March 4

A Brief Overview of Bipolar Part II

How is Bipolar Treated?

Treatment for bipolar has helped many people regardless of how severe the symptoms are. Most who are treated with a combination of medication and talk therapy. Although episodes of mania and depression can come back post-treatment, you are free of mood changes outside of those episodes when they occur. Continuing with treatment can help you manage the symptoms associated with bipolar.

Medication

There are several medications that can help manage your symptoms of bipolar. Like other conditions, you may need to try several different medications before you find the one that is most effective for you.

A majority of medications used for treatment include mood stabilizers and antipsychotics. Also, you can do the following to speed up the process of finding the right medications:

  • Tell your provider about medications and supplements that you are already taking
  • Report any concerning side-effects to your provider as soon as possible
  • Take your medication as instructed and on consistent basis, otherwise it will not work

Be sure not to cut yourself off from medication as it can cause harmful rebound effects.

Therapy

Talk therapy can be an effective part of your treatment plan for bipolar. Most common among the group is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. This modality provides you with tools to regulate emotions and concerning thoughts by identifying negative thought patterns and finding ways to shift that narrative associated with them.

In addition to CBT, there are several newer therapies that are being used specifically for bipolar, which include:

A modality that helps people improve their moods through understanding and working with their biological social rhythms.

This treatment method is an evidenced based intervention that is used after an episode. Usually, psychoeducation sessions about bipolar are conducted in addition to communication enhancement and problem-solving skills training in conjunction with the intervention.

Whether therapeutic interventions are conducted at the early signs of bipolar to prevent or limit the onset of the condition is still being researched.

Other Treatments

Outside of the treatments mentioned above, there are several other methods that have been found useful such as:

  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
  • Supplements

If you choose one of these methods, be sure to inform your doctor about all medications and supplements that you are currently taking, if any.

A sprouting plant

Photo Credit: Nik | Unsplash

Self-Care

There are several things you can do outside of a medical professional's care that can manage the symptoms of bipolar. Regular exercise, specifically running and other aerobic activities have been known to help with both manic and depressive episodes. Energy burning activities help tame feelings of mania while the release of endorphins assists with lifting depression. 

Also, keeping a life chart to monitor your mood on a daily basis can help track and treat the condition overtime. 

Person running upstairs to help manage their bipolar

Photo Credit: Bruno Nascimento | Unsplash

Where Does Bipolar Come from?

The source of where bipolar stems from is still considered unknown. However, most researchers agree that there is no single cause and it is likely that there are several factors linked to having the condition.

However, some studies have shown that having bipolar is a result of having alternative brain structure. MRI and imaging scans have recorded a pattern showing that people with the condition also had a smaller subgenual portion of the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for regulating emotion.

There is some research that points out that having certain genes are linked to developing bipolar. Additionally, having blood-related family members with bipolar can increase the chances of having the condition. Ultimately, many genes are involved and bipolar cannot be caused by a single gene.

Summary

Ultimately, bipolar consists of both manic and depressive episodes. The condition can also be a comorbidity with anxiety, ADHD and other issues. While bipolar is a life-long condition, there are many treatment options available to help you live a happy fulfilling life. A majority of treatment involves medication and talk therapy, although there are other treatments available such as ECT. Also, you can help manage your symptoms with regular aerobic exercise and maintain a life chart to help your therapist with your treatment plan.

If you or a loved one believe that you are experiencing symptoms of bipolar, please contact a mental health professional to get a proper diagnosis.

Written by: Dave Bugg

Tags

bipolar, cbt, healing journey, Mental health, psychology, talk therapy, therapist, therapy


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