What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorders are a type of mood disorder. There are several subtypes of bipolar disorders.
The most common ones are Bipolar 1 and 2 disorders. These affect approximately 5 percent of the population, which means that we have about 1.5 million people with this condition in Canada. Bipolar disorder is a serious psychiatric condition. The sad part is that, if not treated, approximately 15 percent of people with this condition kill themselves.
The good news is that there are several good treatments available for this condition and we know that treatments do reduce the risk of suicide, and also improve functioning. So if you do think that you have a bipolar disorder, make sure to seek help.
Local Practitioners: Psychiatrist
Treatment of Bipolar Depressive or Manic Disorders
Treatment options for bipolar disorder in children, adolescents, adults and elderly are very similar.
We use same types of medicines to treat the symptoms of depression as well as manic episodes across the spectrum. The types of treatments that we use depend on whether you’re in a manic episode, a depressive episode or whether we’re using medicines to prevent you from experiencing another episode of depression or mania.
Typically, for a manic episode, we tend to use what are called mood stabilizers or atypical antipsychotics, or sometimes we combine those two groups of medicines to achieve improvement faster. For depressive episodes, we tend to use, again, either mood stabilizers or atypical antipsychotics.
Sometimes, we combine those with antidepressant medicines or some of the anticonvulsants, such as Lamotrigine, because those have proven efficacy in treating depressive symptoms.
Because bipolar disorder is a lifetime condition, treating acute episodes, such as manic episodes or depressive episodes, is not sufficient. Once we’ve treated those acute episodes, we have to make sure that we keep people well. We prevent them from experiencing another manic or depressive episode. Now, in order to do that, we prescribe medicines that have proven efficacy in preventing relapse of mood episodes.
In addition to prescribing medicines, we also would like to see people use psychological treatments, and there are several types of treatments that are available including cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, psycho education. What these things do is that they help you to learn coping strategies to help you cope better with the day-to-day stressors in your life. We do know that stress destabilizes bipolar illness.
If you think you have a bipolar disorder and if you have more questions about Treatment of Bipolar Depressive or Manic Disorders treatment, please make sure to speak with your family physician or a psychiatrist.