Residential Treatment of Bipolar Disorder at CooperRiis
Residential treatment of bipolar disorder at CooperRiis starts when residents take part in a full psychiatric evaluation in which they give a history of their lives, symptoms, and illness. We pay special attention to the resident’s treatment experiences, both negative and positive. It is important to know what treatments and medications have been helpful or not, as symptoms of bipolar are so varied. It is also important to know if symptoms originate in or are exacerbated by an organic source. A common symptom of bipolar disorder may be insomnia. Undiagnosed asthma or allergies, also common causes of insomnia, must be treated along with other symptoms.
CooperRiis serves people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, anxiety, depression, PTSD, dual-diagnosis, and other psychotic spectrum disorders in an open and peaceful residential setting that allows individuals to progress through a continuum of care.
Evidence-Based Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Wellness Recovery Action Plan®
We ask that all residents participate in WRAP, a group that discusses what wellness and recovery entails. WRAP stands for:
Wellness – Recovery – Action – Plan
WRAP sessions are an opportunity for residents to identify:
- What it looks like when things are going well
- Helpful daily maintenance activities
- Their most significant triggers
- Early signs that symptoms may be worsening
- What typically happens for them when things are breaking down
- And most importantly, it develops a personalized plan for dealing with adverse symptoms when they appear.
Residents complete a written copy of their Wellness and Recovery Action Plan. The plan becomes a useful way for them to identify patterns and a helpful guide for maintaining a healthy and productive life.
Medication and Supplements
Every person is a unique individual, so we work to find the best dosage of medication that will result in reduced symptoms without such side effects as oversedation, sexual side effects, and mental fogginess. We want to minimize symptoms, but never at the expense of the resident’s well-being.
We believe the only sustainable solution is one where the quality of life goes together with symptom reduction and involves residents by asking them to keep us apprised of their symptoms and feelings.
Supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, and plant extracts, are also used in healing. The dosage of prescription medication may even be reduced if the supplements positively affect symptoms.
Medications generally used to treat bipolar disorder include:
- Mood stabilizers
- Atypical antipsychotics
The Recovery Model
At CooperRiis, we firmly believe that recovery is possible, which means that rather than focusing on an illness or a diagnosis, we shift the resident’s focus towards wellness and possibility. The Dream Statement helps residents embrace the concept that recovery and fulfilling life are possible.
Please continue reading this page for more about how Community and Family also play a role in recovery.
The Dream Statement
All residents who join us at CooperRiis describe the hopes and dreams for their lives in a Dream Statement.
Bipolar disorder is a disruptive illness that often wreaks havoc on a person’s life. The Dream Statement can help refocus the resident on more positive aspects of life rather than thinking about the negative impact of past experiences. The Dream Statement becomes a road map to their recovery.
Residents set individualized core goals that are achievable over weeks or months. These weekly and monthly goals are always aimed toward the larger dream.
For example, if a resident wants to work in a job that helps people (Dream Statement), then a short-term goal may be to eat three nutritious meals a day as healthy eating promotes the strength and energy necessary to help others. This weekly goal will help ensure that the resident is always working toward her or his dream.
By setting small achievable goals and plans for the future, residents start feeling hope, hopeful that their lives can change.
The dream gets closer with each small step forward.
The Healing Community Way: Treat the Whole Person
CooperRiis offers an array of mental health services such as individual psychotherapy, group therapy, structured work and learning opportunities, and structured social experiences in addition to medication. Every facet of the resident’s life is addressed.
Community is Essential in Recovery.
People with bipolar disorder sometimes socially withdraw because they fear what will happen if they are around people while suffering a manic or depressive episode. While this may seem helpful at the moment, it can result in more severe symptoms.
In our recovery plan meetings, we ask residents what it looks like when they are stable and doing well. Because of the nature of the bipolar disorder, it can be difficult in the beginning for residents to identify they are doing well or not. One advantage of being in a supportive community like CooperRiis is that others can reflect to residents when they are doing well. At CooperRiis, residents are not people identified by an illness but by their strengths and contributions. This sense of belonging helps to reduce shame and build self-esteem.
During discharge planning, we aim to re-create a supportive environment outside of CooperRiis. We hope our residents will continue practices and habits that will support their pursuit of a fulfilling life. And by addressing the seven domains that make a whole, healthy person, we help our residents develop coping skills they can take with them.
Seven Domains of a Whole, Healthy Person
Our residents work with an interdisciplinary recovery team comprised of mental health professionals with expertise in the above domains. Because every person is different, some domains will receive more emphasis than others, but all will be attended to.
Family Education and Support
The resident’s family is an essential part of their treatment team at CooperRiis. Family support of someone with mental illness can reduce re-hospitalization by up to 75 percent over three years (SAMHSA). Our families are also in need of recovery, support, and the tools to care for their loved ones. Strong families help support healthy recoveries.
