Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder in which one experiences extreme shifts in mood, manifested as episodes of mania or depression. This can significantly affect one’s activity level and impair functioning.
The primary treatment for Bipolar Disorder includes medication and therapy.
Medications are used to stabilise mood, and thus may sometimes need to be taken immediately to work on current symptoms during an ongoing episode. Others may need to be taken over time even when there are no active symptoms, since Bipolar Disorder tends to run a long course, sometimes with multiple episodes. In some cases, hospitalisation may be required if there is a loss of touch with reality or a risk of putting others or oneself in danger. Adherence to medication can prevent escalation of mood swings into mania or depression, and reduce the likelihood of relapse.
Psychosocial treatments and therapy can help in management of manic and depressive symptoms. Three types of therapy that have been proven to be effective with Bipolar Disorder are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy and Family Focussed Therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy assumes that your thoughts, emotions and behaviours are linked, and thus works on thought patterns and actions that might be affecting your mood. Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy focuses on regularising biological and social routines that are often interrupted as a result of mania or depression, as well as resolving problems in interpersonal relationships. Family Focussed Therapy involves one’s family members in the process of therapy. This is done through teaching warning signs, communication skills and management strategies, as well as addressing the dynamics between the members of the family.
Additionally, one may get help by being part of a support group, and from learning more about the disorder from one’s therapist or reliable resources available online.
Although Bipolar Disorder may not go away completely, it is important to seek and adhere to regular medication and therapy, in order to manage the effects of having this disorder.
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