veteran with Bipolar Disorder
We understand mental illness and the difficulties it creates for those who suffer from it. At our San Diego Mental Health Treatment Center we are sensitive to your challenges. Solara will find every possible solution to enable you to live the life that you are meant to live.

Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymic Disorder, and “Not Otherwise Classified” are the four categories of Bipolar Disorder. They all share similar features with varying severities of bipolar episodes, though, each diagnosis is unique.

People with a Bipolar Disorder experience Manic (or hypomanic) Episodes and Depressive Episodes. Each episode has altering symptoms and is experienced differently for each individual, often evolving over time.

Bipolar Disorder can reveal itself at any age but is most commonly uncovered in teenage years or early 20s. This is thought to happen due to hormonal changes and the development of the brain during adolescence and early adulthood.

Genetic predisposition is thought to play a role in the development of Bipolar Disorder. There is a strong correlation between the disorder and a family history of it, though, there is no definite singular gene to blame for the complex disease. Environmental factors are thought to provoke these predispositions. The genes most strongly associated with Bipolar Disorder are also linked to Major Depression and Schizophrenia. These diseases share similar features including depression and psychosis.

Both episodes include a heightened mood. Though, a manic episode may potentially trigger a break from reality (psychosis), whereas a hypomanic episode is milder and without delusions.

You don’t have to tell your boss about your Bipolar Disorder. However, it might be a good idea to explain your condition if it becomes a problem in the workplace. That way, your coworkers might become more understanding, sympathetic, and helpful through triggering circumstances.

Aim for a job with consistent hours and structured processes. Avoid jobs with extreme fluctuations tied to emotions. Routine work like accounting or teaching is best. Relentless jobs like sales or stock market jobs could trigger episodes frequently, worsening symptoms.

Learn as much as you can about the disorder and the person you care for. Try to understand their condition and support them through getting treatment for it. Try not to be pushy, though, and remember to take care of yourself.

Mental Health and Wellness

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder in San Diego

We can help you understand, stabilize, and control the disruptive and distressing Bipolar Disorder symptoms. Our clinical team of psychiatric and therapeutic experts offers the best Bipolar Disorder treatment in San Diego and specializes in all other mood disorders.

Bipolar Disorder Explained

Bipolar disorder is a psychological condition manifested by pronounced mood swings that include manic episodes and depressive episodes. Manic episodes are characterized as periods of heightened moods, self-esteem, and energy. Opposing depressive episodes are characterized as periods of lowered moods, self-esteem, and energy.

These mood swings can affect sleep, energy levels, activity interest, judgment, behavior, and clarity of thought. Mood swings may occur infrequently, or they may occur multiple times a year. Most people will experience some of the hypomanic episodes or depressive symptoms between actual episodes, although some may not experience any symptoms at all.

Bipolar Disorder Types and Symptoms

Symptoms of bipolar disorder range from person to person and are classified into four types:

  • Bipolar I Disorder: Manic episodes may be accompanied by psychosis. Manic episodes typically last a week, whereas depressive episodes last roughly two weeks.
  • Bipolar II Disorder: More commonly seen in women, this type experiences major depressive episodes with ‘hypomanic’ episodes. Hypomanic episodes usually last about four days and are milder than full-blown manic episodes. Depressive episodes typically last a couple of weeks.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: People with cyclothymia may experience a month or two of stable moods. Symptoms of hypomania and bipolar depression are usually less severe than the other two types but may occur more often.
  • Not elsewhere classified: Any other types that do not meet the above circumstances are listed here (such as bipolar mood changes induced by drugs or another disease).

It may appear that type I is a less severe form of bipolar disorder than type II, but this is not true. Manic episodes of type I are more severe, and sometimes merit hospitalization. However, depressive episodes in type II last longer and can be more debilitating than type I.

Mania and Hypomania

While the two types of episodes are different, they share the same symptoms. Hypomanic symptoms are less severe, while manic symptoms may trigger a break from reality.

Both manic and hypomanic episodes may include a few or more of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme uncontrollable energy
  • Euphoria and unfitting extreme happiness
  • Often getting distracted and bored
  • Underperforming at work or school
  • Aggressive and unrealistic planning for the future
  • Feeling like anything is possible
  • Excessive confidence, self-esteem, and sense of self-importance
  • Racing thoughts
  • Rapid speech that bounces from one topic to another
  • Hyper-sexual thoughts, libido, or activity
  • Trouble sleeping, but showing no signs of fatigue
  • Denial of a manic or hypomanic state

Psychosis in a manic episode may result in delusions such as one believing they have special abilities or supreme social connections.

