Treating bipolar disorder is a lifeling commitment. Even during times when you are feeling better, you need to remember that you still have bipolar. Bipolar treatment is guided by a psychiatrist who is experienced with bipolar disorder and treatment of this condition. Typically you can also have others beyond a psychologist involved in your treatment plan - a psychologist, social worker or nurses.
Treatment is critical for reducing your frequency and severity of your mood swings and allows you to live a balanced and enjoyable life. Maintaining your treatment during periods of remission is very important. People who do not follow maintenance treatment for bipolar are at a high risk for relapse of symptoms and can lead to full blown mania or even bipolar depression.
You can treat bipolar disorder several different ways:
Medications for bipolar treatment are critical to your success. Medications can cause side effects, often these can be severe, and you may be relucant to take the medications. You should discuss the medications with your physician and find the right combination of medications that will work for your bipolar treatment.
Medications for bipolar treatment may include:
- Antidepressants. Antidepressants for bipolar treatment were once common, however are now controversial. They may not be prescribed for you at all. There is some information that indicates that antidepressants are an effective bipolar treatment, but it some cases could trigger mood swing episodes. Before you take these medications to treat bipolar make sure you have discussed in detail with your physician.
- Anti-seizure medications. These medications will help with violent mood swings. These medications, anticonvulstants, can greatly impact those with rapid cycling bipolar disorder.
- Mood stabilizers. Mood stabilizing drugs are the most common prescription for bipolar treatment. They help regulate and stabilize your mood so that you do not experience the mood swings between depression and mania. Lithium has primarly been used to help stabilize mood swings and is a common medication for bipolar treatment. People who are bipolar could be placed on these medications for their entire life.
- Other medications. If you do not react to anti-seizure medications, a physician may put you on a antipsychotic medication or anti-anxiety medication. These will help improve sleep and stabalize your condition.
Numerous medications are available to treat bipolar disorder. If one does not work well for you, there are many others to explore. Your doctor may advise combining certain medications for maximum effect. It can take several weeks after first starting a medication to notice an improvement in your symptoms.
Be aware that all medications have side effects and possible health risks. Certain antipsychotic medications, for instance, may increase the risk of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. If you take these medications, talk to your doctor about being monitored for health problems. Also, mood-stabilizing medications may harm a developing fetus or nursing infant. So women with bipolar disorder who want to become pregnant or do become pregnant must fully explore with their health care providers their options and the benefits and risks of medications.
Bipolar Treatment with Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is another vital part of bipolar disorder treatment. Several types of therapy may be helpful.
- Family/Group Therapy. Getting assstance from familiy members or others in a group setting can greatly help with your bipolar treatment. These group sessions can help identify stressors in your life and assist you and your family with communicating clearly.
- Group therapy. Group therapy provides a forum to communicate with and learn from others in a similar situation. It may also help build better relationship skills.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. If you have bipolar disorder a common treatment is individual therapy. This therapy helps focus on indentification of unhealthy negative feelings and replacing these with good positive feelings. You can learn about bipolar disorder, treatment and what things can cause your bipolar episodes.
Bipolar Treatment Using Electroconvulsive therapy(ECT)
Electroconvulsive therapy is geared mainly for people who have episodes of severe depression with suicidal tendencies or for people who have not seen improvements in their symptoms despite other treatment. Electroconvulsive therapy is a procedure in which electrical currents are passed through your brain to trigger a seizure. Researchers do not fully understand just how ECT works. It is thought that the seizure causes changes in brain chemistry that may lead to improvements in your mood.
In rare cases, people being treated for bipolar disorder may benefit from being hospitalized. This can help you stabilize your mood, control the mood swings and keep you from having a full-blown manic episode or deep depresssion. Day / Outpatient programs are also available to help you with your bipolar treatment.
MayoClinic on Bipolar
Help Guide on Bipolar
Support Group: FacetoFace Health Bipolar Support Group