According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2.8% of the United States’ adult population has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and over 80% of those cases are considered severe. Furthermore, 4.4% of U.S. adults will experience the disorder at some point in their life.
While mental health awareness has risen in recent years, many people remain unaware of the dangers of bipolar disorder. It creates a wide amount of unwanted stress and depression in an individual’s life, which is why a proactive approach is essential when overcoming the Disorder.
So, is bipolar curable or not?
Bipolar disorder is a neurobiological disorder that scientists and researchers haven’t found a cure for yet. With that said, there are a variety of bipolar disorder treatments available that are designed to help individuals manage and control their symptoms — that way, they can live a normal, healthy, and happy life.
Since everyone is unique, and everyone has a different experience with bipolar disorder, the best treatment for bipolar Disorder varies by person. It generally takes some time for someone to find a bipolar treatment plan that works for them, so patience and diligence are crucial when seeking help.
How To Treat Bipolar Disorder
While there is a multitude of different ways to treat bipolar disorder, no individual should ever seek treatment without the help of a doctor or mental health professional. They’re the only ones qualified, trained, and experienced enough to prepare a custom treatment plan just for you.
With that said, we’re going to take a look at some of the more popular options your doctor might explore when seeking treatment for bipolar disorder. It’ll give you some peace of mind before meeting with your doctor, which goes a long way when treating bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is often characterized by a rapid and uncontrollable change in mood. Symptoms include periods of high energy and elevated moods (known as mania) or periods of low energy and depleted moods (known as depression). Either way, it’s no joy ride for the individual.
When properly prescribed by a doctor and taken as directed, medication can have a significant impact on an individual’s life. It helps certain individuals balance their moods and control their symptoms throughout the day. In other words, it gives them the breath of fresh air they’ve been searching for.
Finding the right medication generally takes some trial-and-error, especially since there are so many different types of medication available, and everyone’s body responds to them differently. No one should ever consume any type of medication without the approval of your doctor.
Many individuals living with bipolar disorder receive a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Psychotherapy not only helps the individual understand their symptoms more clearly, but helps the doctor understand the individual more — leading to a more effective treatment plan.
There are several different forms of psychotherapy that a mental health professional considers for treatment. The form of therapy they choose will vary depending on the individual and the symptoms they’re experiencing.
Here are just some of the types of psychotherapy considered:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – also known as CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy plays a major role in helping identify bad habits and behaviors. Since these often trigger the individual’s symptoms, the mental health professional is tasked with replacing the bad behavior with positive behavior.
- Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy – also known as IPSRT, this form of therapy helps individuals find balance with their normal daily routine. This includes their sleep schedule, eating schedule, weekly exercise routine, and social activity.
- Family Therapy – believe it or not, the individual living with bipolar disorder isn’t the only one subject to therapy. Family therapy is highly effective in certain circumstances, allowing the family to learn more about their loved one’s symptoms and what they can do to help daily.
Psychotherapy can do a lot for an individual living with bipolar disorder, but it must be done correctly and properly. Taking part in the wrong therapy can have adverse effects on your ability to control your symptoms. In fact, the wrong therapy could make your symptoms worse.
That’s why following the best advice from your personal doctor is always preferred when finding the right form of psychotherapy for your symptoms.
3. Support Groups
In addition to medication and psychotherapy, individuals living with bipolar disorder must have the right support group behind them. This is often just as important as the other forms of bipolar disorder treatments because no one can fight this Disorder alone.
That includes parents, siblings, friends, teachers, counselors, and much more. The support can’t stop inside the doctor’s office and must continue well after their doctor visit. It’s a team effort, and it’s something everyone must remain dedicated to improving over time.
In many cases, mental health professionals suggest an individual join a support group designed specifically for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder or experiencing bipolar disorder symptoms. When you see face-to-face that you’re not alone in this fight, and there are others just like you, it makes it easier to keep fighting.
Understanding Your Symptoms & Diagnosis
Treating bipolar disorder requires a deep understanding of the individual’s symptoms. It’s necessary for the doctors to curate an effective treatment plan, it’s necessary for the individual, so they don’t feel like they’re not on their mind, and it’s necessary for the individual’s loved ones so they can continue the treatment at home.