Depressive Episodes

During depressive episodes, a person may experience:

  • Emptiness, emotional darkness, and hopelessness
  • Extreme sadness (major depression)
  • Changes in appetite and metabolism
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue and oversleeping
  • Anxiety over insignificant things
  • Shortened attention span and problems remembering
  • Difficulty facing obligations and responsibilities
  • Abnormal irritability, getting triggered by things that are normally tolerated easily
  • Guilt, feeling that everything that goes wrong is their fault
  • Inexplicable pains or aches
  • Lack of interest in activities that usually bring joy

Though not as common, depressive episodes can cause psychosis too. Major depressive episodes can include hallucinations or delusions, such as believing that they are ruined.

To learn more about signs and symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, find more and try out our Bipolar Self-Test based on official DSM-5 criteria.

Causes and Risk Factors

Bipolar disorders are common mental illnesses, but their exact causes are somewhat a mystery. However, these mental disorders are commonly linked to one’s brain structure and genetics.

It’s most likely that a combination of one’s genetics, brain structure, and environmental factors are to blame for developing bipolar disorder.

Specific genes may be responsible. However, no single gene establishes the illness. These genes include hormonal genes and others accountable for brain chemistry. Those who have family members with a bipolar disorder are more at risk — roughly five times more likely than someone without a family history.

Studies have shown that brain structure in those affected by bipolar disorder differs from those without the disease. Still, symptoms are used for diagnosis rather than brain imaging at this time.

Environmental risk factors may also increase the risk of developing the disease or triggering a manic episode or depressive episode. Such factors include:

  • High stress or traumatic events
  • Physical illnesses
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Closely related relatives with a bipolar disorder

Co-occurring Conditions

People with bipolar disorder likely suffer from other mental health conditions that need to be treated. These additional conditions may worsen Bipolar disorder or make Bipolar treatment less successful. Some of these co-occurring conditions include:

Bipolar Disorder Treatment Options

The first vital step in treating bipolar disorder is confirming an accurate diagnosis through proper professional assessment and evaluation. Psychiatrists, like our bipolar specialists in San Diego, can conduct diagnostics within 24 hours of your arrival at our mental health facility.

Treatments for bipolar disorder include using medicine, therapy, and adopting behavioral changes. Some natural treatments and alternative medicines may be useful too.


Standard suggested medications may include one or more of the following:

  • Mood stabilizers — such as lithium, is typically the first drug prescribed by medical professionals as it is affordable, very effective, and safe in low doses.
  • Antipsychotics — such as olanzapine, as it has antidepressant properties and can enhance the efficiency of anti-manic mood stabilizers.
  • Antidepressants — such as fluoxetine, can be used during depressive episodes.
  • Benzodiazepines — such as alprazolam, can be used short term for anxiety symptoms.

Typically, mood stabilizers are the only medicines used long term, and others are prescribed for as-needed usage.

Natural Medicine

Evidence shows that some natural or ‘alternative medicines’ may be useful in treating bipolar disorders:

  • Fish oils — EPA and DHA fatty acids may help chemical imbalances in the brain.
  • S-adenosylmethionine — may also be useful in treating bipolar depression. It’s an amino acid, but must be used carefully as it can trigger manic episodes.
  • N-acetylcysteine — facilitates the naturally occurring antioxidant glutathione, which can be disturbed by bipolar disorders. Adding 2 grams per day, in addition to traditional medicines, has led to an improvement in nearly all symptoms.
  • Choline — has been seen to reduce manic symptoms in harmony with lithium.
  • Inositol — may boost the effectiveness of select mood stabilizers and antidepressants if resisted by the patient.
  • Rhodiola Rosea — may be useful in treating mild bipolar depression.

Note that these naturally occurring medicines also have side effects and may adversely react with certain foods or medications. Solara Mental Health does not advocate for using the above natural medicines without the supervision of a medical professional.


Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” is viewed as a vital bipolar disorder treatment method. It helps patients understand their symptoms and triggers so that they can manage their condition better.

These treatments may be given in private, family, or group settings:

  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT): IPSRT teaches life skills, building a healthy rhythmic lifestyle. These skills may make changes to the patient’s sleep cycle, diet, eating schedules, mood management, and exercise.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT identifies unhealthy negative behaviors and attitudes and replaces them with positive ones. One form of CBT, DBT, targets how one speaks. Addressing these problems can help manage the response to triggers.


