current mental disposition. It causes severe mood swings that affect a person’s energy levels, ability to concentrate, and ability to carry out otherwise doable tasks and activities.

These extreme mood swings generally consist of emotional highs and emotional lows. They are known respectively as Mania or Depression.

Signs and Symptoms

People that are suspected of having this disorder may find themselves experiencing periods of intense emotion, with fluctuations in energy levels, sleep patterns, and behaviors that would otherwise be alien to them. These are known as mood episodes.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

There are three types of bipolar disorder:

Bipolar I Disorder 

Bipolar I is characterized by manic episodes, which result in abnormally high levels of energy, that last for around 7 days. This disorder is also present in patients that have prolonged manic symptoms that require immediate medical attention due to its severity. Depressive episodes also occur with this type of disorder, and lasts for around 14 days. There are also occurrences of episodes having both depressive and manic symptoms at the same time.

Bipolar II Disorder 

Bipolar II Disorder is defined by having a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes. Hypomanic episodes are similar, but milder versions of manic episodes. Thus, the symptoms shown by hypomania are not as severe. Though the effects of Bipolar II Disorder are not as full-blown as that of Bipolar I Disorder, patients afflicted with the former still require professional help.

Cyclothymic Disorder 

Also known as cyclothymia, this is defined by interchanging periods of depressive symptoms and hypomania for a duration of at least 1 year in children and adolescents, and 2 years for adults. It is unique in the sense that the symptoms exhibited do not qualify for the diagnostic requirements of a depressive or hypomanic episode.

Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

Accurate diagnosis and proper treatment for patients can help them lead productive, healthy and fulfilling lives. Getting in touch with a licensed medical professional is very important. Physical exams and other medical tests will be done to rule out other conditions. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and other relevant healthcare professionals may help you by providing a specialized treatment plan for your disorder.

Diagnosis is usually based on a person’s family history, history with other illnesses, and experienced symptoms.

Additionally, there are instances wherein bipolar disorder-like manifestations may occur due to the intake of certain drugs, alcohol, or another medical condition. These medical conditions may include stroke and multiple sclerosis. Despite overlapping symptoms, these causes cannot be present when diagnosing bipolar disorder.

Accurate diagnosis for young patients, in particular, is very important. The sooner treatment begins, the better.



The foremost treatment for bipolar disorder and many other similar health conditions is psychotherapy, which is conducted by having sessions with a mental health provider.

Episodes of mania and depression that usually recur can be mitigated with consistent psychotherapy. For intervals between these episodes, a majority of patients are unrestricted by these mood swings and are free to act naturally and productively. Continuous and long-term treatment is the most consistent way to combat the effects of bipolar disorder.

Patients must work with a healthcare provider that they are comfortable with and trust.


Some drugs and medications help deal with manic and depressive episodes, though this is not consistent for all patients. Your healthcare professional will design a custom treatment plan for patients. These must be made in tandem with an accurate diagnosis of what the patient is going through.

Medications generally used to treat bipolar disorder include antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. Other medications which may be used are lithium, antipsychotic, anticonvulsive, and benzodiazepine medication. Antidepressants are also given to patients that experience severe depressive episodes.

Key Takeaway

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness which is characterized by manic and depressive symptoms. The disorder can be diagnosed through tests performed by medical and mental health professionals. While a complicated disorder, there are several ways to manage the symptoms which include psychotherapy and medications.

Learn about other Mood Disorders here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Jessica Espanto, LPT, MA, RPsy

Psychology · In Touch Community Services

Written by Amable Aguiluz · Updated Jul 28, 2022

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