Can Rehab Help With Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression?
Bipolar affective disorder, sometimes referred to as manic depression, is a serious and debilitating condition that negatively affects both sufferers and their families. Unfortunately, there is no cure for it at this time. Treatment is focused on preventing episodes as much is possible, while also effectively managing them when they do occur.
A person suffering from bipolar affective disorder experiences contrasting episodes of mania and depression. How often the episodes occur varies from one individual to the next. Some patients experience fewer than half a dozen episodes and then never experience them again. Others battle with a cycle of mania and depression throughout their lifetimes.
The interesting thing about the disorder is that episodes can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to six months or more. Extremely long episodes can make it difficult to recognise bipolar affective disorder because people mistake it for the person’s normal mood. The tell-tale sign of the disorder is when the individual exhibits both types of episodes in a manner severe enough to demonstrate the contrast.
Mania and Depression
It helps to understand the difference between mania and depression if you want to understand bipolar affective disorder. So let’s discuss both of them in a bit more detail.
Mania is an elevated mood that seems out of place for the affected person. Someone in the state of prolonged mania will exhibit some, or all, of the following symptoms:
- reduced need for sleep
- restlessness and increased activity
- feelings of extreme confidence
- being more talkative and sociable than normal feeling unusually well, mentally and physically
- increased sexual desire and energy
- feeling very easily distracted engaging in irresponsible or reckless behaviour.
For some reason, bipolar patients tend to have difficulty recognising episodes of mania. They contrast their good feelings with the opposite feelings of depression, and simply assume they are gradually conquering those negative feelings. It usually requires the observations of family members and friends to discern a manic condition.
As for the episodes of depression, they tend to be more easily recognised. A bipolar individual in the midst of a depression episode will exhibit some, or all, of the following symptoms:
- general loss of happiness and contentment
- a gloomy and despairing outlook that persists
- loss of sexual desire and function
- persistent and excessive fatigue
- reduced interest in things usually enjoyed
- loss of motivation and personal responsibility
- reduced feelings of attachment towards loved ones
- difficulty with decision-making and concentrating
- feelings of irritability and anxiety
- sleeping too much or too little
- unexplained weight loss or weight gain.
If you suffer from opposing episodes of mania and depression, a bipolar condition may exist. It is important to see a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis. If you are bipolar, there is help available through a number of psychotherapeutic and medical therapies.
Bipolar affective disorder is one that involves a combination of behavioural and medical issues. For the behavioural part of the equation, therapists rely on a number of psychotherapeutic treatments aimed at helping change the way the patient thinks. At the top of the list is a treatment known as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
CBT is thought to be successful because it is goal oriented. By establishing goals the patient can work to achieve, the therapist is able to help him or her work through their own thought patterns and emotions. This further enables the mind of the patient to be retrained in a way that helps them avoid the thoughts and feelings that may contribute to episodes of mania or depression.
Other psychotherapeutic treatments include:
- Psychoeducation – This is an unusual therapy that does not work with every mental illness. Nevertheless, it seems to be effective with bipolar affective disorder because it helps patients better understand what it is they are dealing with. By educating them, therapists are able to help them recognise and avoid triggers.
- Family counselling – Family counselling is a therapy that engages the entire household in promoting sound mental health. This therapy is used when it is believed a person’s bipolar condition is exacerbated by family dynamics. Family counselling helps every member of the family recognise bipolar episodes and how to deal with them.
- Lifestyle Counselling – Research has shown that bipolar affective disorder can be helped by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Patients will be counselled about a variety of topics, including exercise, sleep, nutrition, and daily activities. Oftentimes patients will also be taught how to plan their days to avoid things that trigger bipolar episodes.
The medical side of bipolar affective disorder is directly related to how information is processed in the brain. People suffering from the disorder often have chemical imbalances in the brain that either directly trigger episodes of mania and depression or exacerbate them once they are triggered by other means.
Psychiatrists have a number of drugs at their disposal for treating bipolar affective disorder:
- Lithium Carbonate – This medication is the most widely used for treating bipolar affective disorder. It is a long-term medication usually prescribed for six months at minimum. However, getting the dosage correct can be a challenge. Doctors will routinely monitor patients and adjust the dosage accordingly.
- Anticonvulsant Medicines – These drugs are normally used to treat conditions like epilepsy. However, they have been shown to be effective in stabilising moods among bipolar patients. Like lithium carbonate, anticonvulsant medicines need to be used over the long term to be effective.
- Antipsychotic Medicines – Antipsychotic drugs are another form of mood stabilisers used to treat bipolar affective disorder. They are generally used when the disorder is especially severe or produces potentially dangerous behaviour.
- Antidepressants – During episodes of depression, certain antidepressants may be prescribed as long as doctors feel they will not trigger opposite episodes of mania.
Most bipolar patients need a combination of psychotherapy and medication to control the disorder. If you would like to know more, we encourage you to call our helpline right away. We can help you find the treatments you need to regain control of your life.
No matter where you live, there is a drug rehab center that can help you overcome your addiction. We'll help you find it.Select a County