Bipolar Disorder Program
People who are afflicted with bipolar disorder have episodes of mania or hypomania and depression, as well as periods of no psychiatric symptoms (See bipolar disorder for details on how this diagnosis is made). At least 4% of Americans have bipolar disorder, and many others may have milder symptoms of this illness. Bipolar illness frequently goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed. Thus, it may be very useful to have a consultation with a mental health professional who is skilled in diagnosing and treating this condition.
Although medications for bipolar disorder can be highly effective, expert help may be needed to minimize the risk for side effects and to closely monitor the treatment to achieve the best outcomes. Often more than one medicine is required to control the symptoms, stabilize the mood, and help with related problems such as anxiety and insomnia. Also, specialized forms of psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavior therapy, can add to the effects of medication in reducing symptoms and lowering the risk for relapse.
The Bipolar Disorder Program at the University of Louisville offers a wide range of services including consultations and “second opinions” to primary care physicians and psychiatrists, evidence-based treatment with medications and psychotherapy, educational presentations on mood disorders, and research [link to research section on bipolar disorder] geared toward developing more effective interventions. Under the leadership of Rif El-Mallakh, M.D., a team of specialists at the U of L Depression Center can help patients and families better understand and effectively manage bipolar disorder and related conditions.