Bipolar Depression: A Treatable Symptom

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Those who suffer from bipolar disorder are certainly aware that episodes of depression followed by a manic phase are the key symptoms of the illness. One of the best ways to handle each phase of the disorder is by learning to recognise the signs that a severe mood swing is imminent. By seeking help and utilising self-treatment techniques, the destructive results of depressive and manic episodes can be diminished. However, to effectively treat the severe depression which occurs in those suffering from bipolar disorder, antidepressants or antipsychotics must be prescribed by a physician or psychiatrist.

Antidepressant Medications

In approximately 70% of cases of bipolar disorder, antidepressants have proven to be effective in treating depression and ameliorating its results. Be aware, however, that this treatment takes some time, usually two to four weeks, to work properly and that the dosage must be carefully monitored to ensure its effectiveness. Should there be side effects occurring, the doctor may change the dosage to alleviate them. The most important key, however,  is remembering to take the medicine in the dosage prescribed on a regular basis and do not stop taking it unless it is advised by your GP.

The various types of antidepressants used to treat bipolar depression episodes include:

•    Tricyclics such as dothiepin, imipramine, amitryptyline
•    Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors such as fluoxetine, venlafaxine, reboxetine
•    Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors such as phenelzene and isocarboxazid

Treatment of bipolar disorder is usually outpatient; however, there are instances in which those diagnosed may be hospitalised. Severe symptoms which indicate a danger to the patient or others, or treatment per the Mental Health Act may necessitate a hospital stay to ensure the safety of all concerned.

Along with medication, psychological treatment may be appropriate. Psychiatric sessions can aid in educating those who suffer from bipolar disorder and provide advice about maintaining a job and personal relationships as well as how to get a good night’s sleep. Some doctors advocate exercise and diet regimens which may alleviate the symptoms of the illness.

As research advances into the illness of bipolar disorder, new medicines which aid in stabilising mood swings will be developed. Currently there are several such drugs in various stages of research and acceptance. These include medications referred to as vagal nerve stimulators and transcranial magnetic stimulators.

Until such time as further treatment options become available, ensure that your GP-prescribed regiment is followed faithfully and regularly.

Learn how I beat Depression

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