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Bipolar Disorder Treatments

(Also Known As: Mood Disorder Treatments, Manic Bipolar Disorder Treatments, Bipolar Mood Disorder Treatments, Bipolar Affective Disorder Treatments)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What Kinds of Bipolar Disorder Treatments are Available?

Bipolar disorder is a long-term illness. Without proper treatment, the symptoms may become worse and the person may experience more severe manic and depressive episodes compared to the earlier stage of the illness.

Bipolar disorder greatly affects not just the life of the sufferer but the people or loved ones around him or her. So it you have manifestations of bipolar disorder, it is important that you get medical attention as soon as possible because this condition does not get better on its own. Also, even if you don’t experience the symptoms anymore, it is better that you still continue the treatment to keep the disease under control and prevent it from getting worse.

Medications or pharmacology and psychotherapeutic methods are some of the methods used to treat bipolar disorder. Other treatments may also include support groups, hospitalization, and other approaches that you and your health care provider may want to try such as alternative medicine, Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and many more. What is important is choosing the right treatment that will work for each individual struggling with bipolar disorder.

MEDICATIONS

Medication for bipolar disorder individuals may be risky because of some side effects. There’s is research that states that a person with bipolar disorder under the medication of antidepressants has the possibility of becoming manic or hypomanic or developing a rapid cycle. 4

Lithium Carbonate or Lamotrigine are two drugs that are the most effective based on a review,.5 However, Lamotrigine is the best choice to prevent depressions. 6 For mood stabilizers, the most commonly used is sodium valproate, 7 which also is used as an anticonvulsant. Other anticonvulsants used in bipolar disorder include carbamazepine, which is an effective medication for rapid cycling bipolar disorder, and lamotrigine, which is the first anticonvulsant that is proven to treat bipolar depression. 8

Other antipsychotic medications like Quetiapine, Olanzapine and Chlorpromazine also treats anxiety in acute manic episodes.

PSYCHOTHERAPY

There are many types of psychotherapy that will help a person suffering from bipolar disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most used therapy for bipolar disorder. The main objective of this treatment is to recognize and distinguish what a bipolar disorder sufferer negatively thinks and makes them behave that way. The negative thoughts and behaviors are being substituted with optimistic views and actions. The second one is family therapy which needs the participation of not just the person having bipolar disorder but his or her family members as well. With this approach, you can identify stressors and understand skills in problem solving to resolve conflicts and differences that may occur. Lastly is group therapy, which will acquaint the person with bipolar disorder to other people in the same situation. Group therapy provides a forum to communicate with and learn from others in a similar situation. It may also help build better relationship skills.

ELECTROCONVULSIVE THERAPY (ECT)

It is believed that triggering the seizure using electroconvulsive therapy will make good changes in the brain chemistry of the person with bipolar disorder so it will change the mood of the person into a positive one. This therapy is ideal for people who have severe depression with suicidal tendencies or for people who have undergone treatment for bipolar without any improvement.

HOSPITALIZATION

Sometimes, hospitalization especially inpatient will greatly help people with bipolar disorder as they will be monitored simultaneously to help stabilize their mood.

HERBAL MEDS

There are natural supplements that might help people with bipolar disorder like St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) and other brands of herbal medicines composed of different amounts of the same active ingredient. But it has been shown that St. John’s wort can decrease the effectiveness of the medicine that you are taking. 9 It can also cause a major change in the condition of an individual with bipolar disorder. For example, he or she can begin a manic episode especially if there is mood stabilizer that is being taken. 10 However, it is advisable that before trying any natural supplements, consult your doctor first.

Could You Have Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Anxiety Disorder NOS – Irrational Fears, Worries, Anxiety, Depression, Mood Changes
Dysthymic Disorder – Mental Illness, Mood Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar
Schizophrenia – Paranoid, Mental Illness, Delusion, Hallucinations, Mood Changes, Depression