Medication Treatment For Bipolar Disorder
Most people with bipolar disorder need medication in order to keep their symptoms under control. When medication is continued on a long-term basis, it can reduce the frequency and severity of bipolar mood episodes, and sometimes prevent them entirely. If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you and your doctor will work together to find the right drug or combination of drugs for your needs. Because everyone responds to medication differently, you may have to try several different medications before you find one that relieves your symptoms.
Check in frequently with your doctor. Its important to have regular blood tests to make sure that your medication levels are in the therapeutic range. Getting the dose right is a delicate balancing act. Close monitoring by your doctor will help keep you safe and symptom-free.
Continue taking your medication, even if your mood is stable. Dont stop taking your medication as soon as you start to feel better. Most people need to take medication long-term in order to avoid relapse.
Dont expect medication to fix all your problems. Bipolar disorder medication can help reduce the symptoms of mania and depression, but in order to feel your best, its important to lead a lifestyle that supports wellness. This includes surrounding yourself with supportive people, getting therapy, and getting plenty of rest.
The Unique Dangers Of Bipolar 2 Disorder
The nature of bipolar 2 disorder presents unique challenges to both diagnosis and treatment that increase the risk of distress and suicide. Because depression is typically the primary symptom of bipolar 2 while hypomania often remains hidden, many people with the illness are initially misdiagnosed with, and treated for, unipolar depression. Being misdiagnosed in this way puts you at risk for antidepressant-induced mood swings and allows your true illness to progress. This not only keeps you in a state of suffering, but also increases the risk of progressive damage to brain structures and function, which in turn can complicate recovery.
When the illness remains untreated, bipolar 2 also presents the highest suicide risk among all subtypes of major mood disorders. Studies have consistently shown that people with bipolar 2 disorder both attempt and complete suicide at a higher rate than those with bipolar 1 disorder. Part of this is attributable to the depth and duration of depressive episodes so often present in bipolar 2 diagnoses.
However, in the past decade, researchers have also discovered something else; it is not simply the quality of depression that informs suicidality, but the rapidity of mood switching. People with bipolar 2 disorder experience rapid cycling at a higher rate than people with bipolar 1, which researchers believe results in increased suicidality.
Key Points To Remember
If you think that you have Bipolar II, make an appointment to discuss your concerns with a licensed mental health professional. Dont just concentrate on describing your depressive symptoms. Make sure you are also discussing the hypomania. Leaving out those episodes is one reason misdiagnosis could occur. If they still wont listen, dont give up. For some people it takes years to be accurately diagnosed.
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Profiting From Bipolar Disorder And Mental Illness
Honestly, Im tired of giving these people the benefit of the doubt. Im just going to come right out with it: these people are trying to profit from pain and desperation. They know that desperate people will do anything to get better, no matter how wacky. They are trying to profit from you. They are trying to profit from your illness. I do not like these people. I do not like these people at all.
What To Expect During The Diagnostic Exam
A diagnostic exam for bipolar disorder generally consists of the following:
Psychological evaluation The doctor or bipolar disorder specialist will conduct a complete psychiatric history. You will answer questions about your symptoms, the history of the problem, any treatment youve previously received, and your family history of mood disorders.
Medical history and physical There are no lab tests for identifying bipolar disorder, but your doctor should conduct a medical history and physical exam in order to rule out illnesses or medications that might be causing your symptoms. Screening for thyroid disorders is particularly important, as thyroid problems can cause mood swings that mimic bipolar disorder.
In addition to taking your psychiatric and medical history, your doctor may also talk to family members and friends about your moods and behaviors. Often, those close to you are able to give a more accurate and objective picture of your symptoms.
Are your symptoms caused by something else?
Medical conditions and medications that can mimic the symptoms of bipolar disorder include:
- Thyroid disorders
- Adrenal disorders
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Which Bipolar Medicine Is Best
The best bipolar medicine is the one that works best for you. Work with your doctor to decide on the medication plan that helps you the most.
You may keep taking these medications for years or decades, even if itâs been a long time since your last manic or depressive episode. This is called maintenance therapy and helps prevent recurrence of symptoms.
