Bipolar disorder: when life is rocked by unaccountable ups and downs

Do you have frequent mood swings?

Do you go back and forth between periods when you feel very good, have lots of energy and plans and ideas and need little sleep, and periods when you feel low or depressed or irritable, with little energy and enthusiasm?

These are the main bipolar symptoms. Bipolar disorder is a mood problem that is also called manic-depression. Sometimes the ups and downs are very clear and pronounced. Sometimes they are milder and more subtle, and may be much less recognizable. In some people, both types of bipolar symptoms can occur at the same time.

The adult form of bipolar disorder usually begins in adolescence or young adulthood. Early mood episodes are most likely to be of the depressed type.  The diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children is controversial and difficult. There are differences of opinion among experts about how to define and treat bipolar in kids.

About 4% of the population experience bipolar disorder in their lifetime, using a broad definition. Bipolar disorder can be successfully treated, but the first step is a careful diagnostic assessment.

You have options at The NeuroDevelopment Center:


It can be hard to tell: do I have bipolar disorder or just a lot of ups and downs in my life? We can help you answer this question with a diagnostic assessment. Its important to look carefully together at your history and at your present experience of bipolar symptoms. We will also use psychological tests that have been developed specifically to measure bipolar symptoms. If you are also concerned about learning and thinking processes, you may want a complete neuropsychological assessment. Learn more.


Medication is the most commonly used treatment for bipolar disorder. Individual therapy can help as well. It can help you better identify early signals of mood swings and develop and implement strategies for handling the symptoms better. Family therapy can help as well, so that everyone in the family is on board and working together to help you cope better. Neurofeedback is another way we can help. For bipolar disorder in children and adults, neurofeedback has often been helpful in reducing mood swings and developing emotional stability. Learn more.

Parenting children with bipolar disorder

bipolar disorder boyIt’s not easy to deal with bipolar disorder in children. Kids with pediatric bipolar disorder can be irritable, angry, and emotionally very reactive. Their mood and behavior shifts unpredictably. Their activity can be speeded up, hyper, out of control, and your attempts to manage that can provoke rage and aggression. Their sleep is easily thrown off kilter, and that means yours is too. Poor sleep just makes everything worse, including your ability to stay calm and cope well. Family therapy is not going to change the main symptoms of mood instability, but it can help you manage them much better, help your child manage them much better, and help you feel more confident and more relaxed about your parenting. We can help you learn the warning signs for your child’s ups and downs and learn effective strategies to better handle the episodes. Learn more.

Learn more about bipolar disorder

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You can schedule your first visit with one of our psychologists to begin on your path forward. Contact us to provide some basic information so that we can select the right professional to address your specific concerns.
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