Bipolar disorder, formally known as manic depression, is a condition that can severely affect your mood and wellbeing, meaning you swing from one extreme to the other. It can be a difficult condition to live with, interfering with everyday tasks but with the right treatment and support in place, it is possible to manage the symptoms and mood swings, allowing you to live a fulfilled and happy life.
As a mental health issue, patients affected by bipolar can often be reluctant to seek treatment, fearing stigma. But bipolar is far greater understood now and people often find that seeking support can help them better navigate the unpredictable nature of the condition and explain to your support network how they can help you. Despite advancements, there are still many misconceptions about bipolar, including the belief that there is only one type and that it affects everyone the same. There are various approaches for treatment of bipolar disorder.
Firstly, there are two different types of bipolar. Those categorised as having bipolar I will have one or more separate manic episodes – where you feel very happy and filled with energy and ambitious plans – which may then be followed by a period of major depression, a frequent symptom of this disorder. In contrast, those suffering with bipolar II will experience recurring episodes of depression and mania.
The unpredictable nature of bipolar can make it difficult for patients to deal with and symptoms may include obsessive thoughts, panic attacks, unrelenting worries, phobias, or OCD. The lifelong disorder can significantly impact people’s lives, whether they’re experiencing mania or depression. We recognise that each patient affected by bipolar has different experiences and goals, creating tailored treatment accordingly to achieve the best results for each person. The good news is that there is a wide range of treatments available for our experienced professionals to help you.
There isn’t a cure for bipolar but a combination of medication and cognitive behavioural therapy can help you regain control.
Medication is typically used only in the short-term, to help you through the worst periods of the condition, allowing you to continue your normal daily life as much as possible. There are numerous different medications that can be used either alone or in conjunction with one another but it’s often a trial and error process to find what works the best for you.
For battling the symptoms and challenges of bipolar over the long-term, cognitive behavioural therapy is essential. Our experts are on hand to offer you the support, helping you to change the way you approach problems and deal with negative thoughts. Adapting to your personal situation, we’re able to help you improve the common negative feelings often associated with bipolar, such as helplessness and anger. Our personalised approach allows you to address current issues and focus on your long-term recovery too.
Who can I speak to further about bipolar disorder?
By Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Sameer Sarkar
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