When to Seek Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Treatment for Bipolar DisorderWhen to Seek Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can have a major impact on a person’s life. Associated with periods in which a person feels strong symptoms of depression, alternating with periods of excessive joy, impulsivity, and high-energy (also referred to as “mania”), it can cause havoc on one’s personal and professional lives. Considering this, it is critically important for someone who is experiencing signs of this condition to seek treatment for bipolar disorder.

The challenge with getting treatment for bipolar disorder is that sometimes symptoms are tough to acknowledge or identify. It’s easy for an individual to simply write off depression periods as “having a bad day” or “hitting a rough spot,” while the manic episodes can even come as a relief for a person because he or she no longer feels depressed. However, such extremes are usually inconsistent with functioning and can lead to long-term damage of relationships and careers, which is why treatment for bipolar disorder is often necessary.

Signs to look for in the treatment for bipolar disorder

When trying to figure out if you should seek treatment for bipolar disorder, there are a number of signs and symptoms that you should be aware of.

Importance of depression treatment for bipolar disorder

The depression symptoms of bipolar disorder are similar to regular clinical unipolar depression (though often deeper) and include an individual being withdrawn from society, showing noticeably little interest in fun activities and perhaps a significant change in weight and sleep. People who may need to seek treatment for bipolar disorder also tend to have low energy levels during their depressive periods, and may have a hard time concentrating. In its most serious forms, these periods may also result in thoughts of death or suicide, or even suicide attempts€”making depression treatment for bipolar disorder that much more important.

Importance of mania treatment of bipolar disorder

Often just as problematic to an individual who may need treatment for bipolar disorder, however, are the manic periods. These usually include racing thoughts, an inability to focus for any extended period of time and, perhaps most dangerously, an urge to engage in activities that are very high-risk. In fact, many people who need treatment for bipolar disorder have been known to gamble excessively, engage in sexual activity with multiple partners and go on shopping sprees. In addition to these symptoms, people in a manic period will often be noticeably more talkative and feel an inflated sense of self.

While these symptoms for both manic and depressive episodes are common in people with bipolar disorder, it’s important to note that these signs may not automatically translate into the condition. Generally, physicians like to see evidence of a specific period of time of an abnormally and persistently elevated or irritated mood before making a diagnosis for someone to seek treatment for bipolar disorder.  Evidence can include family or personal reports, emergency room or medical reports, or even a mood chart that graphs the fluctuations in mood.

Options for the treatment of bipolar disorder

There are a number of options that individuals who may have bipolar disorder can take when it comes to treatment. The most common is medication, which can be a very effective treatment for bipolar disorder. Some medications can have negative side effects, such as loss of appetite, weight gain, tremor, thyroid and kidney difficulties, and sexual issues.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an FDA-approved treatment for unipolar treatment resistant clinical depression that uses MRI-strength magnetic fields to improve the function of very specific parts of the brain. One of its main benefits is its low tendency to produce negative side effects.  At this time, TMS treatment for bipolar disorder depression would be off-label (not FDA-approved).  There is promise for the use of TMS for bipolar depression, particularly if the patient has a history of more mild forms of mania, called hypomania.

If you feel that you may need treatment for depression, West Coast TMS Institute in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, is available to discuss appropriate treatments.  Contact us if you feel you’d like to look into treatment for bipolar disorder symptoms and would like to set up a psychiatric consultation.

If you found this post on treatment for bipolar disorder interesting and want to learn more about other behavioral health issues, please check out our next post on insomnia.

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