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Bipolar Disorder Mental Health Treatment Center in Orange County California

Are you or a loved one struggling with Bipolar Disorder? California Prime Recovery, a Mental Health Treatment Center located in Fountain Valley, CA is here to provide you with valuable information and support. We can also be reached 24/7 at 844-349-0077

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings or episodes of mania and depression. Individuals with bipolar disorder experience periods of intense emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression), which can significantly impact their daily functioning and quality of life. Bipolar disorder is covered in the DSM-5 under the category of Mood Disorders. There are several subtypes of bipolar disorder, including Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, Cyclothymic Disorder, and other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders. Here are the main criteria for Bipolar I Disorder and Bipolar II Disorder:

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is not fully understood, and it likely involves a combination of genetic, biological, and environmental factors. Researchers continue to study these factors to gain a better understanding of the origins of bipolar disorder. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Genetic Factors:

    • Bipolar disorder tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic component. Individuals with a family history of bipolar disorder have a higher risk of developing the condition.
    • Specific genes associated with bipolar disorder are still being identified. Multiple genes may contribute, and their interactions with environmental factors play a role in the disorder’s development.
  2. Brain Structure and Function:

    • Brain imaging studies have revealed structural and functional differences in the brains of individuals with bipolar disorder. These differences may involve areas associated with mood regulation, emotional processing, and cognitive function.
    • Abnormalities in the neurotransmitter systems, particularly those involving serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, are implicated in bipolar disorder.
  3. Neurobiological Factors:

    • Imbalances in neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) are believed to contribute to mood fluctuations in bipolar disorder. The exact nature of these imbalances and their role in the disorder’s onset and progression is an area of ongoing research.
  4. Hormonal Factors:

    • Hormones may play a role in the development and course of bipolar disorder. Changes in hormone levels, especially during puberty and pregnancy, can influence mood regulation.
  5. Environmental Factors:

    • Stressful life events, trauma, or major life changes may trigger the onset of bipolar episodes in susceptible individuals.
    • Substance abuse, particularly stimulant drugs like cocaine or amphetamines, can trigger or exacerbate manic episodes.
  6. Biological Rhythms and Circadian Rhythms:

    • Disruptions in biological rhythms, such as sleep-wake cycles and circadian rhythms, are observed in individuals with bipolar disorder. Irregular sleep patterns or disruptions in daily routines may contribute to mood episodes.
  7. Childhood Adversity:

    • Experiencing trauma or adversity during childhood, such as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, may increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder later in life.

It’s important to note that bipolar disorder is a complex and heterogeneous condition, and no single factor can explain its occurrence. Additionally, not everyone with genetic or environmental risk factors will develop bipolar disorder, and the interplay of various factors likely contributes to its development.

Is Bipolar Disorder Hereditary?

Yes, there is evidence to suggest that bipolar disorder has a genetic component, meaning that it can run in families. Individuals with a family history of bipolar disorder may be at a higher risk of developing the condition themselves. However, like many mental health disorders, genetics is just one factor among several that contribute to the development of bipolar disorder.

Environmental factors, such as stress, trauma, and life events, can also play a role in triggering bipolar disorder in individuals with a genetic predisposition. The interaction between genetic and environmental factors is complex, and not everyone with a family history of bipolar disorder will necessarily develop the condition.


Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a spectrum of mood disorders characterized by episodes of mania, hypomania, and depression. The primary types of bipolar disorder include Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymic Disorder. Each type is defined by the nature and duration of mood episodes. Here’s an overview of these types:

  1. Bipolar I Disorder:

    • Manic Episodes: The defining feature of Bipolar I is the presence of at least one manic episode. Manic episodes are characterized by a distinct period of abnormally elevated mood, increased energy or activity, and impaired functioning.
    • Depressive Episodes: Depressive episodes may also occur, lasting for at least two weeks. The individual experiences symptoms of depression, such as low mood, loss of interest, and changes in sleep and appetite.
    • Severity: Manic episodes in Bipolar I are severe and often result in significant impairment. Hospitalization may be required in some cases.
  2. Bipolar II Disorder:

