Bipolar Disorder

As part of one of the largest psychiatry programs in the country, UT Southwestern Medical Center’s experienced psychiatrists, psychologists, and other behavioral health care professionals provide high-quality evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment for people with bipolar disorder.

Research-Driven Knowledge of Bipolar Disorder 

Formerly known as manic depression, bipolar disorder causes mood changes that are abnormally extreme. A period of elevated mood, in which a person feels uncharacteristically energetic or active, is called mania. A period of low mood is called depression.

UT Southwestern is home to one of the premier centers in the world for the study, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders, including bipolar disorder. As a major referral center, we treat thousands of patients each year, and this high volume enhances our knowledge and experience in providing excellent care for our patients.

Our physicians draw on the strength of UT Southwestern research, using the latest, most effective treatments to deliver exceptional behavioral health care for people in Dallas and throughout North Texas.


In addition to providing psychiatric care at UT Southwestern, we are pleased to offer expert consultation to community mental health providers and their patients.

Patients seeking a consultation at the Multispecialty Psychiatry Clinic should have their current mental health provider send a referral. Once a referral has been received, call 214-645-8300 to schedule the consultation.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Signs of bipolar disorder generally begin in late adolescence, although they can start earlier or later. The most obvious symptoms include swings from manic episodes to depressive episodes. Women tend to experience a depressive episode first; men tend to experience a manic episode first.

Symptoms of mania include:

  • Exaggerated optimism and self-confidence
  • Excessive happiness
  • Racing speech and thoughts
  • Easy distraction
  • Impulsive thoughts and lack of judgment
  • Reckless behavior
  • Increased aggressiveness
  • Decreased need for sleep

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Sadness and crying spells
  • Loss of energy
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Indifference and feelings of worthlessness
  • Lack of concentration and focus
  • Social withdrawal
  • Unexplained physical pain
  • Thoughts of suicide

While it’s unclear exactly what causes bipolar disorder, many experts believe a genetic component is involved.

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder

There is no specific test that can confirm bipolar disorder. The doctor will start by asking questions about the patient’s symptoms and feelings, as well as about the family’s medical history. To make a bipolar diagnosis, there must be at least one manic episode and one depressive episode.

Treating Bipolar Disorder

UT Southwestern’s skilled behavioral health professionals, including board-certified psychiatrists, offer safe, effective treatment to help patients with bipolar disorder improve their overall functioning and quality of life. Our physicians and researchers work together to translate our leading-edge research into evidence-based practices for patient care.

Our therapeutic approaches include:

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy for individuals, groups, or families, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Mindfulness training and other complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies
  • Neurostimulation such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Ketamine infusion therapy
  • Intensive outpatient treatment 

For people who need more intensive behavioral health care, we offer inpatient care to stabilize symptoms, improve well-being, and restore functional abilities to help patients get back to their daily activities. Learn more about inpatient psychiatry at UT Southwestern. 

Support Services

Our behavioral health professionals are dedicated to caring for the whole patient – body, mind, and spirit. With a focus on quality of life, we help connect patients and their families with support groups and other resources that can be tailored to meet their specific needs. Find out more about supportive services available for psychiatry and psychology patients.

Clinical Trials

Our physician researchers participate in clinical trials studying new therapies to treat behavioral health disorders, providing patients access to advanced treatments that aren’t available at most hospitals. 

Physicians in the Division of Psychiatry participate in numerous research studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). UT Southwestern is among the top 10 NIH partners for psychiatry research. Our clinical trials program gives patients access to treatments that are available years before they are offered to the general public. Learn more about psychiatry research at UT Southwestern.