Although we strongly encourage family participation, the resident guides and informs our communications with family members. We encourage our residents to reach out to their families in healthy and beneficial ways.
Each resident has a family liaison, a Recovery Coordinator, who communicates with family members regularly. Since bipolar disorder can cause disruptions and stress for the family, family members may also benefit from professional resources.
Some of the ways we support families are:
- Each resident has a family liaison/Recovery Coordinator
- Educating families about how they can best support their loved one
- Regular family meetings
- Family education weekends twice a year on our campus
Is Treatment for Bipolar Disorder at CooperRiis Effective?
The CooperRiis model of recovery works. Data collected over ten years show individual recovery progress within the CooperRiis residential program, which is based upon therapeutic community principles and a Seven Domains Enhanced Recovery Model (Young, Schactman and Snyder, 2014)
Results demonstrate recovery progress on many different domains of wellness in addition to symptom reduction, including gains in functioning, emotional well-being, sense of purpose, and hopefulness.
CooperRiis’ evidence-based clinical services and therapeutic community approach is supported by an extensive body of research and clinical experience. Medication, structured work routines, personal wellness, psychotherapy, and a strong supportive community can dramatically improve the symptoms and the lives of those with bipolar disorder.
2019 Alumni Survey Results
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Frequently Asked Questions
Bipolar disorders, also known as manic-depressive illness, cause changes in a person’s mood, energy, activity levels,categorized as manic, hypomanic, and depressive.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms and their severity vary from person to person. When making a diagnosis, we look for signs that indicate the person has experienced dramatic changes in mood, energy, sleep, and behavior. People with bipolar disorder will have episodes in which they feel overly happy and energized, and periods of feeling very sad and sluggish. In between these episodes, they usually feel normal.
To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a person must have experienced at least one manic or hypomanic episode. The first manic episode can start anytime from early childhood to later adulthood, but most often happens around age eighteen. People experiencing a manic episode will have more energy than usual and be very high spirited or extremely irritable for a period lasting at least one week. They will also demonstrate a minimum of three of the following, showing a change in behavior:
- Trouble sleeping, less need for sleep
- Feeling wired or restless
- Feeling elated
- Being agitated or irritable
- Talking more than usual
- Talking loudly or rapidly
- Distracted easily
- Increased activity levels, doing many activities at once, overscheduling
- Increased risky behavior (e.g., reckless sex, reckless driving, spending lots of money)
- Unusually high sex drive
- Uncontrollable racing thoughts
- Quickly changing ideas or topics
- Exaggerated self-esteem or grandiosity
- Being more impulsive than usual
- Drug and/or alcohol abuse
Everyone experiences mood swings and changes in behavior. In a manic episode, the symptoms are so severe that they cause issues at work or with family and friends. The signs are apparent and often worry, friends, family, and coworkers.
A hypomanic episode is a less severe manic episode with similar but more moderate symptoms that lasts four days in a row. People with hypomania can often function well in social situations and at work.
A major depressive episode is typically at least two weeks in which a person has at least five of the following symptoms, including one of the first two in the list:
- Intense sadness or despair; feeling helpless, hopeless, or worthless
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Feeling guilty
- Feeling worried
- Feeling empty
- Becoming forgetful
- Changes in sleep patterns such as sleeping too little or too much
- Feeling restless or agitated
- Slowed speech or movements
- Eating too much or too little
- Energy loss, fatigue
- Difficulty making decisions
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
- Decreased activity levels
- Difficulty concentrating
The Four Basic Types of Bipolar Disorder:
- Bipolar I disorder
- Bipolar II disorder
- Cyclothymic disorder
- Unspecified bipolar and related disorders
All four types of bipolar disorder involve changes in mood, energy, and activity levels at varying degrees.
Bipolar I Disorder
To be diagnosed with bipolar I disorder, someone must have a manic episode that lasts at least seven days or have manic symptoms so severe that a person requires immediate hospitalization. Usually, depressive episodes occur as well, but they are not necessary for diagnosis.
Bipolar II Disorder
With bipolar II disorder, people experience depressive episodes interspersed with hypomanic episodes.
Cyclothymic disorder is a milder form of bipolar disorder. And persons may experience a chronically unstable mood state with alternating hypomania and depression symptoms. These symptoms may last for at least two years but still less severe than those in bipolar I or bipolar II.
Other Specified and Unspecified
Those who do not meet the diagnosis criteria for bipolar I, bipolar II, or cyclothymic disorder but still experience significant mood swings and mood elevation may likely receive a Bipolar Disorder diagnosis either “other specified” or “unspecified.”
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