Bipolar Disorder Treatment National Directory for Bipolar Treatment

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What is Bipolar Treatment?

By Dr. Filza 8/23/2018

Bipolar disorder is a mental condition characterized by alternating phases of depression and elation experienced by the patient. An effective treatment for this growing problem administers a combination of medication and psychotherapy. The treatment can further be classified into three main categories, including antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants. While the effectiveness of each treatment varies, the condition of the patient after a careful examination determines the most suitable treatment. In terms of medication, the specialist would usually combine antipsychotic and mood-stabilizing medication.

A proper dosage and type of medication are essential for treatment as some of these drugs can be potentially toxic. This requires a pre-treatment diagnosis and regular assessments and tests of the patient. This helps the specialist monitor the reaction for each drug and the proper dosage for the patient. The treatment also monitors the related symptoms, such as reduced energy levels, behavior, attention and other areas of the life of the patient. Although the symptoms are treatable, there is no cure for bipolar. It is a chronic condition which can be handled more effectively if the treatment is initiated sooner. In certain cases, hospitalization, substance administration, and rigorous outpatient treatment are required apart from psychoeducation, medication, and psych-treatment. Here are some of the most effective treatments that are commonly administered in patients with bipolar disorder.


One of the primary treatments for bipolar disorder includes medication. It can be under the category of antipsychotics, antidepressants and mood stabilizers which are administered based on their reaction to each patient, suitability and the symptoms that are expressed. These medicines can effectively help treat mania, mood swings, depression and hypomanic episodes. It takes numerous attempts followed by the assessment to reach desirable results. Otherwise, the medicines may be discontinued or changed. They can cause side effects such as suicidal tendency. Most commonly used drugs include valproic acid and lithium carbonate, which can help reduce depression and mania. Lithium carbonate may be administered as an antidepressant while valproic acid is used as a mood stabilizer. Other drugs include antiepileptic drugs, such as carbamazepine or lamotrigine wherever needed. Less common drugs include topiramate, haloperidol, gabapentin, aripiprazole, and oxcarbazepine. It is never recommended to use these drugs without a prescription.


Psychotherapy is also administered parallel to medication for bipolar disorder, which includes counseling and talking. It can effectively communicate knowledge and measures in terms of psychoeducation which helps the patient handle the symptoms with more care. It reduces negative thoughts, depression, and stress effectively through family therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.


Depending on the severity, a patient may be required to stay in hospital on a long-term basis to alleviate unstable scenarios and extreme behavioral tendencies of a patient. This includes intensive care to ensure the patient is prevented from self-harm and symptoms are effectively managed.


Many cases may require an outpatient program to enable medical support and manage the patient's case effectively. It includes continued therapy, peer support program, medication program, rehabilitation program and management of the symptoms.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

In extreme situations, the specialists may administer electroconvulsive therapy to alleviate symptoms. It is usually practiced when the symptoms don't respond to medication or when quick results are required. For instance, sometimes in case of pregnancy ECT may be administered. It can also be practiced in case of severe symptoms, such as self-harm and suicidal attempts. While ECT sounds to be cruel and received defamation previous, the most advanced techniques are effective. They are also done under the effect of relaxing anesthesia before a small current is passed on the scalp for less than 60 minutes.


Bipolar is highly associated with substance or alcohol abuse, which is one approach to decrease possibilities and symptoms. The treatment should start with an immediate and effective diagnosis, and treatment should be administered based on whether the patient has bipolar I disorder, Cyclothymic disorder or bipolar II disorder. various specialists may be involved including mental health specialists, counsellors, and psychiatrists. Since the condition is chronic and progressive, alleviation of symptoms is also gradual. Increased attention to support and care of the patient by friends and family can significantly improve the condition.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

By Alicia Stone, M.D. 8/28/2018

Bopolar disorder is also commonly known as manic depression because it is a mental illness with both two distinct phases with radically different symptoms. People with bipolar disorder experience extreme highs and lows as well as drastic changes in their thinking, behavior, energy and sleep. Bipolar disorder typically consists of periods of time in which specific symptoms occur including a manic phase shich is often followed by a depressive phase

Durring periods of mania, an individual can feel overly happy and energized or even excessivly confident. Periods of mania can often lead to reckless behavior and impulsive actions that cause harm such as wild shopping sprees or gambling. In a depressive state, someone with bipolar disorder will be more lethargic and experience sad feelings for weeks or even months. They will exhibit symptoms during this phase that coincide very closely with major depression disorder but eventually their mood will swing back to mania.