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) may be able to treat depression during depressive episodes of bipolar disorder. It’s become a useful emerging technology in mental health. When used concurrently with other treatment options, it may accelerate mental health improvement.

Solara’s Bipolar Treatment for Veterans

Solara Mental Health in San Diego is focused on giving veterans a supportive and safe environment to recover from their bipolar disorder. Our mental health treatment facility recognizes that each veteran will have their personal needs, and we will customize their treatment plan to help with their specific diagnosis and symptoms.

Solara is VA contracted as a community care provider, which gives us the unique opportunity to help veterans with their mental health needs, including bipolar disorder treatment. Once authorization is approved, we provide housing, transportation, and accommodations.

Solara’s San Diego Bipolar Treatment Center

Solar Mental Health has the best bipolar disorder treatment in San Diego. Our primary focus is to enable you to successfully manage Bipolar disorder symptoms and any attending disorders so that you can leave the life you are meant to live.

Our bipolar specialists work in every step in the process to establish a lasting enjoyable lifestyle.

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, our doctor will survey the medications you are prescribed, if any. Then, they can determine their appropriateness, and make any changes needed to them, or prescribe you more effective drugs.

In conjunction with the doctor, our clinical team will create a comprehensive treatment plan, predicated on your specific symptoms, co-occurring disorders, history, and other considerations. These plans offer all of the above listed bipolar disorder treatment options, which you will undergo while you are participating in our program.

Your psychiatrist, case manager, primary therapist, adjunctive treatment professionals, and all other support teams with regularly review and modify your treatment plan to ensure that you are progressing and improving as intended. The experts at our bipolar disorder treatment center in San Diego are first-rate.

If you think you may have bipolar disorder, give us a call, and we can work with your insurance through our evaluation and treatment stages. If you are already treating your bipolar disorder but are unhappy with your current treatment plan, give us a call, and we’ll work tirelessly to build an effective strategy for you.

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What Our Clients Say

Michelle Family

I want to thank you and the entire staff and support system at Solara for taking such good care of my sister. On behalf of my entire family, we want you all to understand that your patience and kindness stretches further than you can see… Thank you, again and again, from the bottom of my heart.

Watson Family

Solara’s program was such a positive experience for our mom (and for us)! She had become almost impossible to deal with. Your entire staff was phenomenally supportive and kind and patient with her. We feel like we’ve got our mom back, now.


Solara was truly a life-changing experience for me and for our children, because of what you did for my wife! The treatment team was phenomenally supportive and perfect for helping her with her anxiety and depression. We are all now moving forward to put our lives back together and it started with you all in Pacific Beach. Thank you for what you do.


We are so grateful to you for the treatment and care you provided our daughter. She is doing unbelievably well now thanks to your program. We will gladly tell anyone we encounter that needs treatment about the wonderful work you do at Solara.


I have never felt better than I do now, since completing your program. The truly caring and supportive staff and the intensive program changed my life. What a neat place to stay for treatment - I love Pacific Beach! I have learned skills and behavior to move forward with my life thanks to you.


Even though I’m not religious, I realized when I got sober that for the first time in my life I wanted to explore my spiritual side. I benefited hugely from the individual spiritual sessions that I had with Chris. I’m really grateful for that aspect of the whole treatment experience.

M.P. – Father

Your program provided our daughter with the most masterful therapist we have ever encountered (and we have used many).  She has had an unbelievable ability to see the long-term trajectory of our daughter’s treatment and to approach her treatment in stages that fit where my daughter’s development was.  We can’t say enough positive about her.

R.M. – Father

If not for Solara Mental Health, I am almost positive that our daughter would not be as advanced in her treatment, and would not have the almost miraculous confident and positive outlook that she has.


The program has given me the tools I needed to really gain stability. For the first time in years - maybe for as long as I can remember, actually, I’m learning how to cope and manage my stressors and triggers. I now believe that I can find some relief and happiness.


The Solara program is truly amazing. I’ve never had more clarity or more good energy in my entire life. The attention the physicians and the therapists gave me was outstanding. I feel like they truly understood and addressed my issues, which had consumed my life for years. Thank you all.


The Solara Treatment Program was a life-changing experience for me. To be able to heal in such a beautiful, peaceful environment, with such a terrific treatment team, was so amazingly positive. I have found my true self, again. I thank you and my family thanks you for helping me become the person I was meant to be.


The therapists and counselors and really whole team were extremely beneficial to me and my understanding of my issues. The treatment plan they developed was exactly what I needed