    • Hypomanic Episodes: Bipolar II involves a pattern of depressive episodes alternating with hypomanic episodes. Hypomanic episodes are less severe than full manic episodes but still involve noticeable changes in mood, energy, and activity.
    • Depressive Episodes: Similar to Bipolar I, individuals with Bipolar II experience depressive episodes that meet the criteria for major depressive episodes.
    • Severity: Hypomanic episodes in Bipolar II do not lead to marked impairment in functioning and are not typically associated with psychosis.
  3. Cyclothymic Disorder:

    • Chronic Mood Instability: Cyclothymic Disorder is characterized by numerous periods of hypomanic and depressive symptoms that do not meet the criteria for a full manic or depressive episode.
    • Duration: Symptoms persist for at least two years in adults and one year in adolescents and children.
    • Stable Periods: During this time, there are no symptom-free periods lasting more than two months.
    • Severity: The mood fluctuations are chronic but milder than those seen in Bipolar I or II.
  4. Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar Disorders:

    • Some individuals may present with symptoms that do not fit neatly into the criteria for Bipolar I, II, or Cyclothymic Disorder. In such cases, mental health professionals may use the categories of Other Specified or Unspecified Bipolar Disorders.

It’s important to note that these diagnostic categories are not rigid and that individuals may experience variations in symptom presentation.

Effects of Bipolar Disorder

The effects of bipolar disorder can impact various aspects of a person’s life, including emotional well-being, relationships, work, and daily functioning. Here are some key effects of bipolar disorder:

  1. Mood Episodes:

    • Manic Episodes: Individuals with bipolar disorder may experience manic episodes characterized by elevated mood, increased energy, impulsivity, racing thoughts, and decreased need for sleep. During manic episodes, individuals may engage in risky behaviors and have difficulty concentrating.
    • Depressive Episodes: Depressive episodes involve feelings of sadness, hopelessness, fatigue, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities. Suicidal thoughts may also occur during severe depressive episodes.
  2. Cyclic Nature:

    • Bipolar disorder is characterized by the cyclic occurrence of manic and depressive episodes. The frequency and intensity of these episodes can vary among individuals. Some may experience rapid cycling, with frequent shifts between mood states, while others may have longer periods between episodes.
  3. Impact on Relationships:

    • The mood swings associated with bipolar disorder can strain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Erratic behavior during manic episodes or withdrawal during depressive episodes can be challenging for loved ones to understand and cope with.
  4. Occupational Challenges:

    • Bipolar disorder can affect a person’s ability to maintain stable employment. During manic episodes, individuals may take on too many tasks, leading to burnout, while depressive episodes can result in difficulties concentrating and maintaining productivity.
  5. Financial Consequences:

    • Impulsive behaviors during manic episodes, such as excessive spending or risky financial decisions, can lead to financial difficulties. The consequences may impact the individual’s long-term financial stability.
  6. Substance Abuse Risk:

    • Individuals with bipolar disorder may be at an increased risk of substance abuse, as some may use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with mood swings or symptoms. Substance abuse can exacerbate the effects of bipolar disorder.
  7. Physical Health Impact:

    • Poor sleep, changes in appetite, and the stress associated with mood episodes can impact physical health. Individuals with bipolar disorder may be at a higher risk for chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases.
  8. Cognitive Functioning:

    • During manic or depressive episodes, cognitive functioning may be affected, leading to difficulties in concentration, memory, decision-making, and problem-solving.
  9. Increased Suicide Risk:

    • Individuals with bipolar disorder have an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, particularly during depressive episodes. It is crucial for them to seek help and have a support system in place.
  10. Stigma and Social Isolation:

    • The stigma surrounding mental health conditions may lead to social isolation and discrimination, impacting a person’s self-esteem and overall well-being.

