Bipolar disorder can be difficult to live with and to diagnose. Since this mood disorder causes extreme shifts in one’s emotional state, many people struggle to realize the cause of their personal troubles. Further, it is common for this condition to be misdiagnosed because its symptoms are similar to other mental disorders. Therefore, psychiatrists take…
Bipolar Disorder Treatment Options
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that manifests itself differently in every person. Over time, patients may use different medications. Those with bipolar disorder may benefit from psychotherapy, alternative medicine, lifestyle changes, and psychiatric medicines.
People with bipolar disorder may be able to control their symptoms and lead a regular life with the aid of medication. Extreme highs (the manic phases) and extreme lows (the depressive phases) are common symptoms of bipolar disorder. Medications can help patients regulate their moods to prevent mania and depression.
Considering that medication is a vital part of bipolar disorder treatment, it is crucial to learn about the alternatives. A psychiatrist will choose which drugs are appropriate based on the patient's symptoms and medical history. The mental health professional may alter or modify the prescriptions from time to time. Medications for bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs. Keep in mind that it is never a good idea to stop taking a prescription or modify the dosage of a drug without first consulting with the doctor.
Psychotherapy can be an ideal intervention for patients with bipolar disorder. Mental health specialists who have received specialized training in working with bipolar patients can identify mood changes. Triggers can lead to depressed or manic episodes, so psychiatrists can provide strategies for managing the condition. Therapy may also help patients stick to the medication regimen, build relationships with other people who have bipolar disorder, and minimize destructive behaviors.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and family treatment are just a few options for psychotherapy. When family members are part of the therapy, they will know more about bipolar disorder and be more supportive.
Patients should discuss any alternative therapy with their doctors first. For example, while research has shown that an herbal supplement like St. John's Wort can help treat mild to moderate depression, it may conflict with the patient's medicine or cause a manic episode.
Phototherapy, commonly known as lightbox therapy, is a supplemental treatment for bipolar disorder. This intervention may help with seasonal depression.
Acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage therapy, yoga, and consuming omega-3 fatty acids may all be helpful for self-care for someone with bipolar disorder. But there is insufficient evidence to back up their efficacy as treatments for the disorder. Patients considering alternate therapy need to make an appointment with their primary care physician or psychiatrist first.
The psychiatrist will likely discuss options for lifestyle adjustments with the patient, including:
- Avoiding drugs and alcohol, as these might exacerbate the symptoms of bipolar illness
- Finding constructive ways to deal with stress and learning healthy ways to cope
- Investing in a healthy diet
- Getting enough sleep and exercising daily
- Joining a support group for people with bipolar disorder
Get treatment today
Once you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you can begin treatment. Your doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist. To get the most out of your care, discuss your symptoms and relevant history with the mental health professional.
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