Treating Bipolar Disorder
2013 Bipolar Update
Methods For Treating Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a common mental illness that affects millions of people around the world. What’s surprising is that many of those with the disorder do not realize that they have it until they have had mood swings during an episode of the disorder that has severely damaged their employment credentials and close relationships. When it comes to treating bipolar disorder, it is crucial that one gets a firm grasp of the facts behind the illness.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes the patient/person affected to have mild to severe episodes of mania and depression. The progression and cycling of these episodes may vary. One patient may cycle through the two episodes in the period of a year while some may cycle through the two episodes more rapidly within a month. The common symptoms of mania include unusual and prolonged happiness, impulses to partake in risky behavior, sexual promiscuity, lack of sleep, inattentiveness as well as conversing rapidly on different unrelated topics. Symptoms of depression include suicidal thoughts and impulses, lack of appetite and sleep and constant pain in the form of headaches as well as stomachaches.
Treating bipolar disorder often involves a combined treatment of the both mood swings. There are numerous treatments available for bipolar disorder. These can be broadly grouped into two: medication and psychotherapy. Other methods that have proven to be helpful in treating bipolar disorder are education, lifestyle management and support.
Medication has over the years proven to be quite essential to treating bipolar disorder. The medication prescribed to the patient largely depends on the episodes they tend to suffer from most. The most common forms of medication are mood stabilizers and antidepressants. Mood stabilizers such as lithium are used for long-term treatment of mania. Others such as Depakote act much faster and are used for the sudden onset of mania. Treating bipolar disorder through medication poses quite a challenge in terms of balancing the two different moods. In some cases, patients suffering from depression tend to suffer from mania after taking antidepressants.
Psychotherapy is one of the best ways that have been developed for treating bipolar disorder. The most common form of this treatment is through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This form of the therapy enables the patient to cope with the disorder through maintaining healthy thought patterns. Moreover, one is able to talk to a professional who recommends various changes that the patient can make in their lifestyle so as to cope with the illness.
Treating bipolar disorder starts with education. One has to know the symptoms that characterize the illness before they can embark on finding an effective treatment. As more bipolar patients learn about their illness, they become better equipped to handle the illness itself.
Treating bipolar disorder through lifestyle management involves making some healthy changes to one’s lifestyle that will help minimize the changes in one’s mood. An example of such changes includes limiting/eliminating alcohol and drug intake, maintaining a regular sleep schedule as well as minimizing stress.
Lastly, when treating bipolar disorder one requires a strong support structure. This structure is made up of family and other loved ones. These people will be prove to be quite helpful by providing motivation and support to the bipolar patient. Thus, they will help the patient cope with the illness.
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