Risks of Bipolar Disorder

Here are some common risks associated with bipolar disorder:

  1. Suicide Risk:

    • Individuals with bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of suicidal ideation, attempts, or completion, particularly during depressive episodes. Proper diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing support are essential to mitigate this risk.
  2. Substance Abuse:

    • People with bipolar disorder may be more susceptible to substance abuse issues. They may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their mood swings, which can exacerbate the symptoms of the disorder and lead to further complications.
  3. Financial Problems:

    • During manic episodes, individuals with bipolar disorder may engage in impulsive and reckless behaviors, such as excessive spending, gambling, or risky business ventures. This can lead to financial instability and long-term consequences.
  4. Relationship Issues:

    • Fluctuating moods and behaviors associated with bipolar disorder can strain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Impulsivity during manic episodes and withdrawal during depressive episodes may contribute to interpersonal difficulties.
  5. Occupational Challenges:

    • Bipolar disorder can impact an individual’s ability to maintain stable employment due to mood-related disruptions, absenteeism, and difficulty concentrating. Frequent job changes or periods of unemployment may be common.
  6. Legal Problems:

    • Impulsivity during manic episodes can lead to risky or illegal behaviors, potentially resulting in legal issues or conflicts with the law.
  7. Health Consequences:

    • Irregular sleep patterns, high stress levels, and neglect of physical health during manic episodes can contribute to various health problems. Additionally, the physical toll of severe depressive episodes may lead to neglect of self-care.
  8. Social Isolation:

    • The unpredictable nature of mood swings and the stigma surrounding mental health can contribute to social isolation. Individuals with bipolar disorder may withdraw from social activities, leading to feelings of loneliness and exacerbating the impact of the disorder.
  9. Cognitive Impairment:

    • Some individuals with bipolar disorder may experience cognitive impairments, including difficulties with memory, attention, and decision-making.
  10. Impact on Family:

    • Family members of individuals with bipolar disorder may experience emotional strain, stress, and uncertainty. Caregivers may find it challenging to navigate the unpredictable nature of the disorder.

Bipolar Disorder Prevalence


  • The global prevalence of bipolar disorder is estimated to be around 1-2% of the population.
  • In the United States, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that approximately 4.4% of adults will experience bipolar disorder at some point in their lives.

Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Manic Episodes

During a manic episode, individuals may experience a range of symptoms, including:

  • Intense Euphoria and Heightened Energy Levels:

    • Overwhelming feelings of joy and heightened activity levels.
  • Decreased Need for Sleep:

    • A noticeable reduction in the need for sleep without experiencing fatigue.
  • Racing Thoughts and Increased Talkativeness:

    • Thoughts racing at a rapid pace, often accompanied by a heightened need to talk.
  • Impulsive Behavior and Poor Judgment:

    • Engaging in activities without considering potential consequences.
  • Grandiose Beliefs or Inflated Self-Esteem:

    • An exaggerated sense of self-importance and confidence.

Depressive Episodes

During a depressive episode, individuals may experience symptoms such as:

  • Overwhelming Sadness and Feelings of Hopelessness:

    • Deep emotional lows characterized by profound sadness and a sense of despair.
  • Loss of Interest or Pleasure in Activities Once Enjoyed:

    • A diminished interest in activities that were once sources of joy.
  • Fatigue or Lack of Energy:

    • Persistent feelings of tiredness and low energy levels.
  • Significant Changes in Appetite and Sleep Patterns:

    • Disturbances in eating and sleeping habits.
  • Difficulty Concentrating or Making Decisions:

    • Impaired cognitive functions affecting decision-making abilities.

How Do You Help a Loved One with Bipolar Disorder?

Supporting someone with bipolar disorder involves understanding the challenges they face and providing assistance in managing symptoms and maintaining overall well-being. Here are some ways to help someone with bipolar disorder:

  1. Encourage Professional Help:

    • Encourage the individual to seek professional help from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professionals. Proper diagnosis and treatment are essential for managing bipolar disorder.
  2. Medication Management:

    • Support the individual in taking prescribed medications as directed. Encourage regular check-ups with their healthcare provider to monitor medication effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments.
  3. Learn About Bipolar Disorder:

    • Educate yourself about bipolar disorder to better understand the condition, its symptoms, and its impact on the individual’s life. This knowledge can help you provide more informed support.
  4. Maintain Open Communication:

    • Foster open and honest communication. Encourage the person to express their feelings and concerns, and listen non-judgmentally. Be a supportive and empathetic listener.
  5. Recognize Warning Signs:

    • Learn to recognize the warning signs of manic, hypomanic, or depressive episodes. This awareness can help you and the individual take proactive steps to manage symptoms.
  6. Create a Supportive Environment:

