Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a complex mental health condition that is characterized by extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

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Home Chronic Relapse Dual Diagnosis Mental Health Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a term that has gotten tossed around lately for being a form of “catch-all” for unexplainable behavioral conditions, although not too many know what it is all about. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) released data that revealed at least 4.4% of all American adults have experienced bipolar disorder at some point in their lives.

Studies done by Mental Health America indicate that one in every forty Americans lives with bipolar disorder. The nature of this condition also puts people who have it at great risk of developing other disorders, such as substance abuse. This is why dual diagnoses are a major concern. At Jaywalker in Carbondale, Colorado, we offer bipolar disorder and drug abuse treatment.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health issue that causes unusual and often unpredictable changes in a person’s mood, energy, concentration, and activity levels. These changes could be so severe that many struggles with the simplest of daily tasks when they are going through an episode of the condition.

Formerly called manic depression, people with bipolar disorder are typically misdiagnosed as being some other mental health issue because of the similarity of the symptoms. Traditionally, bipolar disorder is often mistaken for depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or even schizophrenia, although it is not uncommon to have bipolar disorder alongside these other mental health issues.

What Characterizes a Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder?

People afflicted with bipolar disorder typically display sudden shifts in mood, behavior, and to a certain extent, personality as well, as they are taken over by intense emotions that force them to think and act in a certain way. The different episodes of bipolar disorder include:

As the name of this episode type would suggest, the manic type of bipolar disorder generally manifests as feelings of heightened or even extreme levels of energy, creativity, and euphoria. People who experience a manic episode have often been described as being able to talk nonstop, requiring very little sleep, and engaging in hyperactive behavior.

These observable traits also mirror what they feel internally, as people experiencing a manic episode say they feel all-powerful, invincible, and laden with a greater sense of purpose, even though might not even know what that purpose is. This is mainly why they are mostly perceived as being rather delusional, narcissistic, and egotistic.

In some cases, episodes of mania could be a danger to the person experiencing it as the episode could quickly spiral out of control. People having manic episodes are known to engage in reckless behavior, such as gambling away all their money, engaging in promiscuous behavior, or undertaking ill-advised business ventures. People in the grip of a manic episode could also be on a hair-trigger and could easily become agitated, irritable, and aggressive.

People having a manic episode are known to pick fights, lash out at others even when unprovoked, and go off on anyone who voices something they don’t agree with. In extreme cases, the delusions could even alter their senses, supposedly making them “hear voices” that tell them to do things.

Symptoms of mania include:

  • Feeling an unusual emotional “high”
  • Unreasonably optimistic
  • Extremely irritable
  • Grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities
  • Feeling extremely energetic despite getting little sleep
  • Talking so rapidly that they sound incoherent
  • Uncontrolled racing thoughts
  • Jumping quickly from one idea to the next
  • Easily distracted
  • Unable to concentrate or focus
  • Impaired judgment
  • Severe impulsiveness
  • Reckless behavior

Many mental health professionals had initially equated bipolar depression with anxiety-driven depression, although further studies done today are suggesting that there are significant differences between the two conditions, and this is reflected in the recommended treatments for these conditions.

Case in point, the greatest difference between bipolar depression and anxiety-driven depression is presented in the fact that antidepressants will not help most people with bipolar depression. Moreover, many studies suggest there is an inherent risk that antidepressants could make bipolar disorder worse by escalating it to either mania or hypomania, with concurrent rapid cycling between mood states.

Other differences between the two conditions are revealed in certain symptoms. Bipolar depression is more likely to involve irritability, guilt, unpredictable mood swings, and feelings of restlessness. A person with bipolar depression is also more likely to develop psychotic depression, where the person loses touch with reality. This symptom could be so severe that the person could suffer from serious problems at work or in social functioning. Even more, it could get to the point where it becomes a danger to the person’s safety and well-being.

Symptoms of bipolar depression include:

  • Feeling hopeless, sad, or empty
  • Irritability
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Physical and mental sluggishness
  • Significant appetite or weight changes
  • Disruption of sleeping patterns
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Impaired memory
  • Unwarranted feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Concerta contains methylphenidate and is a stimulant. Since it is only available as an extended-release drug, it is better for people who do not need immediate relief. Concerta is a once-per-day medication, and there is a generic version. Its effects may last about 12 hours. The risks and side effects of Adderall and Concerta are similar.

Some people have the misfortune of experiencing the symptoms of both mania or hypomania and depression as well. This state presents a rather peculiar situation where people experience symptoms of mania, such as impulsivity, irritability, and racing thoughts, and then suddenly shift to feelings of being down and melancholic as if in the grip of a bout of depression. Mixed episodes are severely confusing because it combines feelings of sadness and hopelessness with feelings of anxiety, pressure, and high levels of energy.

Studies into the condition have shown that at least 40% to 50% of people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder will experience mixed episodes at some point in their lives. Mixed episodes, however, could present a critical danger to the person as the combination of highly energetic states and low mood could create extreme confusion which is seen to increase the likelihood of suicide.

Symptoms of a Mixed Episode include:

  • Depression combined with agitation
  • Severe irritability
  • Chronic feelings of anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Racing thoughts

How is Bipolar Disorder Treated?

Most mental health professionals agree that the best form of treatment for bipolar disorder is a comprehensive mental health treatment and a treatment for chronic relapse, where several approaches are combined to address the complex issues that come with the condition.

A comprehensive treatment plan for bipolar disorder could include:

Medication at our dual diagnosis treatment centers in Colorado  is still believed to be the most effective portion of bipolar disorder treatment. The sudden mood swings could be addressed with mood-stabilizing medications such as valproic acid, which is commercially branded as Depakote. This medication allows mood swings to be regulated to a level where the person is better able to manage how their behavior is affected by the sudden changes in their mood.

Lithium carbonate is another compound that has also been seen to have a significant effect in dealing with manic episodes, alongside other medications such as lamotrigine (Lamictal) and carbamazepine (Equetro, Tegretol).

Therapy is the most widely accepted form of treatment for most mental health issues, bipolar disorder included. There are therapy programs that have proven to be a huge help in teaching a person how to cope with the difficult moods they experience.

With regular therapy sessions and training, a person with bipolar disorder may learn to effectively regulate their moods and even repair disrupted relationships, manage the stress their condition brings, and regulate their behavior.

Lifestyle management has always played a part in helping p eople deal with specific behavior, particularly the habits they find immensely difficult to control, such as substance abuse. Certain lifestyles are known to influence certain reactions in people, such as how binge drinking could lead people to become surly and belligerent. By avoiding lifestyle choices that adversely affect the normal mood of a person, even someone with bipolar disorder could steer clear of situations that could make the condition much worse.

Positive and beneficial lifestyle choices, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding alcohol and drugs, sticking to a healthy diet, and engaging in consistent exercise have been proven to minimize the stress that a person experiences daily. It is also known that minimizing daily stress goes a long way in helping people manage many difficulties, including the adverse behavioral and emotional effects of bipolar disorder.

Let Jaywalker Show You a Better Way to Deal with Both Bipolar Disorder and Drug Abuse

We here at Jaywalker, our dual diagnosis treatment center believe there is always a better way to treat the conditions that are often the most difficult to deal with. This is why we have taken the benefits of a wonderful location and combined it with innovative approaches to help our patients in their treatment and their ultimate recovery. We can help you too. Talk to us now.

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