Flavia van Riel, MD -  - Psychiatrist

Flavia van Riel, MD

Psychiatrist located in Miami Beach, FL & Coral Gables, Miami, FL

Bipolar Disorder Specialist

Dr. Flavia van Riel diagnoses and treats bipolar disorders in her patients living in the greater Miami area. She helps patients regulate their moods and emotions and return to normal daily activities with customized modalities from her private practices in Miami Beach and Miami, Florida.

Bipolar Disorder Q & A

What are bipolar disorders?


Bipolar disorders used to be referred to as manic-depressive illnesses because of the extreme changes in mood, energy, and activity levels ranging from very up or manic to very low or depressed. There are four types of bipolar disorders characterized by the experience of the patient.

  • Bipolar I disorder is characterized by manic episodes that last for 7 days or more. Patients who experience Bipolar I are often hospitalized for their manic symptoms. When the patient has a downward swing into depression, the low feelings last for 2 weeks or more. It is also possible for a patient to demonstrate both manic and depressive symptoms at the same time.
  • Bipolar II disorder is diagnosed when a patient experiences depressive episodes and hypomanic periods. Hypomanic symptoms are less severe than those experienced during a manic episode present in Bipolar I.
  • Cyclothymic disorder is characterized by long periods of depression which can last for 2 years or more with numerous periods of hypomania. Typically the symptoms experienced do not meet the DSM-V criteria for either Bipolar I or Bipolar II.
  • Other specified and unspecified bipolar disorders are diagnosed when a patient presents some of the symptoms associated with bipolar disorder, but those symptoms do not match the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of the other bipolar disorders.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorders?

Bipolar disorders are characterized by abnormally intense emotions. Many patients experience changes in sleep patterns, activity levels, and behavior. For a complete diagnosis of a bipolar disorder, patients must present at least 3 manic symptoms and 4 depressive symptoms. The depressive symptoms must last for 2 weeks or more. Some of the symptoms associated with manic episodes include:

  • Feelings of elation
  • Excessive energy
  • Feeling jumpy or having nervous energy
  • Insomnia
  • Higher levels of activity
  • Racing thoughts
  • Irritability
  • Risky behaviors

Some of the symptoms associated with depressed episodes include:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Fatigue and low energy levels
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Forgetfulness
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

How is bipolar disorder treated?

Dr. van Riel customizes treatment to address the specific symptoms and needs of her patients. She may prescribe medications including mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, or antidepressants. Some patients may also benefit from sleep aids. Psychotherapy techniques may also be used. Many patients benefit from talk therapy and learning techniques to recognize their feelings and behaviors in order to choose different, healthier responses to their emotions.

Testimonials

Words from our patients

  • "She's amazing. Made me feel comfortable from the moment I sat in her office."

    Verified Patient
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