Bipolar Disorder treatment consists of mental health counseling and psychiatric treatment. Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness or manic depression) is a mental illness that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Bipolar disorder is typically diagnosed during late adolescence (teen years) or early adulthood. Bipolar disorder usually requires lifelong treatment. Following a medically prescribed treatment plan can help people manage their bipolar symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Bipolar Disorder Treatment Options
Bipolar disorder is a life-long disorder. So, if you think you have bipolar symptoms, call your doctor or a psychiatrist to get medical treatment. Bipolar disorder treatment consists of a combination of medication and psychotherapy, also called mental health counseling. Bipolar Disorder treatment can help people with bipolar disorder. Long-term continuous treatment of bipolar disorder can help you manage your bipolar symptoms and live a healthy life.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder include the following:
- People with bipolar disorder experience periods of unusually intense emotion, changes in sleep patterns and activity levels, and uncharacteristic behaviors, often without recognizing their likely harmful or undesirable effects. These distinct periods are called “mood episodes.” Mood episodes are very different from the moods and behaviors that are typical for the person. During an episode, the symptoms last every day for most of the day. Episodes may also last for longer periods, such as several days or weeks.
Manic Bipolar and Hypomania
- Mania and hypomania are two distinct types of episodes, but they have the same symptoms. Mania is more severe than hypomania and causes more noticeable problems at work, school, and social activities, as well as relationship difficulties. Mania may also trigger a break from reality (psychosis) and require hospitalization.
- Both a manic bipolar and a hypomanic episode include three or more of these symptoms:
- Abnormally upbeat, jumpy, or wired
- Increased activity, energy, or agitation
- Exaggerated sense of well-being and self-confidence (euphoria)
- Decreased need for sleep
- Unusual talkativeness
- Racing thoughts
- Poor decision-making — for example, going on buying sprees, taking sexual risks, or making foolish investments
Major Depressive Disorder
A major depressive episode includes symptoms that are severe enough to cause noticeable difficulty in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities, or relationships. An episode includes five or more of these symptoms:
- Depressed mood, such as feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or tearful (in children and teens, depressed mood can appear as irritability)
- Marked loss of interest or feeling no pleasure in activities
- Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite
- Either insomnia or sleeping too much
- Either restlessness or slowed behavior
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Decreased ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
- Thinking about, planning, or attempting suicide
Other symptoms of bipolar disorder include:
- Bipolar symptoms include other features, such as anxious distress, melancholy, psychosis, or others. Bipolar symptoms may occur during pregnancy or change with the seasons.
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar medications can help manage symptoms of bipolar disorder. Some people may need to try several different medications and work with their health care provider before finding bipolar medications that work best.
The most common types of bipolar medications that doctors prescribe include mood stabilizers and atypical antipsychotics. Mood stabilizers such as lithium or valproate can help prevent mood episodes or reduce their severity. Lithium also can decrease the risk of suicide. Medications that target sleep or anxiety are sometimes added to mood stabilizers as part of a treatment plan.
Bipolar depression is often treated with antidepressant medication and a mood stabilizer must be taken as well, as an antidepressant alone can trigger a manic episode or rapid cycling in a person with bipolar disorder. Women with bipolar disorder and men with bipolar disorder are more likely to seek help when they are depressed rather than when they are experiencing a manic bipolar episode or hypomania.
People taking bipolar medication should:
- Talk honestly with their health care provider to understand the risks and benefits of the medication.
- Tell their health care provider about any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or supplements they are already taking.
- Report any concerns about side effects to a health care provider right away. The health care provider may need to change the dose or try a different medication.
- Remember that medication for bipolar disorder must be taken consistently, as prescribed, even when one is feeling well.
- Avoid stopping bipolar medication without talking to a health care provider first. Suddenly stopping a medication may lead to a “rebound” or worsening of bipolar disorder symptoms.
Learn how to cope with bipolar disorder with simple and healthy lifestyle adjustments.
Mental Health Counseling Is Helpful
Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy or mental health counseling, can be an effective part of the treatment plan for people with bipolar disorder. Psychotherapy or mental health counseling, is a term for a variety of treatment techniques that aim to help a person identify and change troubling emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. It can provide support, education, and guidance to people with bipolar disorder and their families.
Mental health counseling with a licensed professional counselor is a vital part of bipolar disorder treatment and can be provided in individual, family, or group settings. Several types of therapy for bipolar disorder may be helpful. These include:
- Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT). IPSRT focuses on the stabilization of daily rhythms, such as sleeping, waking and mealtimes. A consistent routine allows for better mood management. People with bipolar disorder may benefit from establishing a daily routine for sleep, diet, and exercise.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The focus is identifying unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replacing them with healthy, positive ones. CBT can help identify what triggers your bipolar episodes. You also learn effective strategies to manage stress and to cope with upsetting situations.
- Psychoeducation. Learning about bipolar disorder (psychoeducation) can help you and your loved ones understand the condition. Knowing what’s going on can help you get the best support, identify issues, plan to prevent relapse and stick with treatment.
- Family-focused therapy. Family support and communication can help you stick with your treatment plan and help you and your loved ones recognize and manage warning signs of mood swings.
Bipolar Disorder Treatment without Meds
Individuals with bipolar disorder will need to make lifestyle changes to stop cycles of behavior that worsen your bipolar disorder. Here are some steps to take:
- Quit drinking or using recreational drugs. One of the biggest concerns with bipolar disorder is the negative consequences of risk-taking behavior and drug or alcohol abuse. Get help if you have trouble quitting on your own.
- Form healthy relationships. Surround yourself with people who are a positive influence. Friends and family members can provide support and help you watch for warning signs of mood shifts.
- Create a healthy routine. Having a regular routine for sleeping, eating and physical activity can help balance your moods. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Eat a healthy diet. If you take lithium, talk with your doctor about appropriate fluid and salt intake. If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor or mental health professional about what you can do.
- Check first before taking other medications. Call the doctor who’s treating you for bipolar disorder before you take medications prescribed by another doctor or any over-the-counter supplements or medications. Sometimes other medications trigger episodes of depression or mania or may interfere with medications you’re taking for bipolar disorder.
- Keep a mood chart. Keeping a record of your daily moods, treatments, sleep, activities, and feelings may help identify triggers, effective treatment options and when treatment needs to be adjusted.
There is effective treatment for bipolar disorder. The most effective treatment for bipolar disorder is a combination of mental health counseling with a licensed professional counselor and psychiatric treatment with bipolar medications. To learn more about bipolar disorder and to talk to a licensed professional counselor please contact www.sobair.com.