Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 03/15/2021

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at SUWS of the Carolinas to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, there are certain restrictions in place regarding on-site visitation at SUWS of the Carolinas.

  • These restrictions have been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff receives ongoing infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance is provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Bipolar Disorder Signs & Symptoms

We remain open and are continuing to accept new admissions.

SUWS of the Carolinas remains committed to providing clinically superior services within a safe and supportive environment while taking all appropriate precautions to protect the well-being of our students and staff.

For admissions information, or to learn more about the heightened preventive measures we have put in place, please click the link at the top of this page or call us at (828) 489-3198.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, or manic depression as it was previously called, is a serious mood disorder that causes children and adolescents to experience a number of unusual changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. The mood states associated with bipolar disorder alternate between a high, manic state and a low, depressive state. In some instances a young person may experience both mood extremes at one time (known as a mixed state). In children and adolescents with bipolar disorder, moods tend to change rather quickly from one extreme to the other. The presence of bipolar disorder can cause young people to have difficulties carrying out day-to-day tasks such as going to school or being able to make friends their own age. Furthermore, the symptoms associated with this disorder impact a young person’s ability to excel academically and enjoy social activities, and may cause thoughts of suicide.

Bipolar disorder is a long-term condition, but with proper therapeutic interventions young people with this disorder can manage their symptoms and lead successful lives.


Statistics on Bipolar Disorder

The average age of onset for bipolar disorder is 25 years old, but in can develop in early childhood. It is estimated that between 1% to 5% of children and adolescents in the United States are affected by bipolar disorder.

Causes and Risks

Causes and Risk Factors for Bipolar Disorder

The exact cause of bipolar disorder has yet to be identified, but multiple research studies have determined that several factors are involved in its development. Some of the factors that may lead to the development of bipolar disorder in young people may include:

Genetic: Extensive research has shown that genetics may play a significant role in the development of bipolar disorders. In fact, children who have parents with bipolar disorder have a 15% to 30% chance of developing this disorder themselves.

Environmental: It is also believed that certain environmental factors can lead to the onset of bipolar disorder in a child or adolescent. Changes in health habits, the abuse of alcohol or other drugs, and hormonal problems can cause bipolar episodes. Also, certain medications can trigger manic episodes in individuals who are at increased risk for developing bipolar disorder. In some instances, stressful or traumatic events can trigger a manic or depressive episode.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of mental health disorder
  • Being a woman
  • Periods of high stress
  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse
  • Imbalance of naturally occurring brain chemicals
  • Certain medications
Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder will impact each child and adolescent differently, but the following are some of the most common symptoms:

The following mood and behavioral symptoms indicate that an individual may be experiencing a manic episode (Hypomania symptoms are a less severe form of mania):

  • Extremely irritable
  • Overly silly or elated
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Talking too much or too fast
  • Constantly moving from one thing to the next
  • Easily distracted
  • Inflated self-esteem or belief in unnatural abilities
  • Risky, thrill seeking behaviors
  • Poor judgment
  • Hallucinations or delusions (in some children)

The following signs and symptoms may indicate that an individual is experiencing a depressive episodes:

  • Continuous sad mood
  • Loss of interest in activities that the child enjoyed in the past
  • Significant changes in appetite
  • Changes in weight
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Problems concentrating
  • Headaches, muscle aches, or stomachaches
  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide

Effects of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can bring about many short-term and long-term effects in a young person’s life. . While some of the effects will only cause mild disturbances, others can be severe. Common effects experienced by young people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder may include the following:

  • Damaged relationships
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Poor school performance
  • Panic disorder
  • Substance abuse
  • Injuries or medical complications as a result of impulsive behavior
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Suicidal ideation

Bipolar and Co-Occurring Disorders

It is often the case that children and adolescents with bipolar disorder are also struggling with additional mental health conditions. The most frequent co-occurring disorders include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Conduct disorder
  • Intermittent explosive disorder
  • Substance use disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Sleep disorders

In the past 8 years, my daughter (who has bipolar disorder) has endured every kind of therapy you could think of... Outpatient therapies (Play Therapy, DBT individual/ group, etc.) Intensive In Home Therapy, Multisystemic Therapy -- you name it. Hands down, SUWS of the Carolinas was the best we tried. The mindfulness, empowering life skills, Appalachian Mountain setting, and the therapists who treat the children with dignity are all why my daughter asks to go back all the time.

– Georgia Bowen
Marks of Quality Care
Why does this matter?
  • Cognia
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
  • Forest Service Department of Agriculture
  • National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP)
  • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
  • NC Department of Health and Human Services
  • Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council
  • Safe Zone
  • Sky's The Limit Fund
  • The Jason Foundation

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