Characterized by episodes of mania and depression, bipolar disorder affects millions of people worldwide. Manic episodes include symptoms such as excess energy, inflated self-esteem, reduced need for sleep, grandiosity, racing thoughts, distractibility, poor judgment, an increase in risky or poorly thought out behavior, and excessive goal-directed activity. Conversely, during a depressive episode, a person experiences sad mood, loss of motivation, loss of pleasure in most or all activities, changes in weight or appetite, oversleeping or difficulty sleeping, restlessness, slowed movements or thought processes, fatigue, reduced ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions, and thoughts of death or dying. These manic and depressive episodes tend to last for days, weeks, or months as opposed to minutes or hours. Between episodes, many individuals are able to return to relatively normal levels of functioning. Given these extreme emotional fluctuations, it is not difficult to imagine how bipolar disorder can negatively affect a person’s life. Fortunately, however, effective treatments are available.
At Westend Hospital, we understand the pain and disruption that bipolar disorder can cause. With the help of our compassionate and experienced treatment team, it is possible to learn strategies for managing bipolar disorder and build your ability to live a healthier, more fulfilled life.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
When a loved one is struggling with the symptoms of bipolar disorder, it can be confusing and frustrating to know how to help him or her. Though you are in the midst of a difficult and painful situation, consider the following steps:
- Learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder. By researching the disorder, you can better understand what your loved one is experiencing and how friends and family members can be of assistance.
- Research options for treatment. By understanding different types of treatment and treatment settings, you can make education decisions about recommending treatment centers to your loved one when the time is right.
- Keep an open line of communication with your loved one. At an appropriate time, share your observations and concerns with him or her. Make sure to remain open and nonjudgmental, and listen to his or her responses. This is not the time to argue with him or her or make ultimatums; instead, reinforce your care for your loved one and affirm your desire to support him or her.
- When your loved one is ready to enter treatment, help smooth his or her transition into care. Share your recommendations for treatment centers, set up appointments with treatment center staff, and offer to accompany your loved one to those appointments.
- While your loved one is in treatment, be an active source of support and participate in family sessions that the center may offer.
- Do not neglect your own health throughout this process. Although it can be tempting to focus solely on your loved one’s needs, make sure to take care of yourself as well. Eat healthy, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Also, seek support wherever you can find it, whether from family, friends, a support group, a therapist, or all of these.
Why Consider Treatment at Westend Hospital
If left untreated, bipolar disorder can have severe negative effects on a person’s life. Many people with bipolar disorder have difficulty maintaining adequate work performance and may experience job loss, long-term unemployment, and financial strain. Bipolar disorder can also strain relationships, resulting in separation, divorce, loss of friendships, and social isolation. During manic episodes, individuals with bipolar disorder can sustain injuries due to participating in dangerous activities and may risk contracting infections such at HIV as a result of impulsive sexual encounters. People with bipolar disorder are also more vulnerable to developing substance use disorders and have a higher risk of suicide than the general population. Despite these painful and dangerous consequences, however, with proper care at a comprehensive treatment center, it is possible to learn to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder and minimize the damage of these negative consequences.
Types of Treatment Offered at Westend Hospital
Westend Hospital provides world-class care for individuals who are struggling with mental illness. By offering a full spectrum of care designed to treat a wide range of presenting concerns, Westend can help change lives for the better.
Westend Hospital is designed to provide care for men and women ages 30 and older with mental health diagnoses. We do not provide addiction treatment services, but we are able to care for individuals who are on dialysis, who use feeding tubes, and who use supplemental oxygen.
Every person who heals with us benefits from the support of our dedicated clinical team and is provided with a tailored treatment plan that addresses each individual’s unique needs and helps him or her manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Below are some of the interventions that may be included in each client’s personalized treatment plan:
Medication management: Many people find relief from the symptoms of their mental health conditions with the help of medications. At Westend, we provide effective, responsive medication management services. Clients who need medication management meet with our psychiatrist three times per week and benefit from 24-hour nursing care.
Individual therapy: A client’s relationship with his or her individual therapist can be a foundational component of his or her healing journey and can provide a chance for clients to receive the one-on-one support they need. At Westend, our social workers provide individual therapy sessions as often as necessary, as determined by our clients and our clients’ treatment teams.
Group therapy: Group therapy sessions are in many ways the backbone of treatment at Westend. Led by social workers, nurses, and our activity therapist, groups allow individuals who are struggling with bipolar disorder to build skills and support and be supported by each other. Group topics at Westend may include:
- Coping skills
- Anger management
- Grief therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Stress management
- Medication compliance and management
Activity therapy: Developing healthy recreation patterns can substantially increase a person’s ability to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. At Westend, our dedicated activity therapist teaches clients how to effectively use downtime and leisure activities to benefit their overall physical and mental health.
Family therapy: Recognizing the key role that family members play in an individual’s health and wellbeing, Westend provides family therapy sessions led by our social workers as requested. During these sessions, family members have the opportunity to work through concerns they may have and can build and strengthen their relationships with each other.
Our dedicated staff members are eager to work with each client and customize his or her treatment plan to meet his or her unique needs. Once inpatient treatment is complete, we encourage clients to continue receiving care in our outpatient program before returning home so that they can solidify the progress they made in inpatient treatment and transition gradually back into their communities.
Westend’s treatment team is on-hand to answer any questions you may have about our programming and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for walk-in referrals. If you or one of your loved ones might benefit from our care, please do not hesitate to contact us.