Bipolar therapist near me

Bipolar Disorder

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We all experience changes in mood. Times of sadness or disappointment are natural reactions to the difficulties that occur in our lives. The loss of a loved one, problems at work or a deteriorating relationship can cause us to feel depressed. Similarly, a great success or relief from a problem makes us feel happy and content.

Our moods tend to be varied and shifting, but generally we feel as though we have some control over them. However, for people with mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder, that sense of control is missing and that causes distress. Anyone who has experienced a major depression or a manic episode can readily tell you the difference between those illnesses and their own normal feelings of sadness or happiness.

Severe or prolonged depression is an illness that affects not only a person’s emotions, but also physical health, relationships and behavior. More than 2 million American adults, or about 1 percent of the population age 18 and older in any given year, have Bipolar Disorder.

Bipolar disorder, also called manic depression, is an illness in which there are periods of serious depression, followed by episodes of markedly elevated or irritable moods or “highs” (in the absence of drugs or alcohol). These mood swings are not necessarily related to events in the person’s life.

Bipolar Disorder is not to be confused with mild mood swings. Those suffering from Bipolar Disorder lead very unstable lives, and the potential of mania or depression is a constant problem for them.

It is not known what causes bipolar disorder. Research suggests that people with the condition have a genetic predisposition – it tends to run in families. Drug abuse and stressful or traumatic events may contribute to or trigger episodes.

Symptoms of mania include:

  • Feelings of euphoria, extreme optimism, exaggerated self-esteem
  • Rapid speech, racing thoughts
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Extreme irritability
  • Impulsive and potentially reckless behavior

Symptoms of the depression phase are the same as in major depression, described elsewhere on our website.

Treatment is Available

Depression and bipolar disorder are treatable. Learning to recognize the signs and triggers enables people to work with their doctors, other health professionals, family and friends to prevent recurrences from becoming severe.

The great majority of depressed people respond to treatment and nearly all who seek treatment will get some relief from their symptoms. Both medication and some forms of counseling or psychotherapy have been demonstrated to be effective.

Bipolar disorder is mainly treated with medication and psychotherapy. Medication helps to stabilize moods, while therapy helps people detect patterns and triggers and develop strategies for managing stress. Sometimes, in very severe cases that don’t respond to other treatments, electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, is used.

Many people do not seek help for depression or bipolar disorder, sometimes because their symptoms prevent them from recognizing the seriousness of their situation. It can also result from the stigma that surrounds both of these conditions, making people feel like they are weak or somehow at fault. It is important to know that depression and bipolar disorder are treatable. Friends and family can be supportive by learning all they can about the condition affecting their loved one.

At Potomac Psychiatry our psychiatrists and therapists specialize in treating bipolar disorder, Call 301.984.9791 to contact us, discuss your needs and schedule an appointment. Our experienced professionals look forward to meeting you.

Our offices are conveniently accessible from the following communities:

Maryland (MD):
Bethesda 20814 – Bethesda 20816 – Bethesda 20817 – Chevy Chase 20815 – Colesville 20904 – Cabin John 20815 – Glen Echo 20812 – Gaithersburg 20855 – Gaithersburg 20877- Gaithersburg 20878 – Gaithersburg 20879 – Garrett Park 20896 – Kensington 20895 – Montgomery Village 20886 – Olney 20830 – Olney 20832 – Potomac 20854 – Potomac 20859 – Rockville 20850 – Rockville 20852 – Rockville 20853 – Silver Spring 20903 – Silver Spring 20905 – Silver Spring 20906 – Silver Spring 20910 – Takoma Park 20912 – Wheaton 20902

Washington DC:
Crestwood 20011- North Capitol Hill 20002 – Cathedral Heights 20016 – American University Park 20016 – Columbia Heights 20010 – Mount Pleasant 20010 – Downtown 20036 – Dupont Circle 20009 – Logan Circle 20005- Adams Morgan 20009 – Chevy Chase 20015 – Georgetown 20007 – Cleveland Park 20008 – Foggy Bottom 20037 – Rock Creek Park – Woodley Park 20008 – Tenleytown 20016

