BIPOLAR DISORDER TREATMENT
WHAT IS BIPOLAR DISORDER?
If you have bipolar disorder, you will experience swings in mood. During “manic” episodes, you are likely to display overactive, excited or impulsive behaviour. At other times, you may go through long periods of feeling very depressed. There are different types of bipolar disorder, which depend on how often these swings in mood occur and how severe they are.
Experience one episode of mania that lasts longer than a week. Depressive episodes can also be experienced, but they are not as common.
Having a depressive episode that lasts at least two weeks and at least one hypomanic episode.
Experiencing both depressive and hypomanic states over two years or more. Symptoms aren’t severe enough for a bipolar diagnosis.
Bipolar is a condition that lasts a lifetime, and it will give you an unpredictable run of downs and ups. If it isn’t treated, then these swings can be devastating. These recurring depressive and manic episodes are part of this condition can make it challenging to lead a productive and stable life. It can be difficult to function at all.
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WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BIPOLAR DISORDER?
If you have bipolar disorder, you may have episodes of depression more regularly than episodes of mania, or vice versa. Between these episodes, you may experience periods of stability.
The patterns of mood instability will also vary from person to person. Some people will experience rapid mood cycling, moving from high to low very quickly without having a period of stability in between. Others will describe a more mixed state with symptoms of overactivity at the same time as a depressed mood.
During depressive cycles, you will experience some or all of the following symptoms:
Feeling sad most of the time
Poor sleep: oversleeping, difficulty getting off to sleep, frequent waking in the night or early morning wakening
Lack of enjoyment
A feeling that life is not worth living
During manic cycles, you will experience some or all of these symptoms:
Feeling very happy or energetic in mood
Talk very quickly
Be overactive and struggle to switch off
Increase in impulsive behaviours
Difficulties in sticking to tasks
Feeling full of new ideas and plans
Spending large amounts of money on goods that you do not need and can’t afford
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF BIPOLAR DISORDER?
The specific cause of bipolar disorder has not been discovered, and, there does not appear to be a singular cause. Some causes that have been consistently related to bipolar disorder are:
Childhood trauma such as abuse, neglect or bereavement can impact how an individual learns to regulate their emotions which can lead to bipolar disorder.
Stressful life events can lead to manic or depressive episodes. Events could include a traumatic loss, ending of a relationship or worries about money.
Chemical imbalances with neurotransmitters in the brain have been linked to bipolar disorder. However, there is uncertainty on how this works and whether they are the causes or result of bipolar disorder.
Genes can also be linked to bipolar disorder. A close relative in the family increases an individual’s risk of becoming bipolar disorder themselves.
HOW COMMON IS BIPOLAR DISORDER?
1 in 100 people will develop bipolar disorder at some point in their life. It can occur at any age but usually develops between the ages of 15 to 19. Bipolar disorder rarely develops after the age of 40.
Men and women are both equally as likely to have bipolar disorder.
HOW CAN I MANAGE BIPOLAR DISORDER?
Symptoms vary between individuals, but they usually include:
Monitor your mood:
Look for subtle changes in your mood and behaviour such as sleeping patterns or energy levels. This may be a sign that a depressive or manic episode is about to start. Make a note of these changes, so you know for the future, it may help to prevent or reduce the impact of a manic or depressive episode.
Consider the influences of the last manic or depressive episode you experienced. Once you learn about your triggers, it may make it easier to avoid them or manage them.
Look after yourself:
Learn what makes you feel good and what techniques help you manage your symptoms. Incorporate these into your daily routine. This could include: talk to someone you trust, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, practice yoga or mediation and eat a healthy diet.
Create a plan:
Despite the best of efforts to prevent a manic or depressive episode, it may still occur. Have a system in place to ensure you get the support and help you need. For example, having someone to check on you regularly or a number you can ring in an emergency to get help.
However, it can be challenging to manage bipolar disorder on your own. Professional intervention is an effective way to ensure you get the help required.
METHODS OF TREATING BIPOLAR DISORDER
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TREATMENT?
Make sense of bipolar disorder. Learn about the factors in your life that could have caused it, why you responded in this way and how it impacts you.
Understand what triggers a manic or depressive episode for you.
Identify the early signs of episodes.
Learn methods of coping during a manic or depressive episode.
Develop skills on how to stay well and look after yourself, including relapse prevention techniques.
WHERE CAN I GO FOR HELP?
You can make an appointment to see the GP. They can signpost you to support within the NHS.
There are charities out there that support people dealing with bipolar disorder. Bipolar UK offers a peer support line and peer support groups for those dealing with bipolar disorder. Rethink Mental Illness offer helplines and mental health service all over the country.
IF YOU FEEL YOU NEED TO SPEAK TO SOMEONE URGENTLY AND DON’T FEEL SAFE
HOW CAN SELECT PSYCHOLOGY HELP?
Select Psychology offers a wide of therapies to help manage anger and gives you the tools to cope and understand your emotions. We are a private mental health service with highly trained therapists and no waiting lists.
To address anger issues this is how the therapy would work:
Get in touch
You will be heard and understood through a confidential phone conversation. Often called the ‘triage’ this is where you can share more about your needs, and we can advise on therapy pathways and provide initial guidance where possible.
We will match your needs with the best fit practitioner for your therapy pathway and offer you an appointment within two weeks.
Before you begin a course of therapy, your therapist will need to conduct an assessment in order agree a course of therapy with you that will best help you and address your goals. This is still part of the therapeutic process and will provide you with a better understanding of your difficulties and how you may start to approach them.
Following on from your assessment, you will move onto therapy. Appointments are 50 minutes – these can be anything from weekly to monthly, depending on your individual circumstances. The number of sessions required to feel better will depend on your needs and therapy plan, this can range between 8-16 sessions, but in general more time is needed to address more complex issues.
As you start to improve, you can agree on changes to the frequency of sessions as required. Ultimately, there will be a time when both you and your therapist agree that you no longer need to continue in active therapy
What is the difference between mania and hypomania?
Hypomania is a less extreme version of mania. Hypomania usually doesn’t last as long as mania. A manic episode usually disrupts normal living, whereas, during a hypomanic episode, everyday living can still go on.
Can bipolar disorder go away?
Symptoms may come and go. But bipolar disorder is a life long condition that usually requires life long intervention. Treatment is considered essential for an individual to be able to manage their symptoms and carry out regular tasks.
Are you born with Bipolar disorder?
Research suggests that people are born with an increased chance of bipolar disorder, but it is a mix of genetics and life experience that dictate whether a person develops bipolar disorder or not.
Do bipolar disorder people hear voices?
For some people with bipolar disorder, they also experience psychotic symptoms. These can include delusions and auditory or visual hallucinations.
Can bipolar disorder get worse with age?
If bipolar disorder if left untreated it can. Over time episodes may get more severe and, cycling between states can become more frequent. Which is why professional help is essential to be able to manage bipolar disorder