While everyone experiences mood changes throughout the day, those living with bipolar disorder experience unusual, extreme, unusual, and sudden mood changes on a consistent basis. It affects not only your mood but also your energy levels, focus, and motivation.
When classifying those living with bipolar Disorder, individuals are thrown into one of three major categories — bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, or Cyclothymic Disorder. Let’s take a closer look at these, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):
- Bipolar I Disorder – characterized by heavy, manic episodes that last as long as a week and sometimes resulting in needing hospital care. Individuals can also experience depression, which generally lasts two weeks, but a majority of the symptoms stem from the manic episodes.
- Bipolar II Disorder – similar characteristics as Bipolar I Disorder, but this one is less severe than its counterpart. Both depressive and hypomanic behavior is experienced for one or two weeks.
- Cyclothymic Disorder – also known as cyclothymia, individuals in this category have experienced a combination of depressive and hypomanic behavior over a period of at least two years.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), there are several criteria that must be met during the physical, mental, and social evaluation — which is carried out by a mental health professional. Let’s take a look at those criteria:
- Individuals must’ve experienced at least one manic episode, which may or may not be preceded by depressive or hypomanic episodes.
- The individual’s symptoms can’t be better explained by schizophrenia or any other psychotic disorder.
- Doctors must specify if the bipolar Disorder is experienced with anxious distress, mixed features, rapid cycling, melancholic features, atypical features, mood-congruent psychotic features, mood-incongruent psychotic features, catatonia, peripartum onset, or seasonal pattern.
Finally, let’s take a quick look at some of the major symptoms people experience when living with bipolar disorder. Understanding these symptoms is crucial to being proactive with the Disorder, whether for your sake or the sake of a loved one.
Symptoms either fall under the category of ‘manic episode’ or ‘depressive episode.’ Let’s take a look at the symptoms of a manic episode first:
- Feeling more upbeat than normal, almost to the point you’re extremely jumpy or ‘wired.’
- Having an overwhelming jolt of energy or increased agitation
- Feeling of euphoria and extreme self-confidence
- Feeling like you don’t need sleep and can go long periods without rest
- Uncontrollable thoughts and excessive talking, even when you don’t mean to
- Being distracted throughout the day, even when there’s not much to be distracted about
- Lack of quality or intelligent decision-making, especially when it comes to financials and sex
Now, let’s take a look at the symptoms of a depressive episode:
- Extreme sadness, loss of hope, or overall depressed mood for no reason
- Lack of motivation or interest in daily activities, even those you generally enjoy
- Changes in eating habits that lead to weight loss or weight gain
- Changes in sleeping habits that lead to oversleeping or lack of sleep
- Fatigue, lack of energy, or slowed behavior that makes it difficult to complete tasks
- Lack of focus, difficulty concentrating and struggling to make decisions
- Having suicidal thoughts or acting on suicidal thoughts
Experiencing any of the above symptoms is a cause for concern, no matter what age you are. It doesn’t always mean you’re in for the worst-case scenario, but it’s reason enough to see a doctor or therapist discuss your symptoms and manage them over time.
When You Need Help, Time Is Of The Essence!
Living with Bipolar Disorder isn’t easy, and it only gets worse the longer it goes unnoticed. While there’s no cure for the disorder, there are a wide variety of ways to manage it, control it, and lead a normal life despite the daily symptoms.
Finding the right treatment can’t be achieved alone, but that’s where we come in. At Mind Diagnostics, we provide comprehensive online tests for those experiencing — or think they’re experiencing — bipolar disorder symptoms. It’s an easy test that won’t take long, but the results could change your life.
We don’t stop there. We extend a helping hand when searching for a therapist that has experience and success with individuals experiencing similar symptoms as you. We understand this is a crucial part of the treatment process, and it’s why we remain dedicated to providing you with the right help.
Feel free to take our bipolar disorder test at any time and contact us when you’re ready to be matched with your new therapist!