Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a highly treatable illness although a cure for it hasn’t been discovered yet. But the treatments now available can help individuals affected by it to lead a more normal life. Effective management of the illness is the emphasis of the treatment. Treatments include usually a combination of medication as well as psychological techniques. There are also various types of therapies that can be used to supplement the treatment.

Types of Bipolar Disorder Medicines

There are a number of medications that are used to treat usually the symptoms brought about by bipolar disorders. These medications can either be used alone or in combination with other drugs. These medicines may fall among these groups:

Antidepressants – this group of medicines is used during the depressed phase of the illness. There are several types of antidepressants used to treat bipolar disorder, each one with a different treatment mechanism. The most common of antidepressants being used are the SSRI’s or Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors and the Tricycle MAOI’s or Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors. Antidepressants are usually used together with a mood stabilizer since this medication may increase the chances of a person with bipolar disorder to switch into a manic state.

Mood Stabilizers – this group of medications is an important part of every bipolar disorder treatment. These drugs are used to treat manic, hypomanic as well as mixed episodes as well as mood cycling and shifting. Mood stabilizers can help people with bipolar disorders go longer in between mood swings. Mood stabilizers usually become effective in about a couple of weeks or more after using. Lithium is the most commonly used mood stabilizer used to treat such types of disorders.

Antipsychotics – this group of medicines are mostly used to treat manic episodes. Some of the newer antipsychotic medicines are used due to their ability to inhibit a person’s psycho motor functions, which can prove useful if a person with the disorder is on a violent or psychotic episode. They can be used alone or with other medicines also used to treat the illness.

Other treatments – include a variety of therapies that can be used in combination with the drug treatment. Certain types of psychotherapy prove useful in treating bipolar disorder. Family therapy has been found to be quite useful since it can help improve family communication and understanding as well as improved social functioning.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) – This type of therapy involves inducing seizures in patient by electrical means for therapeutic effect. Mainly used as a treatment for severe mania or depression, Electroconvulsive Therapy is usually used as a last resort when patients do not seem to respond well to other forms of treatment for bipolar disorder.