What is Our Approach to Treatment for Bipolar Disorder?
In serious cases, bipolar disorder treatment is often compromised by the extreme mood swings that accompany both manic and depressive phases. This creates roadblocks that make it difficult for bipolar disorder sufferers to maintain their recovery by:
- consistently complying with instructions for medications necessary to regulate mood
- actively engaging in outpatient treatment
- avoiding destructive choices in her efforts to cope with her symptoms
When treatment fails to provide relief, feelings of hopelessness and emotional despair often overwhelm both the sufferer and her loved ones.
At Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, each woman with bipolar disorder will receive consistent emotional support as she begins to learn healthy ways to experience her mood and emotions. Our staff takes a holistic, integrated approach to support women who suffer the ups and downs of bipolar disorder in finding stability. They also recognize that a long history of struggling with manic and depressive symptoms can trigger addictive behavior patterns, and vice versa, which requires special care. That’s why many women require more integrated treatment for bipolar disorder and other mood disorders. Specifically:
- Women whose manic and depressive symptoms have led to long-term changes in their diet require support from experts in treatment and recovery from anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders.
- Women who habitually self-medicate with addictive substances such as drugs, alcohol or unprescribed medications need assistance from specialists in the treatment of substance abuse and chemical dependency.
Our Treatment Helps Manage the Emotions of Bipolar Disorder
Supported by leading mood disorder treatment experts, each resident suffering with bipolar disorder will explore ways to become more mindful of her feelings. Our bipolar disorder treatment program encompasses the entirety of the woman’s being:
- Social relationships
Each resident also receives coaching and reinforcement in key areas of interpersonal skills, distress tolerance and management, reality acceptance skills, and emotional regulation skills.
One of the benefits of bipolar disorder treatment at a holistic residential treatment center like Timberline Knolls is that a woman will realize she is not alone, either in experiencing emotional swings or struggling to recover from co-occurring disorders or addictions. We understand the importance of making women feel secure expressing feelings associated with periods of depression or mania without being judged for their disease. A woman with bipolar depression will learn from staff and other residents who understand her struggle to make constructive choices and seek necessary support when her feelings become overwhelming.
How Do Treatment Plans Address Bipolar Disorder and Other Co-Occurring Addictions?
Given the prevalence of co-occurring addictions in women with bipolar disorder, treatment success depends on an accurate diagnosis by a treatment team experienced in the assessment of both mood disorders and substance abuse. Addiction can develop as the sufferer attempts to manage the side effects of manic and depressive phases, and mood instability can develop or worsen in the context of an active addition. This makes it challenging even for many experienced psychiatrists to isolate bipolar disorder symptoms from complications of substance abuse or chemical dependency.
At Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, bipolar disorder treatment plans, like those for other addictive behaviors and psychiatric conditions, consider all accumulated knowledge about a resident. We utilize the experience of our entire mood disorders and addiction treatment staff to customize her care. This collaborative approach is one of the distinguishing elements of treatment for depressive disorders, eating disorders and other addictions at a leading rehab facility like Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.
Consideration of each woman’s treatment needs begins during the admissions process. Both the woman and her family provide background about her challenges, manic and depressive symptoms and any history of addiction. After obtaining consent, we speak to her prior treatment providers to gather additional information about her medical history, mood disorder treatment progress and obstacles to achieving or maintaining recovery from any co-occurring addictions or eating disorders.
In the case of each school age woman, we coordinate closely with her home school to understand the roadblocks her bipolar disorder symptoms may have created. We do this to make sure that she will continue to progress towards graduation during residential treatment.
Once she is admitted, each woman undergoes a comprehensive assessment by one of our psychiatrists. She is then assigned a treatment team with three core members, whom she will meet in the coming days:
- A Primary Therapist
- A Family Therapist
- A Psychiatrist
A woman who exhibits symptoms of an unaddressed personality disorder or other co-occurring psychiatric disorders may undergo additional testing to confirm that her residential treatment program addresses each of her illnesses. Each treatment team member also completes a thorough written assessment within the woman’s first days at Timberline Knolls. The findings from these assessments are shared with our entire clinical and medical staff, who agrees on the components of treatment.
The primary therapist will discuss treatment recommendations with the woman, who will have input into the goals for her treatment and will be encouraged to choose several elective elements of her program. Each school-age resident will also have input on her academic coursework. She will be asked to sign off on her treatment objectives and the progression of her treatment plan, as we find it essential for each woman to give her input and take ownership of her recovery from the outset.
The treatment team will meet weekly throughout the resident’s stay, and members consult each other informally as often as needed to remain abreast of her progress. If new symptoms appear, a resident may also undergo additional psychological evaluation to insure bipolar disorder treatment considers all relevant aspects of her mental health.
