Bipolar disorder is a psychological condition characterised by episodes of deep depression and mania. Sometimes the condition is also referenced as manic depression or bipolar affective disorder. It is more common than most of us believe, with one in 100 people being affected by it to one degree or another.
Although bipolar disorder is by no means life threatening, it can be debilitating inasmuch as it may severely affect relationships, prevent someone from holding a job, or contribute to the exacerbation of another medical condition. Fortunately, bipolar rehab is available.
Like most psychological conditions, bipolar disorder is best treated through a combination of medication and behavioural therapy. You should seriously consider getting the help you need if you believe there is a chance you might suffer from this disorder. There is no need to continue leaving bipolar disorder untreated when the help is readily available.
Basics of Bipolar Disorder
For some unknown reason, the disorder seems to begin afflicting people between the ages of 18 and 24. If left untreated it can progressively get worse to the point of completely dominating the patient’s life. Moreover, although science has not yet uncovered the cause of the disorder, there are identifiable triggers in the lives of most patients. Just like with addiction rehab, bipolar rehab also has its specific programmes.
Bipolar disorder is manifested by opposing episodes of depression and mania. Explanations of both are as follows:
- Depression – An episode of depression leaves the patient feeling very low emotionally, and is usually accompanied by lethargy, feelings of hopelessness, and a general loss of enthusiasm for life. While most of us generally get over mild depression on our own, the bipolar patient has difficulty doing so.
- Mania – Mania is just the opposite of depression. During an episode, the patient will be on an emotional high, accompanied by lots of energy and enthusiasm. The individual’s cheery disposition will be more overt, in direct portion to the depth of depression during opposite episodes.
It should be noted that it is normal for people to experience both depression and mania during their lifetimes. The main characteristic present in the life of someone with bipolar disorder is one of regular and pronounced mood swings. In other words, the bipolar patient will swing back and forth between episodes both regularly and severely.
Symptoms and Triggers of Bipolar Episodes
The symptoms of bipolar disorder are different between the two mood swings. During an episode of depression, the patient will exhibit unreasonable feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and self-loathing. He or she will also complain of a lack of energy and an unwillingness to engage in common activities. In more severe cases, patients may exhibit suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
During an episode of mania, the patient will be extremely happy regardless of any circumstances that would normally suggest otherwise. The patient tends to have boundless energy accompanied by a sudden burst of ambition and many plans to accomplish great things. In some patients, there may be a tendency to go on a spending spree, to avoid eating and sleeping, or to suddenly be very creative.
If you have bipolar disorder, you may recognise many of the symptoms without realising the condition you are suffering from. Many people with the disorder believe their mood swings are completely normal, despite the fact that friends and family tell him otherwise. If you see yourself in the symptoms of the disorder, you should seek professional help. Especially given the fact that deep episodes of depression can present some danger.
As for the triggers of both depressive and manic episodes, they differ from one patient to the next. It is believed that one of the main causes of bipolar disorder is chemical imbalances in the brain involving neurotransmitters. If that were truly the case, it would explain why episodes could be triggered by emotional stress. An imbalance of neurotransmitters does not allow messages to travel through the brain properly, leading to mood swings.
Some of the more common triggers recognised by the medical community include:
- the breakdown of personal relationships
- physical, mental, or sexual abuse
- the death of a family member or close friend
- a devastating personal loss; sometimes financial
- a significant life change (for example, marriage, birth of children, etc.).
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
An individual diagnosed with bipolar disorder can undergo a series of treatments to bring it under control. As we stated earlier, those treatments include a combination of behavioural therapy and medication. Beginning with the latter, medication is prescribed on three fronts:
- lithium carbonate – balances the chemicals in the brain; it is a long-term treatment intended to balance out mood swings
- antidepressants – taken during episodes of depression in order to help the patient recover
- depressants – taken during episodes of mania in order to bring the patient back down
Behavioural counselling can consist of a number of different therapies depending on what the psychiatrist or other therapist believes is appropriate. Most of the therapies include lots of conversation between doctor and patient; conversation meant to help the patient recognise triggers, establish new thought patterns, and improve relationships. Doctors may also recommend lifestyle changes including increasing exercise and improving the diet.
Bipolar rehab rarely requires a residential stay in a treatment facility. It can normally be treated through outpatient sessions at a local clinic or psychiatry office. However, finding the help you need can be time-consuming and confusing. That’s where we come in.
We are a confidential referral agency offering rehab treatment option information and advice to those suffering from bipolar disorder as well as other disorders and addiction. We make it our business to research all of the available treatment options in the UK and abroad. When you call us for help, we will walk you through those treatment options best suited to your circumstances. We will even help you make the necessary arrangements at your request.
As common as bipolar disorder is, it can be debilitating if left untreated. Please do not allow that to happen in your life. If you or someone you love needs help, get in touch with us today. We want to help you get well.