Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder can disrupt a person’s daily life. It can hurt your school performance, your job, and your relationships. There is treatment for bipolar disorder, but you should understand the problem, recognize the symptoms and get help. Do not wait for things to get any worse, get it under control as soon as possible so you can live a normal, happy life.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder, or also known as manic depression, is a complex condition in which a person suffers extreme mood swings and severe depression.
Everyone gets to experience mood swings but a person with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings that they tend to shift moods from euphoric happiness to a very sad feeling of helplessness, despair, worthlessness and depression. The elevated mood swings are referred to as mania. When extreme depression and mania are present it can lead to suicidal attempts or, at times, can result to homicides.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder
The causes of bipolar disorder vary for each individual and though the root cause has still not been discovered yet, experts say that it may be a result of multiple factors that act together.
• Genetic factors. Some researchers suggest through their studies that some abnormal genes may have caused the development of such disease, but up to now results have still not shown any consistency.
• Physiological factors. Abnormalities in the brain structure and functions could result to bipolar disorder. An imbalance in the brain’s neurotransmitters can cause either mania or depression.
• Environmental factors. Evidence shows that a history of awful life events and low interpersonal relationships contribute to the development of such disorder.
• Sometimes, stress, illnesses and drug use can trigger the onset of this condition.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
Because mania and depression are two opposing phases of a bipolar disorder, persons with this illness may manifest the following symptoms:
• Mania or extreme mood swings
o Reckless behavior or activities like wild driving
o Lacks sleep and easily gets distracted
o Low self esteem or exaggerated self confidence
o Irritability or poor mood/ temper control
o Poor judgment
o Delusions and grandiose
o Excessive worrying
o Lack or too much sleep
o No appetite or at times eat excessively
o Social withdrawal
o Feeling of hopelessness, worthlessness, and pessimism
o Possible suicidal attempts
• Some people who have bipolar disorder engage in drug activities and excessive alcohol intake which can worsen their condition.
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
No particular cure is available for bipolar disorder, but treatment for bipolar disorder symptoms are available to help patients regain control of their lives.
Basic treatment for bipolar disorder involves:
• Long term treatment. It is important to continue with the treatment even after feeling better to prevent new symptoms from developing and to stay symptom-free.
• Medication alone is not enough. The most effective treatment for a bipolar disorder patient is a combination of therapy, medication, social support and lifestyle change. When any one is missing, full control of the symptoms would be difficult.
• Experienced psychiatrist. Because this is a complex condition, this can be hard to diagnose and its treatment is difficult as well, so seeking help from an experienced and competent psychiatrist is very much advisable.
Self Help Treatments
Self help treatments are not advisable as this type of treatment alone cannot help relieve the symptoms or prevent you from doing harmful behavior. But you can always choose to help yourself and here are the ways:
• Assist yourself in your own recovery, know what you’re dealing with and be educated.
• Try to avoid stressful situations. Better yet, learn some relaxation techniques and maintain a healthy life or work balance.
• You cannot deal with this alone; seek support from your family and friends or try to join some support groups.
• Change your lifestyle and start making healthy choices such as regular sleeping routines, daily exercises and eating healthy foods. This healthy lifestyle can help in stabilizing your mood.
• Keep record of your mood swings and watch out for the signs so next time you can correct the problem before it even starts.
Treatment for bipolar disorders-Medication
The treatment for bipolar disorder is primarily aimed to control mood swings. Medications are essential in controlling mania and depression. However take note that not all psychotic drugs are advisable. For example, anti-depressants are not good for bipolar patients for they trigger manic episodes or even make the condition worse.
Advised mood stabilizers are:
• Lithium salts – this treatment has been used for several years and proven effective as mood stabilizing medications.
• Anticonvulsants – this medication is considered as the first line medication by some doctors for its mood stabilizing effects and is also considered as antidepressant medicinal therapy.
• Atypical antipsychotic drugs – this drug is known to treat schizophrenia and it has mood stabilizing effect that is important for the treatment of bipolar disorder.
• Modafinil and Pramipexole – are new drugs that show positive response in treating cognitive deterioration of bipolar depression.
Bipolar Disorder Therapy Treatment
• Psychotherapy combined with medication shows some benefits in bipolar treatment
• Electroconvulsive therapy is used to treat severe cases of bipolar disorder. Though such treatment is highly effective, most doctors use this as their last resort due to the side effects which sometimes lead to complications like temporary memory loss.
• Family therapy is more effective for female patients. Support from family and friends can improve patient’s communication with her family and social functioning.
Other treatments for bipolar disorder include:
• Omega 3 fatty acids – though there are still inconclusive results, these are used as supplements to various medications. Since such supplements are found in fish, algae and other products, they are completely safe with no side effects and are easily purchased anywhere. So beneficial or not, there is no harm in trying.
• Exercises – this activity can help patients stabilize their moods and shows anti depressant effects.
• Cannabinoids – reports show that cannabis can lessen mania and depression symptoms due to its calming sedation.
Many individuals who show signs of bipolar disorder tend to be in denial and refuse to seek medical help. So when a family member or loved one shows any of the symptoms above, seek professional help right away. Remember, long term treatment for bipolar disorder is advised. Prevent the person from hurting himself or herself, or somebody else. Act now before it’s too late.