Are you suffering from bipolar disorder and looking for support from an English-speaking psychiatrist in Barcelona?

In everyday life, everyone experiences emotions such as joy, sadness or anger and some feel able to manage these fluctuations. However, people with bipolar disorder experience their emotions with an excessive intensity and sometimes have difficulty controlling them, often resulting in difficulties in fulfilling their professional, family and social obligations. This mental health illness is diagnosable, treatable and should be recognised as soon as possible for effective help and support.

If this is the case for you and you are looking for support to regain control over your life and daily activities, do not hesitate to make an appointment with our psychiatric and mental health team.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder refers to a chronic psychological illness that causes mood disturbances. This mental health illness was formerly called "manic-depressive psychosis" and is characterised by alternating phases of excitement and depression, that are more extreme than the norm.

What is bipolar disorder characterised by?

During manic episodes, patients are extremely active and feel euphoric and elated. They make big plans and can spend a lot of money without worrying about the consequences, among other things. These episodes may be accompanied by excessive consumption of alcohol or other substances.

During depressive episodes, on the other hand, bipolar people feel the other extreme: very sad and lose all desire for activity. In some cases, depressive episodes are even accompanied by suicidal thoughts.

In some people, there are also mixed episodes in which the person has symptoms of both mania and depression.

It should also be noted that bipolar disorder varies in severity from person to person, which often complicates the diagnosis.

Bipolar disorder symptoms: how do you know if you are bipolar?

Firstly, a manic episode can be recognized by the continuous presence, for at least one week, of several of the following signs and symptoms, including:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Accelerated rate of speech
  • Decreased sense of fatigue
  • Feeling of intense happiness
  • Inordinate self-esteem
  • Lack of judgment
  • Increased social activity and interaction
  • Impulsive behaviours

Conversely, depressive episodes are characterised by the continuous presence, for at least two weeks, of several of the following signs and symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Intense sadness
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of interest in activities that normally give pleasure
  • Sense of failure
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts
Bipolar disorder symptoms

Lastly, if you have symptoms, don't wait to seek help. The earlier a person with bipolar disorder seeks help, the more likely they are to regain control of their life quickly.

 

"The best help for a mental patient is to listen, not be judgmental and to understand that they are dealing with something that is overwhelming and that is not voluntary."

- Dr. Elvira Herrería, our psychiatrist

What causes bipolar disorder?

The cause of bipolar disorder is not always easy to determine. It is often a combination of several factors that lead to the onset of symptoms.

It seems that people with bipolar disorder suffer from biological disturbances in the functioning and communication of brain cells, as well as possible genetic differences.

In susceptible individuals, bipolar disorder can also be triggered by such things as:

  • Stress
  • High levels of fatigue
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • The onset of an illness (e.g. hyperthyroidism)
  • Taking certain medications

However, a bipolar disorder can also develop without any favourable or triggering element.

Bipolar disorder: tests and diagnosis

The diagnosis of bipolar disorder is most essentially a clinical one. It is made during a psychiatric examination, where symptoms and signs are observed. In order for the doctor to be able to make the correct diagnosis, it is essential that the patient recounts all the symptoms they experience, from the most insignificant to the most important.

There is also a self-assessment test based on the Goldberg system for measuring depression and mania. This screening questionnaire is designed to measure the severity of bipolar thoughts and behaviour.

Once diagnosed, bipolar disorder is generally classified into one of two categories:

  • Bipolar 1 disorder is characterised by the occurrence of one or more episodes of mania.
  • Bipolar 2 disorder is characterised by the occurrence of one or more episodes of major depression and one or more episodes of hypomania.

Throughout the process, our psychiatrist will keep you well-informed with a focus on your overall wellbeing. Feel at ease with our mental health professionals that work in our warm, international environment.

The treatment of bipolar disorder at Turó Park Medical Clinic

The first phase of treatment at the Turó Park Medical Clinic's Psychiatry Department is focused on a comprehensive medical and psychological assessment to determine the diagnosis and type of bipolar disorder presented by the patient, as well as the search for any associated pathologies.

Once the diagnosis has been established, the treatment of bipolar disorders is based on three axes:

Medication treatments

Essentially these aim to reduce symptoms in the event of an acute episode (whether manic or depressive), and to prevent relapses by stabilising the mood in the long term.

Psychotherapies

Whether it is cognitive and behavioural, interpersonal or group therapy, psychotherapy seems to be effective both in treating acute episodes and in stabilising mood and limiting long-term relapses. Hypnosis has also shown very good results, allowing the bipolar patient to learn to identify his or her moments of sensitivity and anxiety, and to live with family and colleagues without feeling any blockage.

Psychoeducation

This approach aims to help patients and those around them to acquire the knowledge necessary to better adapt to the illness.

 

In severe cases of manic or depressive episodes, especially when suicidal thoughts are present or when the patient's excessive behaviour poses a risk to their own health and wellbeing, to that of those around them or their own property, hospitalisation is necessary.

Bipolar disorder: our responses to your most frequently asked questions

People who have bipolar disorder experience an emotions like a yo-yo: they may experience the events of their daily lives with deep sadness or with extreme happiness.

The most important thing to seek is diagnosis from a professional, such as a psychiatrist.

A person with bipolar disorder experiences their emotions with excessive intensity, alternating between phases of excitement and depression. If this is the case for you, it is best to consult a doctor so that a diagnosis can be made.

Bipolar disorder was formerly called manic depression. They are the same condition.
Bipolar people are not dangerous to those around them. However, living with a person with bipolar is not easy, and the person will need a lot of support, attention and without judgement.
Bipolar disorder is a real and long-term condition. A person can experience different emotions in the course of a day without becoming bipolar.
Without treatment, the illness can worsen by "imprinting" inadequate functioning circuits on the brain, whereas the brain can "repair" itself with treatment. Professional support is essential for treatment.
A bipolar person experiences alternating manic and depressive phases on a chronic basis. A self-assessment test based on the Goldberg system of measuring depression and mania can be useful in determining whether a person is really bipolar.
Listen to their suffering and help them to analyse the situation more objectively. Try to stay with them for as long as possible throughout the episode and, above all, be alert to any suicidal thoughts so that you can intervene and get help if necessary.

 

Our psychiatrist

Dr. Elvira Herrería

Psychiatrist 🇬🇧 🇪🇸
Treatment of mild and severe mental illnesses
Addiction treatment
Child psychiatry
Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder
See profile