How To Treat Bipolar Disorder

2013 Bipolar Update

How To Treat Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that is more commonly known as manic depression. As the name suggests, this illness is characterized by cycling moods from mania to depression. It is estimated that nearly 6 million people in the United States suffer from this disorder. The number could be greater due to the fact that many people do not get diagnosed or get misdiagnosed. As this disorder affects a significant number of people, it is important to know how to treat bipolar disorder.

Even though you may feel you know how to treat bipolar disorder from reading articles and books, it is of utmost importance not to try to self-medicate. A number of bipolar disorder sufferers try to self-medicate by turning to alcohol or substance abuse, which only makes the symptoms worse. It is best to rely on trained medical professionals for treatment.

Before deciding how to treat bipolar disorder, a doctor will first determine the specific type of bipolar disorder the patient is suffering from. There are 4 main classifications of bipolar disorder. There are bipolar disorder I, bipolar disorder II, cyclothymic bipolar disorder and bipolar disorder not otherwise specified (BP-NOS). The fourth category is for bipolar disorders that do not quite fit into the other 3 categories.

The categorizations are done according to the type of symptoms and how the symptoms manifest themselves. For instance, the duration between manic and depressive episodes, the duration any of the episodes last and so on.

When deciding how to treat bipolar disorder, the doctor, usually a psychiatrist or other mental health professional, will try to first get an accurate diagnosis. This may be quite difficult as the symptoms of bipolar disorder are quite similar to the symptoms in ADHD (attention deficient hyperactive disorder), major depression or other types of personality disorder. To this end, the mental health professional will carry out a comprehensive diagnostic examination.

A diagnostic examination will comprise of a physical exam and a psychological exam. A person’s medical history will also be looked into for an accurate diagnosis. The doctor may also need to get information regarding symptoms (behavior and moods) from family members and close friends. All the information gathered from these different sources will provide a more accurate picture and will help the doctor decide how to treat bipolar disorder in the patient.

Once a diagnosis is made, the next step will be deciding on treatment. The treatment is usually tailored to the specific patient. Generally speaking, treatment will entail both psychological and pharmacological interventions. A combination of medications is often prescribed and these include antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. Psychological interventions may include cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy. For treatment to be effective, lifestyle changes such as stress reduction and substance use stoppage are recommended.

We hope this article on how to treat bipolar disorder has been helpful. However, if you feel you or someone you know may have the problem be sure and seek professional assistance.