What Is The Treatment For Bipolar
Treatment for bipolar includes medicines and talk therapy. Medicine can help keep moods stable. But by itself, medicine isnt enough. A person with bipolar needs talk therapy, too.
Each persons treatment is tailored to what they need. A type of talk therapy called DBT helps most people. In this therapy, people can learn skills to manage moods. For example, they can learn to:
- become more mindful of their emotions and thoughts
- manage their emotions
- cope with strong emotions in healthy ways
- set up and follow routines that help keep moods stable
- be patient and kind to themselves
- care for themselves in positive ways
- get along better with others
With time and practice, these skills can become part of a persons daily life.
Therapy also includes making goals and working out ways to move toward them. In therapy, people track their progress. Many find strengths they didnt know they had.
When possible, parents take part in treatment. This helps them understand bipolar moods and how to best respond. It can help families have less conflict, relate better, and feel closer.
Lithium Is The Standard Treatment
The current pharmaceutical treatment for bipolar disorder is lithium. Lithium, in its purest form, is a mineral. Research conducted at the University of Wisconsin found that lithium stabilizes neurotransmitter release in the brain . However, opinions on the effectiveness of lithium still vary among mental health professionals. No matter our opinion, it is important to note that no one should ever quit a medication for mental illness without first consulting their health care professional.
Unspecified Or Other Specified Bipolar And Related Disorders
In some cases, a person may experience symptoms of bipolar disorder that do not fit into the other three types.
In such cases, they may receive a diagnosis that doctors call unspecified bipolar disorder and related disorders or other specified bipolar and related disorders. This will depend on the type, duration, and severity of their symptoms.
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Why Is Bipolar Disorder No Longer Called Manic
In the last few decades, the medical world, especially the field of psychiatry, has intentionally made a shift from using manic-depressive illness or manic depression to describe bipolar disorder. There are several reasons for this shift, including:
- Healthcare providers used to use manic depression to describe a wide range of mental health conditions. As mental health condition classification systems, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , have become more sophisticated, the new term bipolar disorder allows for more clarity in diagnosis.
- Theres a lot of stigma and negativity associated with the terms manic and mania, especially due to the use of maniac. Similarly, people use the term depression casually to describe periods of sadness that dont qualify as clinical depression. Using bipolar disorder takes the focus away from these two words. Bipolar disorder is more of a clinical, medical term and less emotionally loaded than manic depression.
- The term manic depression excludes the cyclothymic or hypomanic versions of the condition.
What Is Bipolar I Disorder
Bipolar I disorder is a form of mental illness. A person affected by bipolar I disorder has had at least one manic episode in their life. A manic episode is a period of abnormally elevated or irritable mood and high energy, accompanied by abnormal behavior that disrupts life.
Most people with bipolar I disorder also suffer from episodes of depression. Often, there is a pattern of cycling between mania and depression. This is where the term manic depression comes from. In between episodes of mania and depression, many people with bipolar I disorder can live normal lives.
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Bipolar Disorder And Relationships
Bipolar disorder can affect any of your relationships. But these effects might show up most clearly in your closest relationships, like those with family members and romantic partners.
When it comes to managing a relationship while living with bipolar disorder, honesty can always help. Being open about your condition can help your partner better understand your symptoms and how they can offer support.
You might consider starting with a few basic details, including:
- how long youve had the condition
- how episodes of depression usually affect you
- how episodes of mania usually affect you
- your treatment approach, including therapy, medication, and coping strategies
- anything they can do to help
Want more tips on maintaining a healthy relationship when you or a partner has bipolar disorder? Our guide can help.
What Does A Doctor Need To Know To Diagnose Bipolar Disorder
A bipolar disorder diagnosis is made only by taking careful note of symptoms, including their severity, length, and frequency. “Mood swings” from day to day or moment to moment do not necessarily indicate a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Rather, the diagnosis hinges on having periods of unusual elevation or irritability in mood that are coupled with increases in energy, sleeplessness, and fast thinking or speech. The patientâs symptoms are fully assessed using specific criteria from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5.
In making the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, the psychiatrist or other mental health expert will ask you questions about your personal and family history of mental illness and bipolar disorder or other mood disorders. Because bipolar disorder sometimes has a genetic component, family history can be helpful in making a diagnosis.