Additionally, women with other medical symptoms or complications from bulimia or anorexia may be referred to consulting healthcare providers such as a cardiologist, endocrinologist, gynecologist, dentist or nephrologist.
What Will You Experience At Our Treatment Center?
A woman’s experience at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center may differ dramatically from other bipolar disorder treatment programs, drug rehab facilities or eating disorder treatment centers she has attended in the past. That is our intent.
Comprehensive, Integrated Treatment and Recovery
Every woman recovering from bipolar disorder, anorexia or bulimia, or substance abuse must develop tools she can trust to help manage her symptoms and give her the best chances at keeping her illness in remission. We work with our residents to help them learn to identify the conscious choices they are making throughout their day when they confront feelings associated with their mania or depression. Our supportive team offers continuous feedback and reinforcement as women learn to employ new tools in situations where intense feelings would have triggered them to turn to alcohol, drugs or misuse of prescriptions, or anorexic and bulimic behaviors. As they gain confidence in their ability to maintain stability in their mood and make healthy choices, women experience improved self-esteem, serenity, body acceptance, reduced stress and anxiety, healing of trauma, and increased self-awareness.
Our comprehensive and individualized treatment plans use approaches proven to help women learn to improve experience their emotions in healthy ways and develop the tools to recover from mood disorders and depressive disorders. Specific examples include:
- one-on-one therapy sessions
- expressive and recreational therapy
- education about disease processes and recovery
- group sessions to teach and practice behavior modification and emotion management
- family therapy (including family participation, if appropriate)
- twelve-step facilitation, including onsite and offsite meetings of EA (Emotions Anonymous) and Alanon
- weekly psychiatric consultation
- trauma awareness and recovery
- educational services for school-age women
Expressive Therapy Provides A Productive Outlet for Complex Emotions
Expressive therapy has been clinically proven to promote healing and recovery, in addition to providing a needed creative outlet for women during their treatment and after they return to their home environment. For women who may have suffered setbacks in their schooling or career because of uncontrolled bipolar disorder symptoms, expressive therapy may be particularly therapeutic and healing.
Our expressive therapy program includes a variety of outlets a woman can choose based on her personal interests:
- art therapy in a historical art studio that supports painting, sculpture and other medias
- dance/movement therapy
- empowerment group
- movement therapy
- outdoor recreation such as volleyball, basketball, soccer, badminton or gardening on our 43 acre campus
Why do we Focus on Co-Existing Conditions With Bipolar Disorder?
When treating women and girls for eating disorders, mood disorders, or other addictive behaviors, our specialized treatment team at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center never assumes we are treating an isolated disease. Frequently, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, drug addiction, or alcoholism develops from attempts by a woman to either:
- Reduce feelings of self-hatred, shame, or anxiety caused by mood disorders or other co-occurring psychiatric conditions
- Control intense emotions related to some unresolved traumatic experience in her past, which may be exacerbated by the swings caused by a mood disorder
Women suffering from bipolar disorder and a co-occurring eating disorder or chemical dependency face unique challenges that require specialized treatment and support in recovery. For these women, the holistic, integrated treatment approach at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center can provide new hope for recovery from a bipolar disorder and confidence in a bright future.
Co-occurring eating disorders and mood disorders are recognized frequently in women with bipolar disorder. However, medical and behavioral health professionals, whose primary concern is addressing chemical dependency, anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder, do not always address bipolar disorder appropriately. Medical researchers have found that a large percentage of those who have an addiction or chemical dependency also have at least one other mental illness and/or personality disorder. Co-occurring disorders describe a situation when addictive behavior persists along with at least one other psychiatric illness that is active and affects the user’s addictive behavior patterns. Women with co-occurring disorders tend to have more severe symptoms of each illness and higher potential for relapse.
Examples of other psychiatric conditions frequently co-exist with substance abuse, eating disorders, and other addictive behaviors are:
- anxiety disorders
- panic disorders
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- various phobias and compulsions
For women with co-occurring disorders, attempts to treat only the mood disorder, substance abuse, or eating disorder in isolation is at best incomplete, and at worst futile and counterproductive. This is true both for women whose symptoms of addiction or withdrawal are wrongly diagnosed as bipolar disorder, and for those incorrectly diagnosed as suffering from major depression. In each case, overcoming her the effects of ineffective treatment to reach life-long recovery requires both an understanding of each disease and empathy for the complex emotions that arise in the sufferer.
Call Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center today to learn more about how our mood disorder treatment specialists may help you or your loved one overcome bipolar disorder, anorexia, bulimia, substance abuse, or other co-occurring disorders. We accept women and girls (ages 12 and up) for admission seven days a week.