Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by unusual changes in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and an inability to perform daily tasks. The main treatments for bipolar disorder include medications, psychotherapy, and support groups to manage symptoms. The most effective treatment for bipolar disorder is a combination of medications and psychotherapy. Most people take more than one medication, such as a mood-stabilizing medication and an antipsychotic or antidepressant.
However, it's important that treatment continues, even after you feel better, to keep your mood symptoms under control. In the UK, lithium is the main medication used to treat bipolar disorder. It is usually prescribed for at least 6 months. If you are prescribed lithium, stick to the prescribed dose and do not stop taking it suddenly, unless directed to do so by your doctor. For lithium to be effective, the dosage must be correct.
If it's not right, you can suffer side effects, such as diarrhea and getting sick. Tell your doctor immediately if you have side effects while taking lithium. You'll need to have regular blood tests at least every 3 months while you're taking lithium. In the UK, lithium and the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole are currently the only drugs officially approved for use in adolescents with bipolar disorder. A single anticonvulsant medication can be used, or they can be used in combination with lithium when bipolar disorder does not respond to lithium on its own.
Valproate is generally not prescribed for women of childbearing potential because there is a risk of physical defects in babies, such as spina bifida, heart defects, and cleft lip. Carbamazepine is usually only prescribed on the advice of an expert in bipolar disorder. For starters, the dose will be low and then gradually increase. Blood tests will be done to check your liver and kidney function when you start taking carbamazepine and again after 6 months. If you are prescribed lamotrigine, you will usually be started on a low dose, which will gradually increase. See your family doctor right away if you are taking lamotrigine and have a rash.
You will need to have an annual health checkup, but other tests are usually not needed. If your symptoms don't improve, you may also be offered lithium and valproate. You may be prescribed a combination of lithium and valproate if you experience rapid cycles, in which you change rapidly from high to low levels without a normal period in between. If this doesn't help, you may be offered lithium alone or a combination of lithium, valproate, and lamotrigine. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one type of psychotherapy that examines how thoughts affect emotions. You'll also learn to change negative thinking patterns and behaviors to more positive ways of responding.
For bipolar disorder, the focus is on managing symptoms, avoiding relapse triggers, and solving problems. Living with someone who has bipolar disorder can be difficult and cause strain on family and marriage relationships. Family-centered therapy addresses these issues and works to restore a healthy and supportive home environment. Educating family members about the disease and how to cope with its symptoms is an important component of treatment. Solving problems at home and improving communication is also one approach to treatment. The best treatment for bipolar disorders is a combination of medication and psychotherapy tailored to the individual.
While bipolar illness can't be cured, a consistent treatment plan can help you lead an active and healthy life. Children with bipolar disorder often receive psychotherapy and psychosocial interventions before considering taking medications. Dopamine antagonism appears to be a potential target for antimanic treatments but additional clinical trials are needed to better clarify the role that marijuana could play in the treatment of bipolar disorder.Social rhythm therapy is often combined with interpersonal therapy for the best results in treating bipolar disorder. With these disparate results, it's worth noting that while some studies show that people with a genetic tendency to bipolar disorder may be more creative, that doesn't apply to everyone.