    • Foster a stable and supportive environment. Establish routines and structures that can help the person manage daily life more effectively.
  7. Encourage Healthy Lifestyle Choices:

    • Promote a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep. These factors can positively impact mood and overall well-being.
  8. Assist in Crisis Planning:

    • Work with the individual to develop a crisis plan that outlines steps to take in case of an emergency or severe mood episode. Ensure that key contacts and healthcare providers are included in the plan.
  9. Be Patient and Understanding:

    • Understand that bipolar disorder involves mood fluctuations, and be patient during challenging times. Avoid blaming or criticizing, and instead, offer support and encouragement.
  10. Involve Family and Friends:

    • Encourage the involvement of supportive family and friends in the individual’s life. A strong support network can provide additional assistance and understanding.
  11. Monitor Substance Use:

    • Be aware of the potential impact of alcohol and substance use on mood stability. Encourage moderation or abstinence from substances that can exacerbate symptoms.
  12. Help with Practical Matters:

    • Assist with practical matters, such as managing finances, maintaining a stable living environment, and addressing employment or academic challenges.
  13. Promote Psychotherapy:

    • Support the individual in attending psychotherapy sessions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other therapeutic approaches can be beneficial in managing bipolar symptoms.

Remember that supporting someone with bipolar disorder may require ongoing effort and flexibility. Encouraging professional help and maintaining a compassionate and understanding approach are crucial elements of effective support.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment Options

The treatment of bipolar disorder typically involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle modifications. The specific approach may vary based on the individual’s symptoms, the phase of the disorder, and their response to different interventions. Here are common treatment options for bipolar disorder:

  1. Medication:

    • Mood Stabilizers: Medications such as lithium, valproate, and lamotrigine are commonly prescribed to stabilize mood and prevent manic or depressive episodes.
    • Antipsychotics: Atypical antipsychotic medications like olanzapine, quetiapine, and risperidone may be used to address manic or mixed episodes.
    • Antidepressants: In some cases, antidepressant medications may be prescribed cautiously to manage depressive symptoms. However, they are often used in combination with a mood stabilizer to prevent manic episodes triggered by antidepressants.
  2. Psychotherapy:

    • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT can help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors. It is effective in managing depressive symptoms and preventing relapses.
    • Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT): IPSRT focuses on stabilizing daily routines and improving interpersonal relationships, aiming to regulate circadian rhythms and reduce the risk of mood episodes.
    • Family-Focused Therapy (FFT): Involving family members in therapy can help improve communication, support, and understanding, creating a more stable environment for the individual.
  3. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT):

    • ECT may be considered for severe or treatment-resistant cases. It involves administering controlled electric currents to induce a brief seizure, which can positively affect brain chemistry.
  4. Hospitalization:

    • In cases of severe manic or depressive episodes, hospitalization may be necessary to ensure the individual’s safety and provide intensive treatment.
  5. Lifestyle Management:

    • Regular Sleep Patterns: Maintaining consistent sleep patterns is crucial, as disruptions can trigger mood episodes.
    • Healthy Diet and Exercise: A balanced diet and regular exercise contribute to overall well-being and can help manage symptoms.
    • Stress Reduction Techniques: Techniques such as mindfulness, yoga, and relaxation exercises can assist in managing stress.
  6. Self-Management Strategies:

    • Mood Tracking: Keeping a mood diary can help individuals and their healthcare providers identify patterns and triggers for mood episodes.
    • Medication Adherence: Consistently taking prescribed medications as directed is essential for preventing relapses.
  7. Support Groups:

    • Joining support groups or engaging in peer support can provide individuals with bipolar disorder an opportunity to share experiences, gain insights, and receive support from others facing similar challenges.

Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder

  1. Inpatient Treatment:

    • Description: Inpatient treatment involves hospitalization in a psychiatric facility. It is reserved for individuals experiencing severe symptoms, acute mania or depression, or those at risk of harm to themselves or others.
    • Key Features:
      • 24-hour care and supervision.
      • Structured therapeutic activities.
      • Medication management.
      • Crisis intervention.
  2. Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP):

    • Description: PHP is an outpatient program that provides intensive treatment during the day, allowing individuals to return home in the evenings. It is suitable for individuals who do not require 24-hour supervision but need structured care.
    • Key Features:
      • Daily therapeutic activities.
      • Group therapy.
      • Individual therapy.
      • Medication management.
      • Psychiatric monitoring.
  3. Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP):

    • Description: IOP is less intensive than PHP and involves fewer hours of treatment per week. It allows individuals to live at home and maintain greater independence while receiving regular therapeutic support.
    • Key Features:
      • Group therapy sessions.
      • Individual therapy.
      • Medication management.
      • Psychoeducation.
      • Flexible scheduling.
  4. Outpatient Therapy:

    • Description: Outpatient therapy involves individual or group therapy sessions that occur on a less frequent basis than PHP or IOP. It is suitable for individuals with milder symptoms or those in the maintenance phase of treatment.
    • Key Features:
      • Individual therapy sessions.
      • Group therapy (if applicable).
      • Medication management.
      • Periodic psychiatric check-ins.
  5. Medication Management:

    • Description: Medication management can be provided on an outpatient basis by a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. This option is often combined with therapy to address medication effectiveness and side effects.
    • Key Features:
      • Medication evaluation and adjustments.
      • Monitoring for side effects.
      • Collaboration with therapists.
  6. Psychoeducation and Support Groups:

    • Description: Psychoeducation and support groups can be valuable components of outpatient care. These groups provide education about bipolar disorder, coping strategies, and peer support.
    • Key Features:
      • Educational sessions.
      • Peer support.
      • Coping skills training.

The choice between inpatient and outpatient options, as well as the specific level of outpatient care, is determined by the individual’s clinical needs and the recommendations of mental health professionals. Collaborative decision-making involving the individual, their family, and the treatment team is crucial for developing an effective and personalized treatment plan.

Does Insurance Cover Treatment for Bipolar Disorder?

Yes, insurance plans often cover treatment for bipolar disorder. The specific coverage details can vary depending on the individual’s insurance plan, so it’s important to check with the insurance provider to understand the terms of coverage.

Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Type of Insurance Plan:

    • Different types of insurance plans, such as private insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare, may have varying levels of coverage for bipolar disorder treatment.
  2. In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Providers:

    • Insurance plans typically have a network of preferred providers. In-network providers may be covered at a higher rate than out-of-network providers.
  3. Verification of Benefits:

    • It’s crucial to contact the insurance provider to verify the specific terms of coverage for bipolar disorder treatment. This includes checking details such as copayments, deductibles, and any out-of-pocket expenses.
  4. Medical Necessity:

    • Insurance coverage is often tied to the medical necessity of the treatment. A healthcare professional may need to provide documentation demonstrating the necessity of specific treatments or therapies for managing bipolar disorder.
  5. Preauthorization:

    • Some insurance plans may require preauthorization or approval before certain treatments or medications are covered. It’s important to understand and follow the preauthorization process if required.
  6. Coverage Limits:

    • Insurance plans may have limits on the number of therapy sessions, the duration of coverage, or the types of medications covered for bipolar disorder treatment.
  7. Parity Laws:

    • Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) in the United States may apply to ensure that coverage for mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder, is comparable to medical and surgical coverage.
  8. Individual Plan Details:

    • Each insurance plan is unique, and coverage details can vary widely. Understanding the specific terms and conditions of the individual’s insurance plan is crucial.

Individuals seeking treatment for bipolar disorder should work closely with their healthcare providers and the insurance company to navigate the coverage process. Mental health professionals and treatment facilities often have staff members who can assist in verifying benefits and understanding the insurance coverage available.

Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!

At California Prime Recovery, as an in-network provider we work with most insurance plans, such as:

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to California Prime Recovery today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-208-2390

Important Read:


Bi-Polar Disorder is believed to have a combination of genetic, biological, and environmental factors that contribute to its development.

While there is no known cure for Bi-Polar Disorder, it can be effectively managed with appropriate treatment and support.

Yes, with the right treatment, support, and self-care, individuals with Bi-Polar Disorder can lead fulfilling lives.

Medication is often an essential component of treatment for Bi-Polar Disorder, but it should be combined with therapy and lifestyle changes for optimal results.

Yes, support groups, both in-person and online, can provide valuable peer support and resources for individuals with Bi-Polar Disorder.

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