5 Ways to Treat Bipolar Disorder

Have you ever known someone who would be happy one day and then angry at the drop of a hat? Or has anyone ever called you “bipolar” because you have a sudden mood fluctuation? These are casual signs that you and others don’t actually understand the complexity that really lurks behind bipolar disorder.

Many think of the disorder as a sort of “Jekyll and Hyde” type of personality problem. One second someone is intensely happy, and the next they’re raving mad. While bipolar disorder does involve mood fluctuations, they can actually be more extreme than the stereotypes suggest and don’t stop at just two mood extremes.

Bipolar Disorder

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Those with bipolar disorder can experience days of mania, or sometimes even just a few hours. This is an amazing feeling of euphoria and productivity. Afterwards, the hormonal imbalance caused by the disorder can cause intense sadness, fatigue and anger. It’s not abnormal for a person with bipolar disorder to experience an intense period of mania and then spend a period of time twice as long stuck in bed.

Because the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be so extreme, it’s imperative that those who suffer from this disorder get treated. Luckily there are various methods of treatment that can all be very effective.

Therapy

Therapy consists of several different therapeutic components. One important component is general cognitive behavioral therapy. This is the basic, couch-sitting type of therapy that involves discussing your problems, or perceived problems, and then determining how to start managing them.

Another important aspect of therapy can be a therapy group or support meeting. Those with bipolar disorder may feel distanced from those around them because of their disorder, so connecting with others via a support group can give them a real outlet for voicing their concerns and connecting with others who do understand what they’re going through.

Self-care

Self-care is something that can be learned through outside resources or suggested via a therapist. This includes coping mechanisms that can help keep outbursts and emotions in control – or as in control as they can be.

Self-care is extremely important for anyone with bipolar disorder. If you have no outside resources available to you, like therapy or medications (see below), then self-care can be your lifeline for keeping your head above water. Even with therapy and medications in effect, self-care can be what keeps someone from becoming self-destructive when they’re having a very bad outburst.

In general, self-care is a great way to manage your social anxiety and be a part of your own treatment.

Medications

Multiple medications exist to treat bipolar disorder. These can range in effectiveness, but they’re often prescribed to those with bipolar disorder to begin the process of handling the common hormonal imbalances that cause bipolar disorder.

These medications are prescribed by a mental health professional, and sometimes they can come with side effects. While a person’s emotional state can become more balanced, it’s entirely possible that they can be affected by other symptoms, like a lowered sex drive or increased fatigue.

If you are currently on, or are considering being on, medications for bipolar disorder, it’s always important to talk to the person suggesting the medication about the side effects involved. When you experience side effects that decrease your quality of life, tell someone. This also goes for other medications – many drugs exists that help treat those with bipolar disorder, so it’s possible to find the right combination that can work for you.

Hospitalization

In very severe cases of bipolar disorder, hospitalization may be necessary. While a last resort, someone can be hospitalized due to bipolar disorder when they become a threat to themselves or someone else.

Bipolar disorder is also referred to as “manic depression” – and the depression half of this disorder can bring about a host of problems; one of which is suicidal ideation. Many of those who suffer with bipolar depression have either thought about or attempted suicide once in the past, and this can be a prime reason for hospitalization.

These lengthy visits are meant to assess a patient’s need for care, how to best give them this care and also to keep them safe. Hospitalization can involve specialized therapy, group work, different medications and sometimes extreme versions of therapy, like exposure therapy or ECT (electro-convulsive therapy) if a patient is in a bad enough state.

Specialists

A therapist may not specialize in bipolar disorder, but there are professional therapists who do. These doctors may have a keener insight to how to treat a patient who is suffering from bipolar disorder better than a regular, non-specialist therapist.

Other specialists can include behavioral psychologists and those with advanced degrees and knowledge of personality disorders. These mental health professionals often actively study and hypothesize about mental health, giving them additional insight into the disorder itself.


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