Do you know someone who has bipolar disorder? Is someone close to you full of energy and ideas, not sleeping well and gaining weight? Do they seem to be talking like they’re bursting with ideas and can’t seem to pay attention to details? Do they seem to feel extremely listless, irritable and have suicidal thoughts? Then, there is a good chance that this person has a mental illness called bipolar disorder. Do not hit the panic button or cast them out, help is at hand. It can be cured and people have recovered. What’s more, many famous people like Picasso, Michelangelo and even Albert Einstein had it! They’ve all had treatment of bipolar disorder and gone on to be normal and even contributed immensely to the progress of mankind!

  The first step in the treatment of someone with bipolar disorder is to get them diagnosed by an expert mental health professional. Early diagnosis and treatment can help you achieve a normal, successful, healthy existence. There are a variety of medications available to stabilize the condition.  

Mood stabilizers are an important category used to stabilize or mitigate a manic or depressive episode. Anticonvulsants or anti-psychotic drugs are also used to stabilize the manic phases and control incidences of hallucinations or delusions that lead to a person losing touch with reality. Anticonvulsants however, can cause weight gain, sleep disturbances and so on. So it is essential to ensure that you are comfortable with the medication and to discuss the effects/side effects of your medications with your psychiatrist. Formulating the right dosage and the right combination of medications are essential in the treatment of bipolar disorder as individuals often require varying combinations of drugs to stabilize their condition.

  Some people would discontinue their medication believing themselves to be cured once they are in the manic phase wherein they may lose awareness of their illness. Some may also enjoy the milder manic phases in the initial stage which is called hypomania and induces euphoric, elevated moods. There are also a variety of new medications available that may suit the person and family therapy as well as psycho-education aids in assuring compliance to the medication. Electro-convulsive therapy has also been seen to be 70% effective in treatment of severe depression in some cases of bipolar disorder. Healthy lifestyle changes such as a good exercise plan, adequate sleep and follow up counseling sessions can help prevent a relapse.  

Bipolar disorder is not something that can be cured overnight; neither is it due to any character flaw. Understanding the disorder could help keep the individual alert to cues when a manic or depressive episode is beginning and thus enables the patient to cope with it better. The illness could be overcome with appropriate and thorough treatment and a good support group. Get diagnosed at the earliest and beat those mood swings and look forward to a healthy, successful life!