16 Jan Understanding Bipolar Disorder Treatment: Medication, Therapy, and Lifestyle Management
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes highs (mania) and lows (depression). During a manic episode, people might experience symptoms like heightened energy, anger, racing thoughts, and delusions of grandeur. On the other hand, depressive episodes might include symptoms like trouble sleeping, feelings of hopelessness, and self-harm or suicidal thoughts.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 4.4% of U.S. adults have struggled with bipolar disorder at some point in their lives.
Bipolar disorder can be extremely difficult to cope with and it requires long-term management that may include a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. If you or someone you know is struggling with bipolar disorder or any mental health condition, it is important to reach out to the mental health professionals at Florida Recovery Group to discuss a treatment that meets your needs.
What are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder causes episodes of mania and depression. These episodes can last a few days to several weeks and are marked by imbalances in brain chemistry. Since the symptoms of bipolar disorder are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, treatment often involves the use of FDA-approved medications.
The symptoms of a manic episode might include:
- Feeling high, elated, or extremely irritable
- Bouts of anger
- Feeling jumpy or more active than usual
- Having less of a need for sleep
- Talking fast about a lot of different ideas
- Racing thoughts and anxiety
- Being able to do a lot of activities or chores without getting tired
- Having an excessive appetite for food, drinking, sex, or other pleasurable activities
- Feelings of importance or power
The symptoms of a depressive episode might include:
- Feeling down, sad, or anxious
- Feeling slowed down or lacking energy
- Having a hard time falling asleep, waking up too early, or sleeping too much
- Talking slowly or being forgetful
- Having a hard time concentrating or making decisions
- Feeling like you are unable to complete simple tasks
- Having a lack of interest in almost all activities
- Self-harming behaviors or suicidal thoughts
People with bipolar disorder can experience mixed episodes, which means they are dealing with the symptoms of mania and depression at the same time. Up to 20% of people with bipolar disorder end their lives by suicide, so it’s essential to professional treatment to embrace a full, healthy life.
How is Bipolar Disorder Treated?
Bipolar disorder is treated through a combination of medication, therapies, and lifestyle changes. Medication is often vital to managing bipolar disorder, as the mental illness is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Additionally, therapy can help reduce symptoms of bipolar disorder and provide people with the support they need to continue making positive changes in their lives.
Most people in treatment for bipolar disorder take medications to lessen the severity of their manic and depressive episodes. Typically, antipsychotics or mood stabilizers are used, as they keep the mood even and prevent symptoms like delusions or paranoia that often occur during manic episodes.
Common medications used to treat bipolar disorder include:
If you are starting medication for bipolar disorder, it can take a couple of times to find the right one for you. Your doctor will adjust your medication accordingly if your symptoms do not improve within one to two months.
In addition to medication, therapy is essential in managing bipolar disorder. Several types of therapies are effective in helping people with bipolar disorder identify and change troubling emotions, behavior, and thoughts. However, the most common type of therapy used to treat this condition is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT is used to treat bipolar disorder by:
- Identifying and addressing depressive and manic symptoms to establish a pattern and understanding of one’s condition
- Addressing negative emotions and behavioral patterns and providing healthy coping mechanisms to manage them
- Helping patients cope with and repair social and relationship issues they face because of their symptoms
Therapy is especially vital if you are still trying to find a medication that works for you, as it can soothe symptoms until you are stabilized.
During treatment for bipolar disorder, your therapist will recommend a variety of lifestyle changes that can help you manage any lasting symptoms. It is important to note that lifestyle changes cannot cure bipolar disorder and should always be used in combination with therapy and medication.
Examples of lifestyle changes that can help treat bipolar disorder include:
- Avoiding drugs and alcohol
- Having a good sleep schedule
- Eating healthily
- Exercising regularly to reduce stress
- Sticking to a daily routine
- Joining a support group
- Engaging in self-care activities like yoga or meditation
Find Help for Bipolar Disorder
If you or a loved one requires treatment for bipolar disorder, Florida Recovery Group is here to help. We offer a complete mental health program specifically for adults 18 and older who suffer from emotional and psychiatric health issues. Our team of mental health therapists and medical professionals will evaluate, diagnose, and treat the root cause with compassion and empathy.
To learn more about treatment for bipolar disorder, contact Florida Recovery Group today.
- The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Bipolar Disorder, Retrieved January 2024 From https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/bipolar-disorder
- The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Bipolar Disorder Overview, Retrieved January 2024 From https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder
- The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Suicide Risk in Bipolar Disorder: A Brief Review, Retrieved January 2024 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723289/#B2-medicina-55-00403