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Signs & Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Medication for Anxiety and Depression


Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive disorder, is a common mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings, including highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). Learn about the signs and treatment for it with Positive Reset Mental Health Clinic.


What is bipolar disorder?

When you are depressed, you feel sad, hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most daily activities. When your mood swings into mania or hypomania (which is less extreme than mania), you may feel euphoric, energetic, or unusually irritable.

These mood swings can affect:

   Sleep

   Energy

   Activity

   Judgment

   Behavior

   Ability to think clearly

Episodes of mood swings may occur infrequently or several times a year. While most people experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, some people may have no symptoms at all. Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, you can manage mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. Most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medication and psychological counseling (psychotherapy).


Types of bipolar disorders

Here are some of the major types of bipolar disorders.

Bipolar I disorder

You have at least one manic episode, which may be preceded or followed by a hypomanic or major depressive episode. Mania can sometimes lead to detachment from reality (psychosis).

Bipolar II Disorder

You have had at least one major depressive episode and one hypomanic episode, but you have never had a manic episode.

Cyclothymic disorders

You have had multiple episodes of hypomanic and depressive symptoms (although not as severe as major depressive disorder) for at least two years (one year for children and adolescents).

Other types

These include, for example, bipolar disorder and related disorders caused by certain drugs or alcohol or medical conditions such as Cushing’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.

Signs and warning symptoms of bipolar disorder

The description of different types of bipolar disorders highlights that there are two alternating phases of bipolar disorders. One is the hyperactive bipolar episode, and the other is the depressive hypoactive episode. The duration of each episode depends on the type of disorder.

Depressive symptoms

   Feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable most of the time

   Lack of energy

   Difficulty concentrating and remembering things

   Loss of interest in daily activities

   A feeling of emptiness or worthlessness

   Guilt and hopelessness

   Pessimistic about everything

   Even doubt

   Delusions, hallucinations, and agitated or illogical thinking

   Loss of appetite

   Hard to sleep

   Get up early

   Suicidal thoughts

Manic symptoms

   Feeling very happy, satisfied, or overjoyed

   Talk fast

   I feel energetic

   Feel important

   Feeling full of great new ideas and making big plans

   Easily distracted

   Easily irritated or agitated

   Delusions, hallucinations, and agitated or illogical thinking

   Don’t want to sleep

   Doing things that often have disastrous consequences, such as spending a large amount of money on expensive things

   Making decisions out of character or saying things that others see as risky or harmful

Patterns of cycling between mania and depression

   Rapid cycling – People with bipolar disorder swing from high to low repeatedly and quickly

   Mixed state – people with bipolar disorder experience symptoms of mania and depression at the same time; such as hyperactivity when they are depressed


Bipolar disorder and medication

Here is a brief description of medicines that are commonly used in the treatment of bipolar disorder:

Mood stabilizers

You usually need mood-stabilizing medication to manage manic or hypomanic episodes. Examples of mood stabilizers include

   Lithium

   Valproic acid

   Divalproex sodium

   Carbamazepine

   Lamotrigine


   Olanzapine

   Risperidone

   Quetiapine

   Aripiprazole

If depressive or manic symptoms persist despite treatment with other drugs;

   Abilify

   Ziprasidone

   Lurasidone

   Asenapine

Your doctor may prescribe some of these drugs alone or with a mood stabilizer as part of your medication management.


Your doctor may add antidepressants to help manage depression. Because antidepressants can sometimes trigger manic episodes, they are often prescribed with mood stabilizers or antipsychotics.

Antidepressants – antipsychotic drugs

The drug Symbyax combines the antidepressant fluoxetine and the antipsychotic olanzapine. It works as a treatment for depression and a mood stabilizer.

Anti-anxiety drugs

Benzodiazepines can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep, but they are usually used in the short-term.


Necessity of medication

If you have bipolar disorder, medication is the primary part of your treatment plan. Medicines can control mania and depression and prevent relapse when the mood is stabilized. You may not like taking bipolar medication long-term, especially if you struggle with unpleasant side effects. But just as people with diabetes need insulin to stay healthy, medications for bipolar disorder can help keep your mood stable.



Patients may benefit from ongoing psychotherapy in addition to bipolar depression medication. This individual therapy combines interpersonal psychotherapy and behavioral techniques to help patients learn to manage relationship problems, adhere to medications, and normalize lifestyle habits.


Family Focused Therapy – FFT

Family therapies are sometimes called ecotherapy because they recognize that individuals and their bipolar disorder cannot be viewed as separate entities from the family system in which they exist.

Family-centered therapy begins with a deep understanding of the patient’s family system and how the complex network of relationships can support or exacerbate the patient’s condition. FFT therapists work to identify family difficulties and conflicts that may be causing stress for the patient and family and then help the family members find ways to resolve those difficulties and conflicts. The term “expressed feelings” refers to critical, hostile, or overly intrusive attitudes and behaviors that a family member may adopt toward or with other family members with a mental illness. Family-oriented therapists work to help family members become aware of and control any feelings they express.



Bipolar disorder is a common and serious mental disorder. Look out for the warning signs and early symptoms in your loved ones if you think they might be suffering from this disorder. Moreover, consult a licensed health practitioner immediately to get the necessary medicines and psychotherapy treatment plan. Contact us today!