Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Demystifying Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Having a mental illness is often shrouded in a veil of shame and an unwillingness to seek help for fear of what others might say.

For this reason, many people suffer unnecessarily with bipolar disorder when it is an entirely manageable condition. Formerly known as manic depression, this condition causes people to experience periods of so-called normal moods interspersed with periods of either very high or extremely low moods. If left untreated, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can greatly impede one's ability to lead a satisfying life. It becomes a challenge to work productively and maintain personal relationships when it seems as if you are being ushered through life at the mercy of your out-of-control moods.

With the introduction of mood stabilisers, bipolar disorder treatment is more efficient, combining the benefits of therapeutic methods with medication. Medicine used in bipolar treatment reduces the instances and intensity of manic mood episodes and prevents relapses.

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Bipolar Disorder Treatment


What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is generally considered to belong to the group of depressive illnesses. It is a condition where the brain causes polar shifts in mood, activity levels, energy, and the ability to execute basic daily tasks. The mood changes are distinct and range from extremely high highs to hopeless lows – referred to as hyper- or hypomania. There are four types of bipolar, namely Bipolar 1, where manic episodes are severe and last a minimum of seven days; Bipolar 2, where depressive episodes outnumber the highs; Cyclothymia, in which depressive symptoms last for at least two years; and Unspecified Bipolar, when symptoms don't fall into either of the previous three categories.


Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

As mentioned above, bipolar disorder symptoms include marked changes in emotion. Along with this continual major shift in mood, people with bipolar also have trouble sleeping and struggle with low energy levels. The opposites in mood are referred to as 'manic' – highs – and 'depressive' – lows. During a manic episode, a person might feel overly jumpy, with lots of energy and a strong feeling of intense elation, even though there might not be a direct reason for them to feel that way. Depressive episodes are characterised by intense feelings of hopelessness, decreased energy, fatigue, and trouble sleeping.


Causes of Bipolar Disorder

Although the exact bipolar disorder causes are not yet known, there are a few key factors that mental health specialists have found contribute to the condition developing in different people. Biological composition accounts for the significant changes in people's brain chemistry with bipolar disorder. Studies have found actual physical differences between the brains of people with bipolar and those without. Genetics also plays a significant role, where someone with bipolar disorder is likely to have a sibling or parent who has it. This knowledge dramatically helps further developments in bipolar disorder treatment.


Treatment for Bipolar Disorder


Therapy

Psychotherapy is an effective treatment for bipolar disorder – whether the case is mild or severe. This kind of therapy is also referred to as 'talk therapy' since it involves delving into the disorder through the patient's personal experience, thereby helping them manage symptoms better. Since there is no ultimate cure for bipolar, long-term therapy is often advised to support the patient in the best way. Symptoms might go away for a while, but they will present again over time. This is where having a sound support system in the form of a mental health professional counts in your favour.


Prescribed Medication

Bipolar disorder treatment medication regulates moods to control the disorder's symptoms. Because the chemistry in our brains is extremely specific to the individual and sensitive to interference, it often takes time before you find the right medications that work best for your experience with bipolar. Drugs include mood stabilisers, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotics. These can only be prescribed by a psychiatrist or other adequately qualified mental health professional and are usually given in addition to therapy treatment to alleviate current symptoms so the patient can focus on their path to healing.


Natural Treatments

Not much study has been accomplished on the efficacy of herbal treatments for bipolar disorder. Some have shown that Omega 3 fatty acids might help with depressive symptoms, but not manic ones. Following a good diet with regular physical activity is always good for mind-body balance. However, that in itself is not enough to properly manage the effects of bipolar and should not be undertaken as a treatment on its own.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment


What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is generally considered to belong to the group of depressive illnesses. It is a condition where the brain causes polar shifts in mood, activity levels, energy, and the ability to execute basic daily tasks. The mood changes are distinct and range from extremely high highs to hopeless lows – referred to as hyper- or hypomania. There are four types of bipolar, namely Bipolar 1, where manic episodes are severe and last a minimum of seven days; Bipolar 2, where depressive episodes outnumber the highs; Cyclothymia, in which depressive symptoms last for at least two years; and Unspecified Bipolar, when symptoms don't fall into either of the previous three categories.


Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

As mentioned above, bipolar disorder symptoms include marked changes in emotion. Along with this continual major shift in mood, people with bipolar also have trouble sleeping and struggle with low energy levels. The opposites in mood are referred to as 'manic' – highs – and 'depressive' – lows. During a manic episode, a person might feel overly jumpy, with lots of energy and a strong feeling of intense elation, even though there might not be a direct reason for them to feel that way. Depressive episodes are characterised by intense feelings of hopelessness, decreased energy, fatigue, and trouble sleeping.


Causes of Bipolar Disorder

Although the exact bipolar disorder causes are not yet known, there are a few key factors that mental health specialists have found contribute to the condition developing in different people. Biological composition accounts for the significant changes in people's brain chemistry with bipolar disorder. Studies have found actual physical differences between the brains of people with bipolar and those without. Genetics also plays a significant role, where someone with bipolar disorder is likely to have a sibling or parent who has it. This knowledge dramatically helps further developments in bipolar disorder treatment.


Treatment for Bipolar Disorder


Therapy

Psychotherapy is an effective treatment for bipolar disorder – whether the case is mild or severe. This kind of therapy is also referred to as 'talk therapy' since it involves delving into the disorder through the patient's personal experience, thereby helping them manage symptoms better. Since there is no ultimate cure for bipolar, long-term therapy is often advised to support the patient in the best way. Symptoms might go away for a while, but they will present again over time. This is where having a sound support system in the form of a mental health professional counts in your favour.


Prescribed Medication

Bipolar disorder treatment medication regulates moods to control the disorder's symptoms. Because the chemistry in our brains is extremely specific to the individual and sensitive to interference, it often takes time before you find the right medications that work best for your experience with bipolar. Drugs include mood stabilisers, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotics. These can only be prescribed by a psychiatrist or other adequately qualified mental health professional and are usually given in addition to therapy treatment to alleviate current symptoms so the patient can focus on their path to healing.


Natural Treatments

Not much study has been accomplished on the efficacy of herbal treatments for bipolar disorder. Some have shown that Omega 3 fatty acids might help with depressive symptoms, but not manic ones. Following a good diet with regular physical activity is always good for mind-body balance. However, that in itself is not enough to properly manage the effects of bipolar and should not be undertaken as a treatment on its own.

What Happens when Bipolar Disorder is not Treated?

Bipolar disorder is challenging to diagnose because there are four basic ways to detect the condition, depending on the severity and duration of the symptoms. After diagnosis, treatment is complex because just the right chemicals need to be found that best work with the unique chemistry of each individual brain. For this reason, many people diagnosed with bipolar stop treatment after a while, as finding the right dosage is too distressing. However, it's important to remember that ignoring bipolar disorder treatment can have grave consequences on your overall health.

The longer the condition is left to entrench itself, the worse it gets. Manic and depressive episodes are more prolonged and intense. People find it hard to hold down a job or maintain personal relationships. Substance abuse becomes a numbing device that temporarily alleviates the symptoms but then leaves you with the physical consequences of addiction. Finally, suicide rates among those untreated are currently at 30%, which is an unnecessary statistic for what is essentially a treatable condition.


Finding Help for Bipolar Disorder

Despite the road to wellness not always looking rosy, it is in your best interest to take the first steps to bipolar disorder treatment. With the support of professionals, family, and friends, it is possible to overcome the obstacles and regain control over your condition and your life. Even in mild cases, people often feel they don't need help because they can manage it independently. Mild cases escalate really quickly, and you will find yourself overwhelmed. If you think something may be wrong with the intense shifts in your moods, speak to your doctor or psychiatrist.

At ZwavelStream Clinic, we specialise in bipolar disorder treatment, providing our clients with a healthy and safe environment to reclaim the balance in their lives. Every case is treated with the utmost confidentiality, and treatment is planned on a client-specific basis. Contact us for more information about how you can get the help you need.

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