Perhaps the toughest thing to accept about having Bipolar Disorder is that the treatment is going to be a lifetime affair. Almost everyone who has had one manic episode is destined to have additional manic and depressive episodes and prevention of future episodes is at least important as the active Bipolar Disorder treatment of the current episode.
The biggest mistake you can make is to go off your medication once you start feeling better. Relapses are bad not only because of the direct trouble they cause but because the more episodes you have, the harder is ti treat each nee episode and the easier it is to have a future episode and to develop rapid cycling.
Between one half and two thirds of patients with bipolar disorder abuse drugs usually depressants like alcohol or stimulants like cocaine or amphetamines. The depressants are used to help the person calm down.
The stimulants are used in one of four contexts to pull the person out of a depression as part of the reckless pleasure seeking that is characteristic of a manic episode, to counteract drug side effects, or to mimic the missed endogenous highs previously caused by the episodes. Any treatment for Bipolar Disorder must pay close attention to these substances use tendencies and make every effort to deal with them
Having Bipolar Disorder means that your brain is already set in too tight a trip wire. Taking any substances that further reduces the calls and stability of the brain’s call membranes and receptors systems will likely wreck the calm and stability of your mood and your life.
This can occur in two ways through the direct effect of the drug itself on the brain or as a secondary effect if the drug reduces the regularity of your sleep pattern. Bipolar Disorder is a cyclical condition that is closely related to basic body rhythm. Your sleep changes when you have a manic episodes, but changes in sleep can also cause an episode. Although caffeine may not have the direct effect of causing manic episodes, it can cause them directly by promoting sleep deprivation.
Taking mood stabilizers on a daily basis for many years is essential to keep recurrences to a minimum and to increase the changes of a good long-term course. Some people with Bipolar Diorder have three to gourd episodes in an entire life. Other will have literally hundreds of them.
The difference probably has something to do with the natural course of the illness, but it is even more influenced by how gracefully you adjust to it. If you respect the treatment regimen, the illness can ruin your life or end it, Responding well to Bipolar Disorder requires some combination of findings just the right medication and making lifestyle changes that will reduce the risk of relapse.
Unfortunately staying on the medication is easier said than done. Many people experiences annoying side effects, or miss the “highs” of the manic episodes, or begin to question the need for daily medication to prevent something that is “old story”.
The treatment of an acute manic episode often involves hospitalization because of psychosis, suicidal risk, or aggressive behavior, or to avoid the consequences of impassivity and poor judgment, You are living in a speed ed up world and are unlikely to take the therapist or the treatment very seriously. It feels as if you are a fast moving hummingbird surrounded by slow moving turtles.
Patients in an acute manic episode always need medication to calm down. Mood stabilizers like Lithium, Depakote, Tegretol, both to control the acute episode and to prevent future recurrences.
The other medications prescribed as mood stabilizers are usually as anticonvulsants to control seizeres. Depakote, Tegretol, and Klonopin have been prescribed to treat Bipolar Disorder. Depakote is especially wel tolerated and is most indicated especially for mixed mania and rapid cycling. Because mood stabilizers often take several weeks to reach their maximum effect, many patients also need other medicines to reduces acute insomia, agitation, or psychotic symptoms. Antipsychotics or sedatives may be helpful.
Patients with Bipolar I Disorder ofetn need acute treatment for the severe depressive episodes that are an integral part of the condition. The treatment of depresion is the same in Bipolar Disroder as it is for Major Depresive Diorder except for two issues. First, mood stabilizers must always accompany the use of antidepressant medication to reduce the risk of the person switching from depression a manic episode or developing rapid cycling.
Everyone on antidepressant should be asking. “Do i have a bipolar depression?” and ”Is my antidepressant making me worse?” To avoide rapid cycling, antidepresant should be used more sparingly and tapered more rapidly than they are in the treatment of Major Depressive Dirorder. Since antidepressant medication is essential for the treatment of the sevee depressive episodes in Bipolar Disored, clinicans must walk a fine line between enough of them to treat the depression while avoiding unnecessary exposure that may Bipolar Disorder worse.
Psychotherapy and lifestyle changes are also essential to the successful long term managment of Bipolar Disorder. Accept that this is a tough illness, but one you can live with and contol. Work with the doctor to fond the right medicines that balances effectiviness with minimal side effects. Don’t use drugs or alcohol. It is simply not work the risks. Sleep regularly no allnighters, no frequent jat lagging, and keep caffeine to a minimum. Don’ take on too much stress or load your plate with too many activiets.
Keep your family involved , get them educated about thediorder, and make the allies, not adversaries in learning to manage it. When you are well, work with them to develop advance directives for what should be done if you become sick again. Planning for the future is best done when you have full insight and good judgement. And join a support group. Bipolar Disorder is tough to life with, but very manageable if you take it seriously.