Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Bipolar Disorder Treatment
The main treatment options for bipolar disorder include a combination of mood-stabilizing medication, psychotherapy and lifestyle changes to reduce stress and improve diet and exercise. Medications are used to stabilize your mood and to help moderate the depression and/or mania associated with bipolar disorder. While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, proper treatment can help even those with the most serious forms of the condition effectively control mood swings.

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    A , Social Work, answered
    The goal of this exercise is to educate you (and inform your mental healthcare provider) about all the medications you're taking, whether for bipolar disorder or other conditions. For each drug you're taking, you'll record some detailed information. You can use a table format or simply have a paragraph for each drug. Here's the information you'll record:

    1. What's the chemical (generic) name of the medication?
    2. What's the brand name (if applicable; that is, if it's not a generic drug) of the medication?
    3. How much of the medication are you taking? (For example, the number of pills you take each time you take the medication and the amount of medication in each pill)
    4. How often do you take the medication? (For example, twice a day or every four hours and so on)
    5. What's the health problem for which this medication was prescribed?
    6. How long you have been taking this medication?
    7. What side effects do you think you may be experiencing as a result of taking this medication?

    Bring your answers to your prescribing provider so that possible interactions can be avoided and prescribing can be based on as much information as possible. Be honest in reporting your compliance with medications, because if it's prescribed but you aren't taking it, this must be taken into account when new prescriptions are made or when your medical provider tries to understand the nature of your symptoms. If you've taken other drugs previously for the same condition, it would be useful to list the names of the drugs you took prior to the current one and why you stopped taking them. Finally, also answer these questions for any alternative medications or nutritional supplements you're taking. All this information helps develop the medication regimen that works best for you.
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    A , Psychiatry, answered

    There is no cure for bipolar disorder, natural or otherwise. While some natural remedies may be helpful in some instances (or at the very least, not harmful), in my experience people who rely solely on these remedies inevitably end up experiencing recurrences of their bipolar illness. While I don't believe that medications are the be-all and end-all, unfortunately I do believe that they are necessary for most people with bipolar disorder.

    If you do intend to use natural remedies to treat your bipolar disorder, please do so with the guidance of a doctor or pharmacist, as some natural remedies can still interact with medications, or increase the likelihood of mania or hypomanic.

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    How Are Medications Prescribed for Bipolar Disorder?
    Medications for bipolar disorder are prescribed based on the type of high or low episode. In this video, Jamie Fernandez, MD, of Memorial Hospital of Tampa, says that after initial treatment, doctors may prescribe a long-term maintenance medication.
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    A , Family Medicine, answered
    Many bipolar medications, including the mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics, are linked to changes in metabolism that result in weight gain. The mood stabilizers that are known to cause weight gain include lithium (Eskalith®, others), valproic acid (Depakene®), and divalproex sodium (Depakote®). Some of the antipsychotic drugs used for bipolar disorder may cause weight gain when taken alone. When antipsychotics, such as olanzapine (Zyprexa®), risperidone (Risperdal®), ziprasidone (Geodon®), and quetiapine (Seroquel®), are taken with a mood stabilizer, the chance of weight gain is significant. Children who take antipsychotics gain a great deal of weight when taking these drugs. Antidepressants used to treat depression in bipolar disorder can cause weight gain, although the newer antidepressants do not cause weight gain. Mood stabilizers and antipsychotics can also increase the chance of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health conditions.
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    A , Social Work, answered
    One reason to discuss your bipolar medications with your healthcare provider is that you may have begun new behaviors -- such as quitting smoking, beginning an exercise plan, or practicing stress reduction techniques -- that impact the necessary dosage of your medication. For example, regular exercise may reduce dependence on medications for diabetes, heart conditions, anxiety, depression, or mania. Eating foods rich in omega-3s or taking omega-3 supplements may improve mood in some people and therefore reduce the need for mood stabilizers.

    Given this new information, your provider may want to adjust your dosage.
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    A Psychiatry, answered on behalf of
    Both Trileptal and lithium can affect the blood salt balance (specifically reducing the amount of sodium). This can lead to a host of symptoms, including confusion. When the two drugs are used together, the likelihood of low sodium is increased. Therefore, electrolyte levels should be measured more frequently on the combination than on lithium alone.
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    A , Psychiatry, answered

    When first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it's important for you to learn as much as you can about the illness, the symptoms you experience in manic/hypomanic and depressive states, and what your triggers are. It can be really helpful to discuss these things with your family members, or other people who are important in your life, as well as to have a conversation with these people about how they can help you with your illness.

    It's important to remember that medication is the cornerstone of treatment for bipolar disorder, and that nonadherence to a medication treatment plan will likely result in a bipolar episode. But there are also many other lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the likelihood of future episodes: stop using drugs and really limit (or stop altogether if possible) your alcohol intake; make sure you get enough sleep and exercise; eat healthy; and make sure you maintain a balance in your life of work and enjoyable activities.

    For some people, psychotherapy is very helpful, and you can learn skills that might reduce your likelihood of future episodes as well. If you're hesitant to explore this option, check out some self-help books such as my book, "The DBT Skills Workbook for Bipolar Disorder".

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    A , Psychology, answered
    Your employer and other employees will benefit from your seeking treatment for your bipolar disorder because not only will you have fewer absences from work, but you may also be more productive, more collegial, and easier to work with due to your newfound stability, predictability, and trustworthiness. You'll help reduce the costs incurred by your employer from absenteeism and high healthcare costs. By getting treatment for your bipolar disorder, you'll begin to feel more secure in your employment and more confident in your ability to do your job, which will give you a new self-confidence that expands to other areas of your life, providing an enhanced and more even mood, which may result in less frequent mood changes.
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    The foundation for treatment of bipolar disorder is a mood stabilizer. Mood stabilizers are medications that have been shown to prevent future highs and lows. The traditional antidepressants have never been shown to prevent depressive episodes.
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    Medication is essential to making you feel better. Because of bipolar disorder's shifting moods, more than one medication is needed to help you stay well. And, as time passes, these medications may need to be adjusted, and some may need to be changed due to side effects. But do not stop taking medication without first talking to your doctor. Remember that every person responds differently to medications, and what works for others may not work for you. Track the medications you are taking in a diary, which will help determine if the medications are working for you.
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