Treatment Options For Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also called manic depressive disorder, is a condition associated with the causes that creates psychological and physical problems in one’s everyday life. The most common symptom of this disorder is the patient experiencing extreme mood swings.
Sometimes the patient gets depressed and feels hopeless and sad and at other times his/her mood completely shifts in the other direction and he/she may feel elated and enthusiastic. This is why this condition is also called manic depression.
Though bipolar disorder is a long-term medical condition caused in the brain by an imbalance of neurotransmitters, it can be brought under control and moods swings can be checked with psychological counseling (psychotherapy) and medications. Sometimes psychiatric hospitalizations become necessary to make the patient stable. In extremely critical circumstances, some other less common treatment options are used.
Medications For Bipolar Disorder
For stabilizing the mood swings and even for the extreme symptoms like psychosis, anxiety and depression, doctors prescribe different medications. The medications that are prescribed can be classified broadly into following categories:
• Mood Stabilizers
• Anti-anxiety Sedatives
• Calcium Channel blockers
Some common medications that are generally prescribed to stabilize the mood of the patient and prevent extreme highs and lows are:
Lithium has been used for years to control the symptoms of mood swing and some other symptoms of bipolar disorder. Prescribing this drug needs periodic blood test as lithium can cause kidney and thyroid problem in patient. Some patients experience side effects of this drug like restlessness, dry mouth etc.
Other mood stabilizing medications that are often prescribed are valproic aid, lamotrigine and divalproex etc. For treating mixed episodes, medications like asenapine are often prescribed. Dizziness, drowsiness and weight gain can be possible side effects of these medications.
Certain antipsychotic medications that are used for bipolar disorder treatment are quetiapine and olanzapine etc. Medicine like symbyax is the combination of antidepressant and anti-psychotic drug. It stabilizes the mood and also works for depression treatment.
Psychological Therapies For Treating Bipolar Disorder
As bipolar disorder affects the brain and leaves its impact on patient’s emotional and cognitive functions, psychological therapies are often used to reduce the negative behaviors, to increase the interest of patient in taking medication and to allow them to learn the coping skills. Some of the therapies that are used to treat patients of bipolar disorder are:
• Cognitive behavioral therapy
• Psychoanalytic therapy
• Group therapy
• Dialectical behavioral therapy
• Family therapy
• Talk therapy
Sometimes patients become violent and start behaving dangerously like trying to commit suicide. These types of episodes require 24 hour care through psychiatric hospitalization. The patients are closely monitored by specialized staff and skilled Psychiatrists. Medications are often changed after monitoring the patient to achieve stabilization.
In most of the cases of bipolar disorder, patients need lifelong treatment, even during the period they feel better. This condition is quite unpredictable and there may be ups and downs. If left untreated, these ups and downs can be upsetting. The recurring depressive and manic episode makes it difficult to lead a productive life.
Early diagnosis and a solid treatment plan may help to avoid the seriousness of this disorder. For successful treatment, medication alone is not sufficient. Combination of treatment is required to get the best results.
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