With many mental illnesses in order to diagnose them It takes time and observation with a health care provider. Treatment is also an aspect that takes planning and reflection mostly on how the patient feels In reaction to the edication that they are taking and other forms of treatment. Although bipolar disorder is a complex disease to diagnose, there are several alternative treatments used In conjunction with medication can be effective In managing this serious mental illness.

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By definition Bipolar Disorder Is associated with mood swings that range from the lows of depression to the highs of mania; otherwise known as obsession These two separate feelings could come at the same time of the day or may only take place a few times a year; it all depends on the severity of the patient’s disorder. Currently here is no known exact cause for bipolar disorder; although there are several contributing factors thought to cause the disease.

Several of the factors Involved with causing bipolar disorder are neurotransmitters, inherited traits, hormones, environment, and a life trauma or significant life moment; such as a death in the family or divorce of the parents. An imbalance in naturally occurring brain chemicals called neurotransmitters seems to play a significant role in bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder Is most frequently seen In patients whose parents or a blood relative has the same disorder.

The stress of one’s environment also plays a key role In bipolar disorder, when something critical happens to a person that could have bipolar disorder this could In turn trigger the disorder out of dormancy. are called mania and depression. Depression is the worst one of all; this can cause thoughts of suicide, hopelessness, anxiety, guilt, sleep problems, low appetite and fatigue. There are many more symptoms associated with depression and bipolar disorder; many of these affect the way that the person works and acts around family and friends.

Mania is the other side of the spectrum; this can lead to racing thoughts, oor Judgment, aggressive behavior, increased sex drive, declined need of sleep, unfocused, and euphoria. Difficult episodes of mania or depression

Page 2 What is Bipolar Disorder? Essay

can lead to psychosis, a disconnection from realism. “Emerging evidence from classical and molecular genetics suggests that the division between both unipolar depression and bipolar disorder and between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is likely to be over lapping’ As stated earlier there are a number of symptoms for bipolar disorder, this is why it is a difficult disease to diagnose.

On the other hand these symptoms are not as lear cut in children. They could experience most of the previously stated symptoms all in one day; they could go for hour as happy as could be and then all of the sudden turn around and have bouts of crying and anger. In order to diagnose bipolar disorder there are a few test that a primary care physician will do first. The physician starts with a physical exam and lab tests ran on blood and possibly urine.

The lab tests help to rule out any other feasible problems that may be causing the symptoms before diagnosing bipolar disorder. Physicians also use what is called the manual for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Mood charting is another good way that physicians are able to diagnosed bipolar disorder; by keeping track of the patient’s mood changes and sleep this helps them as a team to find the best treatment options. Bipolar disorder requires ongoing treatment even at times when the patient is feeling better.

Most commonly bipolar disorder patients have treatment teams that consist of primary physician, psychologist, and psychiatric nurses; all of these parties work with the patient as a team to find the best method of treatment. Commonly reatment will start out with medication, depending on the severity of the disorder. The most common medications used in treating bipolar disorder are Lithium, Anticonvulsants, Antipsychotics, and Symbyax. Lithium is applicable in stabilizing moods and averting the highs and lows of bipolar disorder.

Recurring blood tests are required, since some side effects of lithium are thyroid and kidney problems; as well as restlessness, dry mouth and digestive issues. Approximately 20% of bipolar patients require treatment by using a standard antidepressant. Anticonvulsants may be helpful in treating assorted episodes. Some common side effects with anticonvulsants are weight gain, faintness and lethargy. Antipsychotics may aid people who do not benefit from anticonvulsants; “The only antipsychotic that’s specifically approved by the U. S.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating bipolar disorder is quetiapine”. Side effects depend on the antipsychotic taken, but can be drowsiness, tremors and fast heartbeat. Symbyax combines an antidepressant and an antipsychotic; it works as a mood regulator. Symbyax side effects the same as many other bipolar medications. Ann-anxiety medications are lso helpful in conjunction with mood stabilizers. may think that it is. Many physicians will also recommend seeking therapy in addition to the medication prescribed to a patient.

One therapy found to be very helpful is physcoeductaion; this helps family members to better understand what bipolar disorder is and look for warning signs of mood fluctuations. This is also helpful with family therapy by finding and decreasing stresses in the family. The common therapy used for bipolar disorder patients is cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is best for finding negative manners and substituting them with ositive manners; it can also help to identify what the triggers are that may cause the patients bipolar episodes.

Psychologists also use this to teach patients how to manage their stressors cope with displeasing circumstances. One of the more seldom therapies used is electroconvulsive therapy. This is used mainly for patient that have severe episodes of depression or are suicidal. Although it is not understood as to how exactly electroconvulsive therapy works it is thought that the electric shocks causes the brains chemistry to change in turn improving the patient’s mood. There are also several other alternative over-the-counter vitamins that may help with treatment of bipolar disorder.

Omega-three fatty acids have been shown to improve brain function and depression linked with bipolar disorder; magnesium and St John’s wort have been shown to have the same effect on the brain. Although some studies have shown that these supplements have helped with depression they also have shown to cause mania episodes in bipolar patients. Acupuncture, yoga and massage therapy have also been shown as one way to deal with depression related to bipolar disorder. In addition to medications, therapies and other forms of treatment it is also a good idea to have a healthy life style as well.

Such as quitting consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs, getting regular exercise and steering clear of unhealthy relationships as well as getting enough sleep. There is not telling how severe an episode could get based on the patients surrounding environment. Encircling a bipolar patient with a positive environment and plenty of support from family and friends is the ultimate key to treating this disorder. Bipolar disorder is a life long illness that has to be dealt with daily by those iagnosed with it as well as their families.

From diagnosis to education of the disorder to treatment and to finding ways to help loved ones with this disorder deal with it daily. Bipolar disorder is not Just a burden on the patient’s shoulder it is on the family to deal with as well. The patient may say that he or she feels better and is doing all right yet ultimately the family and loved ones have a say in the prognosis too. They are many new treatments and regular ones that can be used in conjunction with standard bipolar medications that can help with the ups and downs of mood wings of this disorder.

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