Treatment For Bipolar Disorder

Do you sometimes feel really down while at other times feel really UP, like you could take on the world? Do these mood changes cause problems at home, work or school?

If you answered yes or hesitated before saying maybe then you may have Bi Polar Disorder, also known as Manic-Depressive Illness. This information will help you understand exactly what BiPolar Disorder is and what Signs to look for when BiPolar Disorder may be the cause of erratic behavior. BiPolar Disorder is an illness. Using the information on this website will help you prepare for any questions your doctor may have and aid you in your road to better and more effective treatment for the manic depressive illness.

Bi Polar Disorder Treatment By Orange County Psychologists


Symptoms of bipolar disorder are irritability, excitability, hyperactivity, sadness, withdrawal, despair, reckless behavior, anger, worry, and suicidal feelings. (See the Depression and Mania Warning Signs on the Home Page for more information)

There are no age limits as to those that are affected by this mental disorder, but onsets of this disorder usually appear in the late teens and early 20s.

While the exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, biochemical, genetic, and environmental surroundings are suspects of the disorder. First, it is thought that an imbalance in brain chemical called neurotransmitters could be to blame for bipolar disorder. Neurotransmitters in the brain regulate our moods and if these transmitters are not properly in line, it affects our moods and could lead to bipolar disorder.

Second, genes are also a possible link to bipolar disorder. If a close relative, such as a mother suffers from the disease, then their children and grandchildren are at a higher risk of developing bipolar disorder.

Third, environmental factors could make bipolar disorder more common also. If someone experiences a death in the family or other traumatic stress, then that individual is more likely to develop bipolar disorder than someone who is not experiencing these events.

Still today, there is no true bipolar disorder test. The best way in determining bipolar disorder is through a series of exams and tests to rule out other disorders.


Diagnosing and Treating Bipolar Disorder

For those who suffer from bipolar disorder, treatment to prevent the severe mood swings associated with the problem is critical. Bipolar individuals are prone to severe mood swings, with periods of mania alternating with periods of depression. A genetic component is believed to exist, since the disease tends to run in families.

Bi Polar Disorder Treatment In Orange County

Also known as manic-depression, the disorder usually begins in the late teens or early twenties, and strikes men and women with equal frequency. Various stress factors can trigger bouts of this mental illness. Without treatment, the condition seems to worsen over time. There are no clearly understood causes of bipolar disorder. Tests, however, can reveal characteristics of those who may be at risk. Most of the diagnostic tests are questionnaires where the patient selects behaviors from a list which best describe their own actions and feelings. Based on the answers, a score is established which determines if the patient is within normal ranges, or whether they may be suffering from mental illness. One well-recognized test for this purpose is the Goldberg Bipolar Spectrum Screening Questionnaire.

Medical bipolar disorder tests are still experimental. Differences in signal-sending brain cells in normal vs. persons who have experienced bipolar episodes have been found. Blood samples can reveal biomarkers in genes that could indicate the severity of the disorder. Neither of these techniques is yet reliable or tested enough to be used as diagnostic tools.

The science of treating bipolar disorder is better established than testing. Treatment is usually two-pronged, including therapy and medication.

Therapy treatments are carried out under the supervision of a psychiatrist. Types of treatment are Interpersonal and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy. Interpersonal Therapy helps patients overcome negative social skills which may contribute to depression. Cognitive-Behavior Therapy focuses on helping depressed individuals overcome negative attitudes, and helping manic patients understand the negative consequences of their behavior.

Medication is more successful in treating bipolar disorder than therapy. Bipolar drugs are considered to be of two kinds. Mood stabilizers, the most commonly prescribed is Lithium, have been shown to be effective for many patients. Anticonvulsant medications are likely to be given as part of the treatment. Episodes which are difficult to control may require the two kinds of medications to be given in combination. Common anticonvulsants are Valproate anipiprazole, or carbamazepine. Some newer anticonvulsants such as Lamotrigine, Gabapentin, and Topiramate are being studied as possible alternatives. Anticonvulsants are also commonly prescribed to control seizures associated with other disorders.

Other, less recommended treatments include electroconvulsive therapy, herbal remedies, and light therapy.


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