The Role Of The Pharmacist
The pharmacist plays a tremendous role in optimizing care for patients with bipolar II disorder. To clinical pharmacists, obtaining an accurate and complete medication history is very important in determining the appropriate therapy, or even identifying underlying medication-related causes of disease cycling. The pharmacist can be a viable component in providing appropriate dosing strategies, reviewing therapeutic regimens for drug interactions, instituting clinical monitoring parameters, and identifying signs and symptoms of medication toxicity. Clinical pharmacists can also provide the patient with discharge counseling. Educating this population on appropriate administration times, possible adverse reactions, and potential drug interactions can increase medication adherence and reduce future hospitalizations.;
As an easily accessible resource, community pharmacists are also key players in providing optimal care to patients with bipolar II disorder. Not all institutions employ the services of a pharmacist for discharge counseling, and in this instance outpatient counseling through community pharmacists is very important in increasing medication compliance and adherence. Community pharmacists may also provide information about ways to identify early signs and symptoms of mania or depression so as to help patients seek medical help sooner.;
What Causes Bipolar Disorder
Doctors and scientists don’t know the exact cause of bipolar disorder, but they think that biochemical, genetic, and may all be involved. It’s believed this condition is caused by imbalances in certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. If the neurotransmitters aren’t in balance, the brain’s mood-regulating system won’t work the way it should.
Genes also play a role. If a close relative has bipolar disorder, a person’s risk of developing the condition is higher. This doesn’t mean, though, that if you have a relative with bipolar disorder you will automatically develop it! Even in studies involving identical twins raised in the same home, one twin sometimes had bipolar disorder whereas the other did not. Researchers are now working on identifying the gene or genes involved in bipolar disorder.
Environmental factors may play a role in bipolar disorder. For some teens, stresses such as a death in the family, their parents’ divorce, or other traumatic events could trigger a first episode of mania or depression. Sometimes, going through the changes of puberty can set off an episode. In girls, symptoms can be tied to their monthly menstrual cycle.
Acute Management Of Bipolar Ii Depression
Despite the fact that hypomania being the hallmark of the disorder, patients spend far more time in and experience greater distress from their depressed states. Therefore, effective treatment for BP II depression is perhaps the most important issue in BP II.
Unfortunately, the majority of patients with BP II depression are inadequately treated. The National Comorbidity Survey Replication has shown that only about 16% of patients with BP II received appropriate medication which was defined as given lithium/valproate, anticonvulsants or antipsychotics, while 60% received no medication. Similarly, data from the Jorvi Bipolar Study found that only 44% of subjects with BP II were treated with an anticonvulsant or lithium. Patients with BP II were significantly more likely to receive treatment with an antidepressant compared to subjects with BP I. Only 31% of patients with BP II were considered to be receiving adequate pharmacotherapy. In a community sample of newly diagnosed patients with BP II , 55.5% were prescribed an antidepressant , compared to 31% who were prescribed lithium, an anticonvulsant, or an antipsychotic.
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Seven Classes And The Key Findings That Shaped Them
The seven phenoclasses, as the U-M team has dubbed them, include standard measures doctors already use to diagnose and track the progress of bipolar disorder.
- Changes in cognition, which includes thinking, reasoning and emotion processing
- Psychological dimensions such as personality and temperament
- Measures of behaviors related to substance use or abuse called motivated behaviors
- Aspects of the persons life involving family, intimate relationships and traumas
- Patterns of sleep and circadian rhythms
- Measures of how patients symptoms change over time and respond to treatment
Some of the key findings the U-M team made in the Prechter cohort include:
Although bipolar disorder tends to run in families, the long-term study revealed no one gene explains it, says McInnis, who is the Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression in the U-M Medical Schools Department of Psychiatry.
If there was a gene with a strong effect like what we see in breast cancer, for instance, we would have found it, he explains. We hope this new framework will provide a new approach to understand this disorder, and other complex diseases, by developing models that can guide a management strategy for clinicians and patients and give researchers consistent variables to measure and assess.
Types Of Bipolar Disorder
There is no set pattern for the mood swings in an individual, and it may vary from person to person. Some people may experience several events, whereas some may undergo a few episodic interventions during their life.
Bipolar disorder can be distinguished into four types based on the behavioral patterns of an affected individual:
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When To See A Doctor
Consult immediate medical review if you observe any signs of a manic episode in your near or dear ones. Getting treatment at the right time will prevent the symptoms from aggravating and make a significant contribution to a persons mental health.
Several people are oblivious to the illness residing in them and would be reluctant to consider a visit to the doctor. It is necessary to drive them to a consultants office to get a diagnosis for the same. They might be thankful to you for your efforts later on.
Any person living with bipolar disorder should seek immediate medical help in case of long periods of depression to evade the risk of self-harm and suicide.
