Bi-Polar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Types, Causes, & Treatments

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by impairing episodes of mania and depression. To qualify as a manic episode, the symptoms must result in marked impairment of social or occupational functioning, psychosis, or hospitalization.1 The manic episodes are likely to disrupt your normal daily living routine. Most individuals with BPD experience episodes of major depression, though this is not required for the diagnosis.


What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder whose core feature is a disturbance in mood. The hallmark feature of the diagnosis is mania. Mania is a dysregulated form of mood instability where an individual can feel extreme elation with accompanying disturbances in thinking and behavior. While depression may be present, it is not necessary for a diagnosis. What is needed for a diagnosis is at least one lifetime manic episode. The peak age at onset of bipolar I disorder across studies is between 20 and 30 years, but onset occurs throughout the life cycle.

Types Of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is an umbrella term and is not diagnosable in and of itself. There are a few types of bipolar disorders that are diagnosable. The symptoms are broadly the same but differ in intensity and frequency.

Prevalence & Cause of Eating Disorders

According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), 20 million women and 10 million men in the U.S. will suffer from an eating disorder at some point during their lives.1 There is not one isolated cause for the development of an eating disorder, but rather a broad range of contributing factors including genetics, family history, and combined social and cultural factors.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

The first line of treatment defense for bipolar disorder is mood stabilizers. These bipolar medications provide the brain a much needed chemical stability allowing the person to not cycle between mood episodes. Antipsychotic drugs are also effective in the acute treatment of mania.11 Most individuals will start to see results from these medications within the first couple of days. Common bipolar medications include: Lithium Lamictal Depakote Tegretol Abilify.
Talk therapy is a wonderful adjunctive treatment. It can help the individual build coping skills to deal with the effects of mania and depression. Psychotherapy is powerful at addressing how the individual feels about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and managing symptoms. Psychotherapy options for bipolar disorder may include: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT can be helpful, as it helps clients reframe their thoughts and attitudes Motivational interviewing: Motivational interviewing is beneficial when addressing ambivalence toward treatment and increase engagement
Other Bipolar Treatment Options
Very little evidence exists of effective strategies for patients who do not respond to first-line treatments.11 The below treatments may be effective on an individual basis but are not considered evidence based. Best practices remain medication and some type of therapy. Other treatment methods of bipolar disorder may include: Electroconvulsive therapy: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatment involves sending an electrical signal into an individual’s brain in order to rewire the neural passages. Transcranial magnetic stimulation: This treatment involves magnets to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. Hospitalization: Hospitalization is necessary when a person has decompensated to a point where they cannot function. Their ability to take care of themselves is diminished and they are at risk to harm themselves or others. A trip to the hospital may only result in a few day stay in the psychiatric ER until the person is stable, rather than hospitalization in a psychiatric inpatient unit.

Finding Treatment

A primary care provider (PCP) is a good place to start looking for care if you are concerned. While a PCP may diagnose and treat you, this is not their specialty. It is best to receive care from a mental health care specialist on the matter, including a psychologist and psychiatrist. Sometimes an individual or their family may not recognize signs and symptoms until it is too late and the individual will require hospitalization after an acute episode. A psychiatrist will help diagnose and prescribe medication. A psychologist can also diagnose but cannot prescribe medication. The psychologist can help with providing various forms of therapy and care coordination of resources. A psychiatrist may even refer you to a psychologist and vice versa. To find the right therapist, you can try searching an online therapist directory
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