Northbound takes a proactive approach to bipolar disorder treatment, so we look at the emotions and feelings our clients are currently experiencing. Clients work in group therapy with peers who have experienced similar symptoms of bipolar disorder and can provide hope and guidance. Conversely, Northbound respects a client’s right to dispute a diagnosis; we never label clients. We try to educate clients and their families. In fact, treatment and therapy don’t necessarily rely on the diagnosis of bipolar disorder at all. We help people, not label them.
The manic stage can last for days or even months. Some of the symptoms are:
- Easily sidetracked or distracted
- Lack of good judgment
- Inability to properly control temper
- Recklessness and poor self-control
- Excessive use of alcohol and drugs
- Sexual promiscuity
- Unrestrained spending
- Constant elation
- Hyperactive behavior
- Extra energy
- Rapidly changing thoughts
- Excessive talking
- Overconfidence or a false sense of one’s abilities
- Over-involved in numerous activities
- Easily agitated or annoyed
The depressive stage may also last for days, and the symptoms can involve:
- Down mood or sad on a daily basis
- Struggle with concentration, memory recall, or decision making
- Problems with eating
- Loss of weight
- Loss of appetite
- Tendency to overeat
- Weight gain
- Lethargy or low energy
- Feelings of insignificance, despair, or guilt
- Lack of enjoyment in previously pleasurable activities
- Low self-esteem
- Preoccupation with death and suicidal thoughts
- Insomnia or too much sleep
- Antisocial behavior
Once a client is stabilized after a severe manic episode, therapy can and will become beneficial. Often, medications help to stabilize individuals suffering from depression and bipolar disorder so that therapy can be most effective. Regardless, the process is progressive and always changing. Under the direction of a psychiatrist, differing medications and therapies are utilized to give our clients the highest level of care possible.
Emotional numbness and diminished interest in significant activities can also be relieved by medications. This is important since family members often say that their loved one seems cold or spaced out. Medications that enhance brain serotonin function may improve emotional problems co-occurring with bipolar disorder, allowing the client to engage with others more normally. Other mood-stabilizing medications that are known to affect dopamine and other neurotransmitters may also help people who experience mood swings.
Northbound Treatment Services creates customized individual treatment plans for each client. The plans take into account needs specific to each client. A typical bipolar disorder treatment plan would include a well-rounded clinical and holistic bundle, covering medical, physical, mental, emotional, nutritional, educational, and spiritual needs. As with all of our programs the focus is on the solution, not the problem, and we try to simply provide direction and instill hope in our clients.
The Family’s Role
Clients suffering from bipolar disorder and chemical dependency often have a lot of trouble personally and professionally. As a result they generally have become very dependent on their families. This is a burden for the family, but also requires some education and healing on the family’s behalf to get well. NTS offers a monthly family program to help educate and care for the families of our clients.