821 FM 97.3 WZBG, third Wednesday of March already. And we catch up with the professionals at the McCall Center, or the McCall Behavioral Health Network this time of month. And this time we want to welcome back Joy Pendola. Joy is Chief Clinical Officer there. Joy, good morning. Good morning, Gail. How are you? I’m well. Good morning. Good morning, Dale. How are you? I’m well. Thanks for joining us on the live line this morning after that nor’easter. Hopefully not too bad in your neck of the woods. No, I did pretty well. Thanks for asking. All right. Glad to hear that. All right.
Our topic today is we’re going to talk about bipolar disorder. Let’s start really with a bit of a definition. You know, bipolar, I can remember inappropriately years ago, years ago, you know, anybody who is moody, it’s like, you know, are you bipolar? But let’s look beyond that. What are we talking about here? Well, and I’m glad you pointed that out because especially the past few years, you know, a lot of terminology used in our field of behavioral health has become kind of part of the common vernacular to describe people in a lot of ways, including diagnoses. And I think it’s actually created some including diagnoses. And I think it’s actually stated some misperceptions of actually what it is. But bipolar disorder is a significant mental health disorder. It is typically developed signs are usually in late adolescence to early adulthood when they start. And there is significant symptoms beyond Symptoms beyond moodiness.
These are persistent and extreme highs and lows for an individual experiencing bipolar. So I mean, somebody with a significant bipolar disorder may have up episodes that could last for days, even weeks, where they don’t need sleep. They have racing thoughts. They have an excessive desire for food or substances or shopping or sex. So that can be really debilitating to their day-to-day life. And then there are the also extreme lows, where somebody can feel very depressed and anxious, who have low energy and, you know, could really have a lack of interest in their usual activities. in their usual activities. So to kind of manage, you know, these extremes that can happen, you know, a few times a year too persistently, it’s a very difficult illness to manage and it can be often lifelong. Do we know what causes bipolar disorder? Is there a root cause? We don’t know yet and that’s actually And that’s actually very common for a lot of mental health disorders, not knowing the root cause yet.
I’m very encouraged by the advances in science that I do feel very confident we will find a root cause in the future. Right now, there are indications that it runs in families, so there’s a genetic predisposition. It doesn’t mean that just because you have a family member with bipolar, you will also have bipolar. It doesn’t mean that just because you have a family member with bipolar, you will also have bipolar, but it does seem to run in families. And also, they’re seeing that there are some differences in brain structure with people with bipolar as opposed to people without bipolar. I think in working with people with bipolar for many years now, I have found the individuals the individuals I’ve worked with being some of the most intelligent, creative, intuitive people I’ve ever met.
And I think that they’re eventually going to find a link between bipolar disorder and creativity and intelligence. Even without knowing what the root cause is right now, we do have some really good treatments we do have some really good treatments that can allow for people with even significant bipolar 1 disorder to have very fruitful lives and maintain work and relationships and everything else in quality of life. Now I know it can be misdiagnosed, some symptoms similar to other issues. It makes me think of someone who has clinical depression, except maybe without the manic highs. except maybe without the manic highs, but it is possible there are effective treatments anyway and maybe a commonality approach to these issues.
There is, absolutely. I mean before you diagnose anybody with bipolar disorder you really have to even go the route of doing a medical examination and lab work. There’s thyroid conditions that actually mimic a lot of the symptoms of bipolar conditions that actually mimic a lot of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. There’s other mental health disorders like schizophrenia that may also look like bipolar disorder. And also, you know, having a substance use disorder, you know, the periods of use and the periods of not using oftentimes can look like symptoms. compounding too is that substance use and bipolar disorder often go hand in hand as well. So you really do have to look at family history and you have to look at those significant upward trends of mania or hypomania and then those depressive episodes to really determine and rule out any other conditions or issues. Our guest this morning is Joy Pandola. Joy is chief clinical officer at Our guest this morning is Joy Pandola.
Joy is Chief Clinical Officer at the McCall Behavioral Health Network. We’re talking about bipolar disorder this morning. If there’s folks out there listening, they’ve got a family member, somebody close to them, who is suffering this condition or dealing with this condition on a daily basis, how can they help because I know this can be a challenge in relationships. It absolutely can. And this impacts loved ones and families deeply. Absolutely can, and this impacts loved ones and families deeply. I mean, imagine somebody you love, you know, witnessing them going through, you know, these challenges and these extremes.
And also, you know, particularly at the highest highs and the lowest lows, you know, just characterly looking very, very different as a person. And also, potentially doing things during a manic episode that is completely out of during a manic episode that is completely out of character. And it can be scary because at-risk behaviors also can come up. But family members, I encourage them to be part of treatment, encourage a loved one who has bipolar disorder to maintain their treatment. There are good medications out there. Mood stabilizers and antipsychotics are typically utilized and can help with mood regulation are typically utilized and can help with mood regulation and decreasing symptoms.
There’s certainly, you know, basic things like sleep. Sleep is so important to managing mood and can, you know, lack of sleep can trigger an episode for somebody with bipolar disorder. Nutrition, exercise are also great mood stabilizers. And family and loved ones oftentimes can see the triggers to an episode or early and loved ones oftentimes can see the triggers to an episode or early signs of it. They can be very, very beneficial to someone to prevent any kind of escalation. So it’s kind of important that they engage and be part of the solution to this. Absolutely, and also get the support they need as well. Joy, it’s a pleasure having you on the show. I hope we’ve opened people’s eyes a little bit about bipolar disorder.
We all hear about it. bipolar disorder. We all hear about it. Only those close to somebody who has the condition really know what they’re dealing with, but we hope we’ve shed a little light on it this morning and we appreciate your time. Thanks so much, Dale. Have a great day. We’ll talk to you again soon. Thank you. Bye-bye. Joy Pandola is Chief Clinical Officer at the McCall Behavioral Health Network. Bipolar disorder, our subject this morning. We’ll get back to the newsroom, catch up with Jeff We’ll get back to the newsroom, catch up with Jeff there.
Following the news, we’ll have a Storm Center update here on FM 97.3.