Northern Virginia:
McLean 22101- McLean 22102 – McLean 22106 – Great Falls 22066 – Arlington 22201 – Arlington 22202 – Arlington 22203 – Arlington 22205 – Falls Church 22041 – Vienna 22181 – Alexandria 22314

Extreme Mood Changes

Bipolar Disorder is diagnosed when a person experiences extreme changes in mood, accompanied by significant changes in thoughts, energy activity levels and behavior. These “highs and lows” or “mood swings” can be extremely disruptive to personal and professional life and are hard to predict. They are drastically different than the person’s usual mood ups and downs that go along with normal life stress. Because people are more likely to come for treatment when depressed, a careful medical history must be undertaken in order to identify the pattern as bipolar, as the treatments for the different mood disorders can differ.

Many Faces of Bipolar Disorder

There are multiple types of bipolar disorder, including Bipolar I, Bipolar II and Cyclothymia. They all include episodes of depression, and are differentiated based on the level of intensity of symptoms of the manic phase primarily. Bipolar I includes a history of a manic episode, Bipolar II includes a hypomanic episode, and cyclothymia includes no discrete episodes but significant mood cycling that can be disruptive to functioning. Additionally, some people can experience episodes of bipolar disorder that include both depressive and manic symptoms, known as a “mixed” episode.

How We Help

Our talented team of psychiatrists and therapists use a collaborative approach for patients with bipolar disorder that results in successful treatment and positive outcomes. You’ll receive a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation to accurately identify symptoms and ensure the proper diagnosis. We determine the optimal mix of treatment for your symptoms and health history, and incorporate state-of-the-art treatment protocols to help you recover and maintain a stable, productive life.

Bipolar Disorder: Psychiatrists Are Taking A New Approach That Aims To Treat Not Just Symptoms But The Whole Person

— talking fast and more than usual
— disjointed racing thoughts and ideas
— difficulty concentrating
— increased desire for sex
— uncharacteristic reckless behaviour
Depression symptoms
— prolonged sadness/crying
— change in appetite: eating more/less
— sleeping more than usual
— loss of pleasure in usual interests
— social withdrawal
— feelings of worthlessness
— suicidal thoughts
— irritability, anger, anxiety
— negativity and indifference
— loss of energy/tiredness

