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Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

Posted Apr 27 2010 1:14am

Bipolar disorder, which is a disorder caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain has no cure, but it can be treated. In most cases, when a person is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, they will be treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medications. Other forms of treatment are used when these two forms of treatment fail.

treatments for bipolar disorder

Medication used to Treat Bipolar Disorder

While family doctors, or general practitioner doctors, also known as Medical Doctors can diagnose and prescribe medications for bipolar disorder, this is usually left to a psychotherapist or psychiatrist. In either instance, when bipolar disorder is diagnosed, medication is usually prescribed.

These medications range from mood stabling medications to Atypical Antipsychotic medications, and may also include antidepressants. Lithium is a common medication used for mood stabilization, but valproic acid or lamotrigine may also be prescribed, or prescribed instead of lithium. Less common mood stabilizers include gabapentin, topiramate, and oxcarbazepine.

Atypical Antipsychotic medications that are typically prescribed include olanzapine, aripiprazole, quetiapine, risperidone, and ziprasidone. Although antidepressants usually don’t work well for the depression associated with Bipolar Disorder, they are sometimes prescribed, and may include Paroxetine, sertraline, fluoxetine, and bupropion.

Psychotherapy for Bipolar Disorder

Psychotherapy, which is also referred to as talk therapy is almost always recommended. Some people find it very effective in the treatment of this disorder, but it isn’t always effective – especially if medication is not also used. This psychotherapy usually includes specific types of psychotherapy as well, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy, Psychoeducation, and Family Focused Therapy.

Other Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

While they are not often used, there are other treatments for bipolar disorder as well. These treatments are usually attempted when other treatments have failed. The most serious of these is Electroconvulsive Therapy, or ECT. This is a controversial therapy, and it shouldn’t be any surprise as to why it is controversial. This is shock therapy. Medication to improve sleep are also prescribed to bipolar disorder patients, but this is rare, as the other medications usually resolve this issue.

Finally, there are those who do not wish to use western medications, and prefer instead to use natural remedies, such as herbal supplements. These supplements are not nearly as effective as the other medications used, but they are safer. Effective herbal remedies include St. John’s Wort and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Before you stop taking any medication, or start trying natural treatments for Bipolar Disorder, you need to check with your doctor.

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