Seeking Treatment: Bipolar Disorder

Learn how I beat Depression

Bipolar disorder, otherwise known as manic-depression, is one of the most serious mental illnesses known to modern medicine. Bipolar patients suffer from wild, uncontrollable mood swings that cripple their personal, emotional, and professional lives.

Bipolar patients experience periods of alternating mania and depression that can last for several weeks, or as long as a year. Both emotional extremes pose grave risks for the bipolar sufferer. During periods of mania, bipolar patients often let their lives spiral out-of-control, euphoric, and heedless of the consequences of their actions. They can endanger themselves and others, and routinely harm their own health by failing to sleep and eat. During periods of depression, many bipolar patients feel that they lack the energy to accomplish even the most basic tasks of living. During these times, bipolar patients often abandon personal and professional, in the end facing much personal disappointment (and possibly financial ruin). Suicide is also a threat for the bipolar depressive.

Without proper psychiatric care, someone with bipolar disorder may undergo five or six extreme mood swings over the course of twenty years. Unfortunately, a six-month-long episode of delusional mania is often enough to seriously damage someone’s life for the next twenty or more years. Furthermore, a six-month episode of psychotic depression is often enough to drive someone to a tragic end, such as suicide.

However, with proper treatment, bipolar disorder patients’ decrease significantly. Although there is, as yet, no cure for bipolar disorder, the right treatment can greatly reduce the number of extreme mood swings that bipolar sufferers undergo in their lifetimes. With a combination of therapy and psychiatric drugs, bipolar patients can spend years or even decades without any manic, hypomanic, or severely depressive episodes.

There are several treatment options for those who suffer from bipolar manic-depression. A good therapist prescribes a bipolar patient a combination of these varying treatments, such as best suits the individual patient.

The first class of treatments involves drugs known as mood stabilizers, which prevent patients from experiencing undesirable extremes of mood. The most popular of these drugs is a naturally-occurring salt called lithium, which the mental health profession has used to treat manic-depressive symptoms for the past 50 years. Other treatments include anti-psychotics and anti-depressives, to lessen the impact of manic and depressive episodes when they do occur.

Typically, therapists complement these strictly chemical treatments with therapeutic ones. Often, manic-depressives are taught to recognise typical triggers of bipolar episodes (for example, insufficient sleep), and to avoid those triggers. They are also often taught to recognize the warning signs of mania or depression, and to take pre-arranged steps to prevent major episodes before they occur.

Learn how I beat Depression

1 Comment

  1. hannah Jones
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    I,ve recently been diagnosed with Luekaemia and I,m happy At least I will die from a repectable illness and won.t be stigmatised any more hopefully I,m not afraid to die after years of mental illness so sometimes things have a positive outcome even though it doesn,t sound like it

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