Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental condition in which the person experiences strong changes in his or her mood. People experiencing bipolar disorder have depressive disorders that include low mood, extreme sadness, feelings of hopelessness, and a lack general of interest. Manic episodes involve extremely euphoric mood, agitation, racing thoughts, and rapid speech.
The changes in mood can last for a few days to several weeks. Bipolar disorder requires long-term treatment. This may include medications and psychological therapies.
Bipolar disorder is diagnosed with the following procedures.
The doctor might refer you to a psychiatrist who will talk about your thoughts, feeling, and behavioral patterns.
You will be asked to keep daily records of your sleep patterns and your moods. This will help with diagnosing and finding the right treatment.
Bipolar disorder treatment is best guided by the doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions and are skilled in treating several mental conditions. The treatment team might include psychologists, social workers, and a psychiatric nurse.
Depending on the severity of the condition, the treatment may include the following.
There are a number of medications used to treat bipolar disorders. Doses and the types of medications depend on the severity and symptoms.
- Mood stabilizers
A person suffering from bipolar disorder will require mood stabilizers to control manic and hypomanic episodes. Examples of mood stabilizers include lithium, valproic acid, divalproex sodium, carbamazepine, and lamotrigine.
These types of medications are administered when manic symptoms persist even despite undergoing treatment with other medications. Antipsychotic drugs such as olanzapine, risperidone, and quetiapine may help with getting relief from the symptoms. Doctors might prescribe these along with a mood stabilizer.
- Anti-anxiety medications
Medications such as benzodiazepines might help reduce anxiety and improve sleep. These medications are usually used on a short-term basis.
Your doctor might prescribe you with an antidepressant that help you manage depression. Since antidepressants can sometimes lead to manic episodes, they are usually prescribed with mood stabilizers.
It is a vital part of treating bipolar disorder. The treatment can be provided in individual, family, and group settings. Some psychotherapy types include the following.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on identifying unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replacing them with healthy, positive ones. CBT also helps in identifying the triggers that cause bipolar disorder. It also helps in learning effective strategies that helps in managing stress and coping with upsetting situations.
This involves learning about bipolar disorder, which helps the person understand the condition. Identifying the issue helps to make a plan and prevent relapse. It also helps one stick with the treatment.
- Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy
It involves focusing on daily rhythms such as sleeping and having timely meal. The consistent routine helps in better mood management. People suffering from bipolar disorder can be benefited from this form of psychotherapy.
- Family-focused therapy
This form of psychotherapy helps in improving communication with the family members as they are able to recognize and help you manage the mood swings and warning signs of bipolar disorder.
Treating children and teenagers with bipolar disorders
Children and teenagers with bipolar disorder are prescribed with the same type of medications as those used by adults.
Long sessions of psychotherapy might be required to prevent the symptoms from recurring. Psychotherapy also helps children manage their daily routine and develop coping skills required to deal with bipolar disorder.
More than anything else, it is the support from teachers and parents that helps in coping with the symptoms of bipolar disorder in children and teenagers
Finding the right medication
Because treating bipolar disorder is mostly based on medication, there will be some trial and error involved under the strict guidance of your doctor. The process of finding the right medication requires patience. This is because most of these medications require weeks to month to show results. Doctors would generally change one or two medications before identifying the right one that helps in providing relief from the symptoms.
There are mild side effects involved in finding the right medication. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about the same so that they can prescribe you the right medication with minimum side effects. Stopping medications midway can result in withdrawal effect, which might cause the symptoms to return.
Discuss the treatment option with your doctor even if you are planning to go for over-the-counter medications as they will guide you in a better manner to deal with the symptoms of bipolar disorder.