Bipolar disorder is also referred to as manic depression. Atypical mood swings, depression, shifts in energy levels and an inability for the person to function normally in society or in relationships are signs of this ailment. Approximately one percent of the population is diagnosed with this disorder each year. It can affect academic growth, careers, and personal relationships negatively. This long term disorder requires lifetime maintenance and monitoring to assure proper treatment.
Most treatment methods combine the use of prescription medications with counseling or other forms of mental health assistance. It is recommended that people who experience these symptoms consult a psychiatrist for diagnosis and the complete spectrum of treatment needed to control it. There are two types of medications generally prescribed for this, mood stabilizers and antidepressants. It is very common for both types to be used in order to prevent swinging from one extreme to another.
Lithium is one of the first and most popular medications to be prescribed. It is also the drug most readily prescribed for use with children and teenagers. Some drugs like valproate or carbamazepine are traditionally used as an anticonvulsant but have been found to also act as a stabilizing agent for mood swings. One or a combination of these drugs will help equalize the moods of a patient. Benzodiazepine or lamotrigine are often used as antipsychotic and antidepressant medications to compliment the mood stabilizers.
Omega-3, St. John’s wort and SAM-e are popular natural supplements reported to improve the effects of bipolar disorder. It is important, though, to consult with your physician before adding natural remedies to prescription drugs. Often doses and types of medication will have to be adjusted throughout the life cycle of the disorder for maximum benefit.
Psychotherapy is an important treatment and should not be ignored even if medications are prescribed. Individual and group counseling is readily available from psychiatrists and hospitals. It will provide a supportive environment to discuss issues and come to terms with the issues. Education will assist in recognizing signs and improving means of dealing with the symptoms. Including family members as a part of the therapy will help them understand and better cope with the effects of the problem.
More than two million adults in the United States are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The effects can be harmful to the patient as well as family and friends. Proper treatment is essential in maintaining solid relationships and the ability to function in school or in the workplace. With a complete regimen of medication and therapy, the effects of this disorder can be controlled and most people can live a normal and full life.