1. Hirschfeld RM, Calabrese JR, Weissman MM et al. Screening for bipolar disorder in the community. J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64:53-59
2. World Health Organisation. The Global Burden of Disease summary. Harvard University Press. Cambridge. Mass 1996.
3. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistics manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV-TR) 4th ed. 3rd rev. Washington DC. American Psychiat. Assoc 2000.
4. Angst F, Stassen HH, Clayton PJ et al. Mortality of patients with mood disorders: follow-up over 34-38 years. J. Affective Disorders 2002; 68: 167-181.
5. Valtonen H et al. Suicidal ideation and attempts in bipolar 1 and II disorders. J Clin Psychiatry 2005; 66: 1456-1462.
6. Suppes T, Leverich GS, Keck PE, et al. The Stanley Foundation Bipolar Treatment Outcome Network II. Demographics and illness characteristics of the first 261 patients. J Affect Disord. 2001;67:45-59. why is this in blue?
7. Judd LL, Akiskal HS, Schettler PJ et al. The long-term natural history of the weekly symptomatic status of bipolar 1 disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2002; 59: 530-7.
8. Michalak EE et al. The impact of bipolar disorder upon work functioning: a qualitative analysis. Bipolar Disord 2007; 9: 126-143.
9. Kessler RC. Prevalence and effects of mood disorders on work performance in a nationally representative sample of US workers. Am J Psychiat 2006; 163: 1561-82006
10. Martinez-Aran A et al. Cognitive function across manic or hypomanic, depressed and euthymic states in bipolar disorder. Am J Psychiat 2004; 161:262-270.
11. Kupfer DJ, Frank E, Grochocinski VJ, Cluss PA, Houck PR, Stapf DA. Demographic and clinical characteristics of individuals in a bipolar disorder case registry. J Clin Psychiatry. 2002;63:120-125. why is this in blue?
12. Goodwin, G.M, Vieta, E. Effective maintenance treatment – breaking the cycle of bipolar disorder. European Psychiatry 2005; 20, 365-371.
13. Zarate CA. Antipsychotic drug side-effect issues in bipolar manic patients. J Clin Psychiatry 2000; 61 (Suppl 8): 52-61.
14. Young A, Newham JI. Lithium in mainenance therapy for bipolar disorder. J Psychopharmacol 2006; 20(suppl 2): 17-22.
15. Tohen M, Jacobs TG, Grundy SC et al. Efficacy of olanzepine in acute bipolar mania: a double-blind rndomised placebo-controlled study. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2000; 57: 841-9.
16. Young A. Bipolar Disorder – the Four Dimensions of Care. 7th International Review of Bipolar Disorders. Abstract book p.23
17. Clarkin JF, Carpenter D, Hull J et al. Effects of treatment and psycho-educational interventions for married patients with bipolar disorder and their spouses. Psychiatry Research 1998; 49: 531-33.
18. Colom F, Vieta E, Martinez-Aran A. A randomised trial on the efficacy of group psycho-education in the prophylaxis of recurrences in bipolar patients whose disease is in remission. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2003; 60: 402-7.
19. Perry A, Tarrier N, Morriss T et al. Randomised controlled trial of efficacy of teaching patients with bipolar disorder to identify early symptoms of relapse and obtaining treatment. BMJ 1999; 318: 149-153.
Written by:
By Olwen Glynn Owen
Olwen at

Bipolar Disorder Center

The Bipolar Disorder Center in the Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences at UT Health Austin provides counseling, psychiatric consultation and prevention services that facilitate patients’ life goals and enhance their personal growth and well-being.

The Bipolar Disorder Center operates on a referral basis only and treats patients from 16-75 years old diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Patients undergo a six-week program focused on treating depressive and manic symptoms and aim to enhance function. The patient will work with the clinical team to define a personalized treatment plan.

The clinical team uses an integrative pharmaco/psychotherapeutic approach with elements of the following modalities:

Medication Management

Medication management is a strategy for engaging with patients and caregivers to create a complete, accurate and optimized medication profile. A complete and accurate medication list is the foundation for addressing medication reconciliation and medication management issues.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a time-sensitive, structured, present-oriented psychotherapy directed toward solving current problems and teaching clients skills to modify dysfunctional thinking and behavior. It is based on the cognitive model: the way that individuals perceive a situation is more closely connected to their reaction than the situation itself.

Mindfulness/Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT is a unique empirically based psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behavior change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility.

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Bipolar Disorder (MBCT)

Part of the group program, MBCT is an evidence-based treatment that develops the cognitive skill, mindfulness, to assist participants in regulating mood and responding to stressful events. We experientially facilitate mindfulness growth while examining individual reactions to depression, anxiety, anger and elevated mood in developing relapse prevention plans.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT emphasizes individual psychotherapy and group skills training classes to help people learn and use new skills and strategies to develop a life that they experience as worth living. DBT skills include skills for mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT)

IPSRT is designed to help people improve their moods by understanding and working with their biological and social rhythms.


Psychoeducation is the process of providing mental health education and information.

Relapse Prevention

Consists of a comprehensive relapse prevention plan to aid in preventing a new mood episode.

Mood Journal/Diaries

Mood diaries are daily tracking approaches that enable one to keep track of their moods, feelings and behaviors.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is a goal-oriented, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is a type of psychological counseling that can help loved ones improve communication and resolve conflicts.

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