Also, the doctor will ask detailed questions about your bipolar symptoms. Other questions may focus on reasoning, memory, ability to express yourself, and ability to maintain relationships.
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An Accurate Diagnosis For Bipolar Disorder
Even for trained professionals, the diagnosis of bipolar disorder may be complicated, so it is best to see someone with experience treating bipolar disorder. During the diagnostic exam for bipolar disorder, the bipolar disorder specialist will carry out a complete psychiatric history, which involves answering questions about your symptoms, the timeline of your symptoms, and previous treatment you might have received. Although there are no lab tests used to diagnose bipolar disorder, the doctor will carry out a physical exam to be sure that your symptoms are not caused by any medication or illness other than bipolar disorder.The first step to take in treating bipolar disorder is getting an accurate diagnosis. As simple as it may sound, getting an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder is not easy. Some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be difficult to distinguish from that of other mental illnesses. Bipolar disorder is often wrongly diagnosed for depression, and several people with bipolar disorder often visit the doctor several times before the problem is identified correctly.
After a specialist determines that you have bipolar disorder, you must understand your treatment options, and this article adequately explains the various treatment options for bipolar disorder.
What Should I Know About Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.
Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct clinical trials with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit the NIMH Clinical Trials webpage.
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Symptoms Of Depressive Episodes
Depressive episodes can also emerge without warning. Some of the triggers for these depressive periods include lack of sleep, excessive stress, or a negative life event, but often there is no known cause for the depression. The depressive episodes must be carefully monitored, as there is an increased risk of suicidal behavior during these phases.
- Feelings of despair and hopelessness
- Intense fatigue
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Chronic pain with no known medical cause
- Trouble concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts
How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed In A Teen
Bipolar disorder can be hard to spot. Thats because it may look like other health problems, such as depression. A teen must have both depressive and manic symptoms to a varying degree to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
A mental health provider will ask about your teens health history and symptoms. He or she will also do a mental health evaluation before making a diagnosis.
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Can Stress Cause Bipolar
Stress is not a cause of bipolar disorder. Stress may contribute to the condition by causing a person to have an episode, but it is not the cause. In most cases, individuals who have bipolar disorder do not have a history of stress, although they may feel a loss of control because of the symptoms of their illness..
Can You Suddenly Develop Bipolar Disorder
Yes, you can suddenly develop bipolar disorder . You can develop it suddenly and without any warning signs. The reasons behind the sudden development are not really known. In most of the cases a genetic link is found, but even then the reason is not clear. Also, certain traumatic events can trigger the sudden development. For example, you are very happy in your job, when suddenly you are fired, your girlfriend/boyfriend breaks up with you or you lose your parents, etc. Then you may develop bipolar symptoms. It is difficult to treat the sudden development, therefore you need to be careful with your mood swings..
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Signs And Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder can look very different in different people. The symptoms vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others alternate equally between the two types of episodes. Some have frequent mood disruptions, while others experience only a few over a lifetime.
There are four types of mood episodes in bipolar disorder: mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes. Each type of bipolar disorder mood episode has a unique set of symptoms.
Can Bipolar Disorder Run In The Family
Yes, a family history of bipolar disorder is the most influential risk factor for bipolar disorder. If youre concerned about your mental health symptoms, make sure to ask grandparents or older family members if they remember anyone else in the family facing similar struggles.
Your doctor will ask about your familys history of mental health during your diagnosis.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
The defining sign of bipolar I disorder is a manic episode that lasts at least one week, while people with bipolar II disorder or cyclothymia experience hypomanic episodes.
But many people with bipolar disorder experience both hypomanic/manic and depressive episodes. These changing mood states dont always follow a set pattern, and depression doesnt always follow manic phases. A person may also experience the same mood state several times with periods of euthymia in between before experiencing the opposite mood.
Mood changes in bipolar disorder can happen over a period of weeks, months and sometimes even years.
An important aspect of the mood changes is that theyre a departure from your regular self and that the mood change is sustained for a long time. It may be many days or weeks in the case of mania and many weeks or months in the case of depression.
The severity of the depressive and manic phases can differ from person to person and in the same person at different times.
Signs and symptoms of manic episodes
Some people with bipolar disorder will have episodes of mania or hypomania many times throughout their life others may experience them only rarely.
