Treatment for Mood Disorders

2013 Bipolar Update

Treatment for Mood Disorders

There are plenty of options for treatment for mood disorders, but the one caveat with all these is that no single treatment option can work by itself. In all cases, mood disorders are treated with a battery of strategies that are synergistically designed to foster recovery and healing by targeting various facets of the condition.

Among the options for treatment for mood disorders are the following:

•Mood stabilizers. If the patient is prone to mood swings as induced by the condition, mood stabilizers are important for keeping the patient on an even keel. Mood stabilizers work by reducing the violent swings between various mood states so the patient does not go from one to the other without warning and, in most cases, very abruptly.

•Mood suppressants. If mood stabilizers are designed to prevent alternating states of mood, suppressants are designed to control the peaks and troughs of mood swings. There are plenty of cases where excessive highs or lows can lead to dangerous consequences like hallucinations or suicidal tendencies. Mood suppressants are designed to deal with these excessive emotional outbursts and keep them to a more tolerable level.

•Psychotherapy. There are plenty of variations of psychotherapy methods but all advocate one thing: keeping your emotions in check. At the most basic level, psychotherapy is used as a means to give patients control over their lives rather than relying on pure medication to tide them over whenever they start feeling adverse symptoms of the conditions.

From here, it is easy to see how the treatment for mood disorders come together to help patients cope with their mood conditions in a more effective manner. Suppose we have a patient suffering from Bipolar I disorder; this condition is characterized by mood swings from mania or hyper-activity to depression. Hypermania cases lead to hallucinations which are very traumatic to the patient; conversely, depression episodes can lead to suicidal tendencies. Depending on the extent of the condition, the mood swings can happen in a relatively short period so a patient can be suffering from mania one day and then flip to a depressive episode the next day.

Using the treatment for mood disorders, doctors device a regimen specifically targeted to address the specific condition in question. Mood stabilizers are first introduced to limit the violent changes in moods so that the patient is able to stay with their normal condition for longer periods allowing for more predictability and a higher level of control. Next, mood suppressants are introduced to bring the lows and highs to a more acceptable baseline so the patient can dispense with the hallucinations or depression. This regimen will go on for weeks, months or even years, but in most cases allows the patient to begin living a normal life again after a brief intervention period.

However, the complete package of treatment for mood disorders can only happen with the introduction of psychotherapy strategies. In therapy, patients are taught how to be mindful of potential triggers to their conditions, and are asked to practice mind relaxation techniques so they can keep their moods in check. No doubt this is the phase that is the hardest of all but it comes after the drugs have done their work. It has been found that therapy is a lot more successful when the patient is on a successful medication regimen.

Given the seriousness of mood episodes, treatment for mood disorders is an important tool of medical science to help people take control of their lives. With the continuing development of new techniques and new medications, doctors are optimistic that the future of treating mood disorders is going to be more successful than ever.