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The people at Skyland Trail helped me believe in myself again. They taught me that having a mental illness didn't mean that I had to scale down my dreams for myself.

– Melody M., Skyland Trail alumni

Bipolar Disorder

What is bipolar disorder?

A person with a bipolar disorder has experienced at least one episode of mania as well as episodes of depression. During a manic episode, individuals may have increased energy, grandiose feelings or beliefs, rapid thoughts, sleeplessness, and impulsive behavior. Depressive episodes are characterized by feelings of sadness and hopelessness, lack of energy, too much or too little sleep, and changes in appetite, among other symptoms. Manic and depressive episodes may be separated by periods of time where the person's mood is not affected. While bipolar illness is a mood disorder, some patients experience psychosis as a symptom.

Watch Video: Melody's Story

Skyland Trail graduate Melody M. describes how treatment at Skyland Trail helped her understand her bipolar illness and take control of her life.
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What are the Treatments for Bipolar Disorder?

Medications such as lithium, carbamezapine, valproic acid and sometimes atypical antipsychotic medications are essential and effective in controlling the illness. As our clients' active symptoms are resolved through medication and psychotherapy, they can focus on developing the skills they need to achieve their goals, whether returning to school or work or enjoying meaningful relationships.

Young adults and college-age teens experiencing their first episode of bipolar illness with psychosis may benefit from our specialized Cognition and First Episode program. Older adults with chronic symptoms of psychosis may benefit from our Social Integration program that focuses on experience-based learning.

Adults with no psychotic symptoms who are struggling with mood episodes often benefit from our Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) programs.

In addition to applying specialized evidence-based therapies, we provide guidance and support to help clients address their symptoms through proven strategies like routinely getting eight hours of sleep each night, engaging in cardiovascular exercise, improving nutrition, and participating in positive leisure and social activities.

Watch Video: CBT for Bipolar Illness

Skyland Trail psychiatrist Dr. Mary Burns describes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and how it is used to treat depression, bipolar illness and anxiety.
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