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Bipolar Disorder Specialist

Advanced Psychiatric Associates

Tina Okonkwo, DNP, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC

Psychiatric Mental Health Care for Children, Adolescents and Adults located in Charlotte, NC

The dramatic changes in mood, from mania to deep depression, typical of bipolar disorder can be exhausting and make normal life impossible. If you have symptoms of bipolar disorder, Justina Okonkwo, DNP, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC, of Advanced Psychiatric Associates can help. At the practice in Charlotte, North Carolina, Justina and her team provide in-person and virtual holistic health care, encompassing your mind, emotions, mood, and body. For effective solutions to bipolar disorder, call Advanced Psychiatric Associates or book an appointment online today.

Bipolar Disorder Q & A

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric condition in which you experience extreme mood swings. There are distinct stages or mood episodes with bipolar disorder — manic (excitable), hypomanic (mildly excitable), and depressive (low mood).

The changes are often dramatic, with months of deep depression suddenly changing to a feeling of limitless energy and power for a week or so, before depression takes over again.

Such switches are exhausting and have a devastating impact on your ability to function in everyday life. The most serious form of the condition is bipolar 1 disorder.

What is bipolar 1 disorder?

Bipolar 1 disorder causes the most extreme mood changes. When you're in the manic phase, you might experience symptoms such as:

  • Exaggerated self-esteem
  • Little need for sleep
  • Talking quickly and loudly
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability and bursts of temper
  • Doing too much
  • Carrying out risky activities
  • Having racing thoughts

You might spend all your money, overuse your credit card, or start a fight when in a manic phase. After a week or so, the mania subsides and such a thick blanket of depression comes over you that you struggle to get out of bed.

You then feel overcome by shame and guilt about your behavior during the manic episode, with fatigue and self-loathing replacing the boundless energy and self-confidence.

Are there other types of bipolar disorder?

There are two other types of bipolar disorder:

Bipolar 2 disorder

With bipolar 2 disorder, the episodes of mania are less extreme than with bipolar 1 and between bouts of depression and mania, you might go through periods of feeling more normal. However, the depressive stages in bipolar 2 disorder tend to be severe.

Cyclothymic disorder

People with cyclothymic disorder have frequent and reasonably constant swings between mania and depression that are less severe than people with bipolar 1 or 2.

How is bipolar disorder treated?

The Advanced Psychiatric Associates team personalizes your bipolar disorder treatment to address the issues you're experiencing. 

Medications such as mood stabilizers and anticonvulsants are often valuable for leveling out the mood swings, but it can take time to find the optimal balance.

Psychotherapy is also an essential aspect of your bipolar disorder treatment plan at Advanced Psychiatric Associates. Talking therapies help you understand why you have these changes in mood, and the team can show you how to manage your bipolar disorder more successfully.

If you're battling extreme mood swings, the Advanced Psychiatric Associates team offers you compassion, understanding, and practical support. Call or book an appointment online today.