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The many ways to treat bipolar disorder

Bipolar affective disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a rapid cycling of mania intermixed with periods of depression. It affects approximately 4 percent of individuals in the United States. Mania is characterized by symptoms such as grandiosity, decreased sleep, pressured speech, racing thoughts, distractibility and excessive pleasure with mundane activities. These manic symptoms must be present for at least one week and depressive symptoms must also be present for at least two weeks to be diagnosed with this disorder. Although there is no cure for bipolar disorder, treatment aims to reduce symptoms so individuals can live a normal and healthy life. As with many other psychological disorders, there are many treatment approaches for bipolar disease.

Pharmacological therapies

Treatment for bipolar disorder symptoms encompasses a multitude range of therapies. Pharmacological therapy is considered the first-line treatment approach for bipolar disorder. Medications may include lithium, benzodiazepines such as clonazepam, anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine or valproate sodium, and antipsychotic medications. These medications, like any other pharmacological therapy, can have side effects, and a few of these medications, such as lithium, must be closely monitored using serum levels.

Psychological interventions

A recent study released in March 2016 solidified the idea that patients with bipolar disorder benefit from psychological interventions. A large systematic review consisting of 55 randomized trials with over 6,000 participants found that individual psychological intervention reduced relapses and hospital admissions in patients with bipolar disease.

“The authors concluded that evidence exists that psychological interventions are effective for people with bipolar disorder, although much of the evidence is of low quality. More research is necessary to identify the most effective, and cost-effective, interventions for each phase of bipolar disorder,” according to an article.

There are many different types of psychotherapy, and specific types work better for certain psychological disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy and psychoeducation have both been shown to improve wellness in patients with bipolar disorder. Other therapies, such as family therapy or group therapy, have not been shown to have an added benefit in the treatment of bipolar disorder.

Continue to seek treatment

The main thing to keep in mind is that if your first medication does not treat your symptoms, there are many other types of treatments and medications that can ease the symptoms of bipolar disorder and prevent relapses.

Sovereign Health of Texas is a leading behavioral health treatment provider that uses a holistic approach to treat individuals with addiction and dual-diagnosis disorders like bipolar disorder. Our facility is equipped to serve both English- and Spanish-speaking patients. For more information, please call our 24/7 helpline.

About the author

Kristen Fuller, M.D., is a senior staff writer at the Sovereign Health Group and enjoys writing about evidence-based topics in the cutting-edge world of medicine. She is a physician and author, who also teaches, practices medicine in the urgent care setting and contributes to medicine board education. She is also an outdoor and dog enthusiast. For more information and other inquiries about this article, contact the author at news@sovhealth.com.

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