2013 Bipolar Update
General Bipolar Depression Information
There are many psychological disorders that can occur at any point in an individual’s life. One such disorder is Bipolar Depression. Bipolar depression is a condition where an individual experiences a highly elevated and disturbing mood swing that may last a week or longer. This episode is not caused by drug or substance abuse and is also marked with a few depressive periods.
During this time, the individual is unable to perform normal activities and can be found acting in ways they do not normally act and may be short tempered, have lack of sound reasoning and constantly losing concentration.
There are certain behavioral patterns involved in every individual during these episodes that once identified can be predictable. It is termed as a chronic disorder because once one episode occurs there are definitely going to be consequent episodes to follow. Research has shown there are some genetic factors associated with this disorder and in most cases begins in adolescence and early adulthood and goes on into old age.
In most cases, the individual does not see reason for treatment since on average these episodes may only come up four times over a ten year period. However, as a person gets older the episodes start happening closer together. Some individuals have actually been found to enjoy these episodes since they offer them some kind of release. Since these episodes do not last very long, most people mistake them for signs of being burn out and think that a simple rest will cure them. This then leads to the affected individual suffering in silence through a disorder that is very treatable.
If it goes untreated, bipolar depression can lead to losing jobs, marital breakups, and substance abuse and even in some cases suicide.
At times bipolar individuals do not give all their information to the doctor and are just given drugs for depression. However, if the depression is mixed with days of feeling on top of the world and participating in actions that endanger relationships and employment, the individual should be checked for a bipolar disorder.
As mentioned above, bipolar depression can be treated especially if noted early. The first challenge however, is to help the individual accept that they have a disorder. This will require that the individual see their doctor and probably a psychiatrist. Once this is accomplished, there are two ways that the patient can be treated; psychosocially or through medication. The psychosocial approach deals with first identifying what triggers these episodes and how to avoid them. It then looks at how the individual behaves during an episode identifying any repressed emotions that need to be dealt with to prevent recurrence. Then the patient is counseled and the psychologist encourages him/her to speak about these in specified periods of time and a solution is found. The other psychosocial treatment used is having family therapy sessions where the patient and the family discuss issues that trigger manic episodes with the psychologist thus assuring the patient that he has the support of the family in getting well. This also enables the family to fully understand what the patient is dealing with so they may find ways of helping prevent episodes from occurring.
The medical way of treating this disorder is by using drugs that are mood stabilizers like Lithium Carbonate and Lamotrigine which is used for preventing depression. In cases where the patient is at acute stages of bipolar depression, anticonvulsants like Carbamazepine and Sodium Valporate should be used. These work to prevent a process that occurs in the brain that causes the individual to experience stress factors even where there aren’t any. Here, the Lithium first takes action and then the other two anticonvulsants take charge.
In any given case, it is advisable to use both approaches to treat bipolar depression as neither can work without the other. Our website has a large volume of articles on bipolar depression, its signs, symptoms and treatment and we add others regularly.