Approximately 26% of American adults will deal with some form of mental disorder in a given year. Bipolar disorder is a common mental health issue that people may face in their lifetime. Learn more about bipolar treatment, symptoms, mental wellness tips, and how we can help you manage your health.
Bipolar Disorder Basics
Bipolar disorder is typically a lifelong illness, which means that it needs to be treated throughout an individual’s lifetime. Episodes can vary between mild to intense and depend on various factors. The causes of bipolar disorder vary from person to person. Some factors that might contribute to bipolar disorder may include age, past trauma, genetics, brain chemistry, and, in some cases, long-term drug or alcohol use.
Treatment for bipolar disorder is complex and typically requires several different variations until the right combination is found. Treatment may include various prescription medications and regular therapy sessions to lifestyle modifications like changes to diet, sleep, and exercise routines.
Generally, bipolar disorder is classified as either Bipolar I or Bipolar II, depending on the diagnosis. Stress can often trigger an episode and make symptoms worse. Those with Bipolar I experience manic episodes that could include delusions and sudden bouts of excessive energy. People with Bipolar II also experience mania, but it’s combined with periods of depressive episodes.
Symptoms of mania or hypomania may include insomnia, racing thoughts, obsessive/compulsive behaviors, and irritability. Other symptoms may include hallucinations, agitation, a sudden elevation in mood, and talking excessively.
During a depressive episode, the symptoms are much different and may include crying “out of nowhere,” extreme fatigue and sleepiness, and feelings of hopelessness. Some people also have trouble sleeping, lose interest in friends and hobbies, and have difficulty concentrating or making decisions. In severe cases, a patient may also have thoughts of suicide or attempt self-harm.
A third type of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder. Symptoms include a combination of depression and hypomania, but they tend to be less severe and less frequent.
Bipolar Treatment Methods
A combination of medication and therapy effectively treat bipolar disorder. The intensity, type, and frequency of treatment usually depend on each individual and their unique needs.
Not everyone dealing with bipolar disorder knows how to get treatment or when to seek it. If you start to notice increasing episodes of mania, hypomania, or depression, it might be time to get some help.
Bipolar treatment often includes a blend of psychotherapy via inpatient or outpatient treatment along with medications tailored to each individual’s situation.
Long-term psychotherapy is an excellent way to help patients manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder, and this is achieved either through inpatient or outpatient treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is an effective form of therapy that helps patients examine how thoughts and feelings influence behavior. Over time, you’ll notice that it’s easier to control and change these things because you’re more aware of what’s causing them.
Another form of psychotherapy that can be used for bipolar treatment is called interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT). IPSRT is a form of therapy that teaches patients how to develop more healthy routines. Over time, these healthy routines can improve your mood by focusing on a healthy diet, sleep, and exercise.
Family-focused therapy is also effective and helps patients work closely with their loved ones. It encourages others to identify triggers and symptoms so that everyone works as a team to mitigate them and seek the correct treatment plan.
You may receive a prescription to help with bipolar treatment. Specific medications can include mood stabilizers like lithium, antidepressants like fluoxetine or sertraline, antipsychotics like olanzapine or risperidone, and others.
Mood stabilizers are commonly prescribed to those who have manic or hypomanic episodes. Patients dealing with depressive episodes may receive antidepressants; however, this medication can make manic episodes worse. If this applies to you, you may also receive a prescription for an antipsychotic.
A combination of antidepressants and antipsychotics is common in those with Bipolar II disorder. The medication can treat depressive episodes while also helping to reduce the risk or frequency of manic episodes. You might also receive anti-anxiety medication like benzodiazepine, which is usually given temporarily and is often prescribed only to bipolar patients who have difficulty sleeping.
Mental Wellness Tips
Part of a holistic mental health treatment plan should include some self-management tactics. Get to know your moods, when they change, and what could be a possible trigger. Consider keeping a journal so you can write your feelings down on paper. Look for new healthy ways to adapt your lifestyle. For example, start eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, get as much sleep as possible, and consider joining a gym or participating in a regular workout plan.
If you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed, learning how to cope with these times makes managing your symptoms more manageable. Over time, it’ll be easier to recognize the patterns and determine what possible triggers make your bipolar disorder feel more intense. Do your best to stick to a routine that should include regular sleep and work schedules, ongoing therapy sessions, and medications. Never skip a dose of medication, and talk to your doctor if you experience any unpleasant side effects.
Get the Help You Need
Understanding the causes, symptoms, and methods of bipolar treatment will help you manage your condition. Look for a comprehensive treatment plan that includes psychotherapy and medications to provide you with the help you need. If you’re looking for help in South Florida, our caring, compassionate team at Comprehensive Wellness Centers is here for you, so verify your insurance and get started today.