Who is accected by Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder affects men, women, children and adolescents form all different ethnic backgrounds and social classes. Like all other mental disorders, this disorder does not discriminate. The lifelong prevalence of bipolar disorder is known to affect approximately one to two percent of the U.S. popuation. The age of onset for this disorder ranges from childhood to 50 years of age with the average being 21. There is nearly an equal male-to-female ratio for bipolar disorder.

Identifying Mania in Bipolar Disorder symptoms

If you are not sure if you or someone you love might have bipolar disorder then there are centian signs and symptoms that can indicate the illness. In periods od mania, someone with bipolar disorder will seem to have infinite energy and might sleep very little. They might also talk excessively and seem intensely excited or happy but have difficulty focusing and concentrating on tasks.

They could have rapid mood changes as they go from being joyful to suddenly becoming extremly irritable, angry and hostile. People in a manic phase may also become delusional and grandiose, talking about and believing things that are not true and they are unable to be convinced otherwise. They might engage in very impulsive actions as a result of their unrealistic thinking and even have hallucinations where they see and hear things that are not there. They can also have an increaded sex drive which might cause them to engage in risky sexual behavior.

Depressive Bipolar Symptoms

Someone who is bipolar is likely to have both symptoms of mania and depression. You will need ot identify the patterns of their mood changes and if you notice dramatic shifts then pay close attention to their symptoms. During a period of depression, someone with bipolar disorder might seem sad and hopeless or talk negatively about themselves. They will have much less energy than they would durring a manic phase, often oversleeping and spending a lot of time in bed or on the couch. They might become withdrawn and stop being involved in activities that they usually enjoy.

Throughout the depression period they might frequently cry, have thoughts of suicide or even attampt suicide in more serious cases. You might notice that they go through a suddne weight loss or gain due to extreme changes in their appetite, As with a manic episode, depression symptoms can last for a period of weeks up to several months before shifting back to a more energetic state.

Depressive episodes must last for at least two weeks in duration and are characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Loss of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Change in appetite
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Sadness
  • Suicide ideations

Understanding Bipolar Disorder Types

While bipolar disorder is a more general term encompassing people with symptoms of mania and depression there are actually different types of the disorder. Poeple can fall into the categories of having bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder which includes milder mania episodes or cyclothymic disorder which involves shorter episodes. Within these different types people may have symptoms that include "mixed features" meaning thye experience opposite moods simultaneously rather than separtely in distinct phases.
Some people with bipolar disorder may also experience "rapid cycling" meaning thye have as many as four or more mood episodes within the period of a year. This pattern of rapid cycling can occur at any point within the course or the illness although it typically happens later in the lifetime of the individual rather than when the disorder first begins developing. It id helpful to get a professional diagnosis to dtermone what tpe of bipolar disorder you may have.

Type 2 Bipolar and Cyclothymic Disorder

Althogh the disorder always includes similar symptoms and drastic mood swings, bipolar I disorder is the most severe form of the illness. Someone with type 1 bipolar will have more intense episodes that last for months at a time. Type 2 bipolar disorder includes symptoms od severs depression and episodes tha tlast for months at a time. Type 2 bipolar disorder includes symptoms of severs depression and episodes of what is called hypomania which is basically is a less severe from of mania.

Someone with hypomanic episodes will still have an elevated mood, more energy and a decreased need for sleep but they lack some of the psychotic features that can occur with mania such as delusional thinking and hallucinations. People with hypomania also find it easier to function socially in spite of their episodes and they might not have to take time off work or be hospitalized at any point. Cyclothymic disorder includes brief periods of hypomania and brief periods of depression but they are not as severe or long lasting as the other types of bipolar disorder.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

Even though the exact cause of bipolar disorder is not entirely known or understood, there are certian factors that can interact and play a role in the onset and progression of the illness. Currently, bipolar disorder is considered a primarly neurological issue which occurs because of a malfunction of chemicals in the brain including serotonin, dopamine and noradrenline.

People may have this neurological issue but it lies dormant until it is activated by certian stressors or events causing the disorder to develop. One of the major factors in someone developing bipolar disorder is a genetic predisposition because of family members such as parents and grandparents having a mood disorder. If one parent has a mood disorder then a child has a 10 to 15 percent greater chance of developing bipolar disorder. Environmental factors can also play a role such as tramitic life events triggering the onset of the illness or drug abuse causing a milder disorder to worsen over time.