Signs and symptoms of a manic episode include:
Most of the time, people experiencing a manic episode are unaware of the negative consequences of their actions. With bipolar disorder, suicide is an ever-present danger some people become suicidal in manic episodes, not just depressive episodes.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms
Everyones experience with bipolar disorder is different, and the signs and symptoms vary.
A manic episode may include these symptoms:
- Intense feelings of euphoria, excitement, or happiness
- Appearing abnormally jumpy or wired
- Having excessive energy
- Insomnia or restlessness
- Speaking fast or being unusually talkative
- Having racing or jumbled thoughts
- Inflated self-esteem
- Doing impulsive, uncharacteristic, or risky things like having unsafe sex or spending a lot of money
- Increased agitation and irritability
A depressive episode may include these symptoms:
A severe manic or depressive episode may trigger psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations .
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Information For Family Carers And Friends
How can I get support?
You can speak to your GP. You should be given your own assessment through NHS mental health services to work out what effect your caring role is having on your health. And what support you need. Such as practical support and emergency support.
These are some other options for you:
- Join a carers service
- Join a carers support group
- Ask your local authority for a carers assessment
- Read about the condition
- Apply for welfare benefits for carers
Rethink Mental Illness run carers support groups in some areas. You can also search for groups on the Carers Trust website:
- Rethink Mental Illness: www.rethink.org/about-us/our-support-groups
- Carers Trust: www.carers.org/search/network-partners
How can I support the person I care for?
You might find it easier to support someone with bipolar disorder if you understand their symptoms, treatment and self-management skills.
You should be aware of what you can do if you are worried about their mental state. It can be helpful to know contact information for their mental health team or GP.
You could find out from your relative if they have a crisis plan. You could help your relative to make a crisis plan if they dont have one.
As a carer you should be involved in decisions about care planning. But you dont have a legal right to this. The medical team should encourage the person that you care for to allow information to be shared with you.
You can find out more information about:
Brain Structure And Function
Research shows that the brain structure and function of people with bipolar disorder may differ from those of people who do not have bipolar disorder or other mental disorders. Learning about the nature of these brain changes helps researchers better understand bipolar disorder and, in the future, may help predict which types of treatment will work best for a person with bipolar disorder.
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Resources For Managing Bipolar Depression
Living with bipolar disorder comes with a variety of challenges for both you and your loved ones. Fortunately, there are a number of good sources of accurate information on the condition, as well as organizations that provide emotional support and suggestions for seeking financial assistance if needed.
Whether you’re decoding the symptoms, looking for the right treatment , or dealing with the prognosis, Harvard University experts help you understand when its time to call a professional and get help.
How A Person With Bipolar Thinks
A person with bipolar disorder experiences mood changes that affect the way he or she thinks, feels, and behaves. This can lead to dramatic, sudden shifts in everyday life and make it difficult to fulfill everyday responsibilities, such as going to work, caring for children, and maintaining relationships. These mood changes are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through. Most people occasionally have times of feeling sad or blue, or lose self-control during a stressful or upsetting period. They may feel irritable or angry for a day or two, or perhaps lose interest in things for a short period. But people with bipolar disorder can have extreme mood swings that last for days, weeks, or months. These mood changes are so different from their normal selves that they can feel like theyre in the grip of another person one who is temperamentally different, and even opposite in many ways..
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How Do You Prove Bipolar Disorder
There are no blood tests or brain scans that can be used to diagnose bipolar disorder. Nonetheless, your doctor may do a physical examination and prescribe lab tests, such as a thyroid function test and urine analysis. These tests can help evaluate whether or not other ailments or circumstances are causing your symptoms. For example, your doctor may order these tests if bipolar disorder is part of a multiple-condition diagnosis.
Bipolar disorder cannot be confirmed by only examining the patient. A diagnosis must be based on information from a variety of sources, including the patient’s history and medical records, mental health professionals who have examined the patient, and any other people who know the patient well. These include family members or friends who have been told by the patient that he or she has bipolar disorder.
Diagnostic tools used by psychiatrists to confirm the diagnosis of bipolar disorder include the following:
A complete medical history should be taken from each patient, including questions about alcohol use, substance abuse, and history of suicide attempts or self-harm behaviors. This information will help identify any other conditions that may be contributing to the patient’s symptoms or preventing him or her from receiving treatment.
The psychiatrist will also conduct a physical examination of the patient, looking for signs of physical illness or injury that could be causing or contributing to the mania or depression.