Understanding Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Understanding Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is the fourth most common mental health condition worldwide. Unfortunately, it’s still often misunderstood thanks to its original name, manic depression.

The stigma around bipolar disorder is reducing though. In 2018, singer Mariah Carey revealed that she was undergoing treatment. Something she was not comfortable doing when she was diagnosed in 2011.

Seeking treatment is the best way to cope with the condition. Here are a few ways that bipolar disorder can be helped.

Medication for Bipolar Disorder

Prescribed medication usually consists of a mood stabilizer, an antipsychotic, or a combination of the two. Patients also receive psychotherapy to work through psychological issues.

Lithium carbonate is typically used to reduce mania. It works better on mania than depression though, so it’s usually given alongside an antidepressant.

Doctors may try out several medications before they can determine which one is right for you. Patients will also have blood test monitoring to ensure dosages are right.

Here are the different medications that might be prescribed.

Mood Stabilizers: Valproic acid and carbamazepine work to stabilize moods. They can help to treat manic phases.

Antipsychotics: The name might sound scary, but these drugs can treat mania as well as psychosis. Haloperidol, asenapine, aripiprazole and resperidone are alternatives to lithium.

Antidepressants: Doctors often try to reduce the use of antidepressants for bipolar disorder, as some forms of the drug can cause manic episodes. However, if you show a good initial response to them, then you can use them long-term.

If you think you might be depressed, check our list of symptoms, and please don’t be afraid to reach out and get help.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is a support, with or without medication. This form of treatment helps patients to understand past episodes, and it makes it easier to manage future episodes.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or CBT is often utilized. It explores thought patterns to help patients understand why they think and act as they do.

It also provides frameworks so patients can cope with situations to enable them to manage their lives after treatment goals have been met.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) works on a single idea; depression is a response to how we interact with others. However, depression also affects these interactions in return.

Working to improve the interactions can help to ease symptoms of depression.

Group Therapy

Where appropriate, group therapy can support medication.

One study showed patients having group CBT scored lower for mania after treatment.

Other Types of Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

There are other forms of treatment available if medication or psychotherapy don’t work.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

ECT works best for patients with severe bipolar. It also works where medication doesn’t.

Doctors decreased the use in the 1960s because of the way the media portrayed it. Modern treatments occur under anesthetic, and seizures last less than a minute.

The procedure usually happens three times a week over two to four weeks.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

This procedure uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the mood centers in the brain. It’s non-invasive and painless.

It’s often used when talking therapies and medication have failed.

Light Therapy

Sometimes bipolar disorder links to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). So light therapy is a good treatment.

It’s a daily treatment, and patients spend 20-30 minutes in front of a full-spectrum light.

Bipolar Disorder is Treatable

There are several options for those seeking treatment for bipolar disorder. Every patient is different, so anyone needing treatment needs to be properly assessed first.

Contact us today to book your first appointment at one of our locations.