Symptoms of a major depressive episode include a loss of interest in regular activities you normally derive pleasure in or purpose from, significant changes inweight or appetite, changes in sleep, restlessness or fatigue, fellings of emptiness and worthlessness, trouble concentraiting, and thoughts of suicide. Experiencing five or more of these sustained and disruptive symptoms every day over a two-week period, with at least one of the symptoms being depressed mood, is considered a major depressive episode.

Diagnosis typically involves these components:

  • A physical exam
  • A psychiatric evaluation
  • Tracking your moods and behaviors on a day-to-day basis to confirm your diagnosis.

there is no single bipolar disorder test, but some blood tests and neuroimaging may be used to rule out other conditions. Bopolar symptoms can resemble those of other disorders, which can make it challenging to properly diagnose the condition. In children and teens, symptoms of bipolar disorder may be especially hard to distinguish from normal mood changes.

Can Bipolar Disorder be cured?
When you have been diagnosid with an illness like bipolar disorder you might wonder how the illness will affect you life in the long term nd wether yoou can eventually eliminate the symptoms completely. Most in the medical field would agree that bipolar disorder is a chronic illness because it is biologically based and caused by issues in the brain. That means when a person is diagnosed with bipolar disorder it will most often be a lifelong illness.

However, most of the symptoms can be effectively managed through treatment, theropy and medication so that people with bipolar disorder can still function in daily life. Becuase one of the main causes of bipolar disorder is due to chemical imbalances in the brain, medication can actually be very helpful in stabilizing a person's mood as long as they are able to find the right ,edication that works for them. Psychotherapy is helpful in minimizing some of the effects of severe mood swings so that patients can better handle episodes when they occur.

Finding Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with bipolar, it is important that you get the bipolar disorder treatment necessary to reduce the symptoms. There are different kinds of treatment centers that can offer programs geared specifically for people suffering from this disorder. For those with very severe symptoms they have the option of staying in a residential treatment facility to get access to care every day alongside others dealing with the same issues.

Inpatient care can be an effective way at getting people back on track if their ilness has caused a lot of harm in their life and affected their job or relationships. People with bipolar disorder may benefit from having time away from the stresses of daily life to focus on managing the symptoms of their illness. Those with less severe symptoms cna choose to live at home and receive outpatient treatment in the form or medication and individual therapy sessions from a qualified psychologist.

Types of Medicaiton from Bipolar Disorder

There are numerous options available in terms of medication to treat bipolar disorder and new drugs are researched and introduced all the time. Finding the right medication can be challenging at first but eventually you and your doctor will be able to determine what works best to reduce your symptoms. The types of medications used for treatment include lithium, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, calcium channel blockers, benzodiazepines and antidepressants.
With such a slew of different drugs available it can take some adjustments and even combinations of a few medications to get the necessary results for each individual, Some medications may have undesirable side effects and patients will want to try something else that affects them less. The goal if medication is to stablize their mood and reduce symptoms of both mania and depression with minimal side effects.

Benefits of Bipolar Disorder Therapy

Once a patient finds the rigth medication to help keep them more stable, they will be ready to focus on the work they need to do in psychotherapy. Whether you are staying in residential treatment or simply taking sessions through a private practice, individual theropy is one of the keys to learning how to manage bipolar disorder. Living through multiple episodes of extreme ups and downs can create a lot of confusion and mental stress.

One of the gaols of treatment is helping people understand their own disorder, get to know their triggers and figure out the best methods to minimize symptoms. Therapists can help a patient identify certian behavior changes that may signal the onset of an episode. Once you can predict an episode and understand the types of stressors that trigger them you will be better equipped to reduce their severity and length. In theropy you can educate yourself about your own disorder and learn to adapt so that you can live with bipolar disorder without it controlling you.

Methods of Treating Bipolar Disorder

The components of addressing symptoms of bipolar disorder are medication and psychotherapy but there are other methods that can be included in treatment to help ease symptoms. In most residential treatment centers they will offer group therapy or suupport group meetings to patients so that they can talk about living with this disorder amoung people with the same issues.
Support groups help people feel less alone with their illness and it is a place where they can receive encouragement, talk about important issues and hear useful advice from people with personal experience. In treating most mental illnesses a healthier diet and regular exercise can be an additional method of stabiliaing a patient's mood. Establishing a healthy routine including nutritious food, fitness and a regular sleep pattern can be very helpful in managing the disorder.

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