The Benefits Of Intensive Treatment And Long
While short-term residential treatment programs may be suitable for some, long-term residential care is often necessary for those with more severe or complex needs. Longer duration of care means more opportunities for clinicians to observe mood episodes and tailor pharmacological treatment to address them. Simultaneously, you can begin to deeply explore the roots of your distress and replace damaging emotional and behavioral patterns with healthy alternatives, expanding your ability to effectively cope with your disorder, so you can live the life you want to live.
But one of the most powerful tools we have for healing isnt found in a therapy room or a prescription padits found in everyday living. Within the context of a therapeutic community, your everyday life can become a profound therapeutic experience, giving you continuous opportunities to learn from others who are on their own healing journeys. In the company of peers who understand your struggles, you can share stories, responsibilities, meals, joys, conflicts, and accomplishments.
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Promising Cures For Bipolar Kills People
I have said it before and I will say it again, random, unscientific treatments kill people. Its not about taking mass amounts of vitamin C, its about that fact that someone is taking vitamin C instead of getting real treatment. I dont really care if you want to think black is white, pray to a god, drink carrot juice daily or have your aura cleansed; what I care about is that you get actual treatment too.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms
A person with bipolar disorder will go through episodes of mania and at other times experience episodes of depression . These aren’t the normal periods of happiness and sadness that everyone experiences from time to time. Instead, the episodes are intense or severe mood swings, like a pendulum that keeps arcing higher and higher.
Symptoms of mania include:
- anger, worry, and anxiety
- thoughts of death or suicide
In adults, episodes of mania or depression usually last for weeks or months, although they can be shorter in length. In children and adolescents, though, these episodes can be much shorter, and a kid or teen can even go back and forth between mania and depression throughout the day.
Episodes of mania or depression may happen irregularly and follow an unpredictable pattern or they may be linked, with a manic episode always following a period of depression, or vice versa. Sometimes episodes have a seasonal pattern. Mania in the spring, for example, may be followed by depression in the winter.
Between episodes, someone with bipolar disorder usually returns to normal functioning. For some people, though, there is little or no “break period” between their cycles. These mood swing cycles can change slowly or rapidly, with rapid cycling between mania and depression being much more common in women, children, and adolescents.
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Common Symptoms Of Depression
- deep feelings of sadness or hopelessness for a long period of time
- having little to no interest in activities that were once enjoyable
- difficulty focusing, remembering things, and making decisions
- restlessness or irritability
- eating too much or too little
- sleeping too much or too little
- thinking or talking about death or suicide
- attempting suicide
- an overly joyful or outgoing mood for an extended period of time
- intense irritability
- talking quickly or rapidly transitioning between different ideas during a conversation
- racing thoughts
- picking up many new activities or projects
- difficulty sleeping due to high energy levels
- impulsive or risky behavior
What Are The Symptoms Of Bipolar Ii Disorder
During a hypomanic episode, elevated mood can manifest itself as either euphoria or as irritability.
Symptoms during hypomanic episodes include:
- Flying suddenly from one idea to the next
- Having exaggerated self confidence
- Rapid, “pressured” and loud speech
- Increased energy, with hyperactivity and a decreased need for sleep
People experiencing hypomanic episodes are often quite pleasant to be around. They can often seem like the “life of the party” — making jokes, taking an intense interest in other people and activities, and infecting others with their positive mood.
What’s so bad about that, you might ask? Hypomania can also lead to erratic and unhealthy behavior. Hypomanic episodes can sometimes progress onward to full manias that affect a person’s ability to function . In mania, people might spend money they don’t have, seek out sex with people they normally wouldn’t, and engage in other impulsive or risky behaviors with the potential for dangerous consequences.
The vast majority of people with bipolar II disorder experience more time with depressive than hypomanic symptoms. Depressions can occur soon after hypomania subsides, or much later. Some people cycle back and forth between hypomania and depression, while others have long periods of normal mood in between episodes.
Untreated, an episode of hypomania can last anywhere from a few days to several months. Most commonly, symptoms continue for a few weeks to a few months.
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How Do Doctors Treat It
Although there’s no cure for bipolar disorder, treatment can help stabilize moods and help the person manage and control symptoms. Like other teens with long-lasting medical conditions , teens with bipolar disorder need to work closely with their doctors and other medical professionals to treat it.
This team of medical professionals, together with the teen and family, develop what is called a treatment plan. Teens with bipolar disorder will probably receive medication, such as a mood stabilizer, from a psychiatrist or other medical doctor. A psychologist or other type of counselor will provide counseling or psychotherapy for the teen and his or her family. Doctors will watch the symptoms closely and offer additional treatment advice if necessary.