Can Bipolar Disorder be treated?

Bipolar disorder treatment is not new.  Men of medicine were treated for it before they even knew what it was.  Yet every year new medications and methodologies are added to bipolar disorder treatment.  

Although first recognized in the second century A.D., bipolar disorder has struggled as a diagnosis to become accepted.  Bipolar disorder treatment up to and through the 1960s, if any, was usually comprised of either locking the patient away or leaving him or her to fend for him or herself.  

In the 1970's manic-depression, as it was then called, began to become seen as an accepted diagnosis and therefore, bipolar disorder treatment began in earnest.  Laws were enacted at the time and standards were set to help those who sought bipolar disorder treatment.

For bipolar disorder treatment, the first thought may be the use of medications.  They are a powerful tool in the management of the disorder.  One only needs to look at the vast array of medications that are available to see that medication has been extensively used in bipolar disorder treatment.

Lithium carbonate was the first major breakthrough in medications for bipolar disorder treatment.  It belongs to a class of medications called "mood stabilizers".  These medications help to prevent or ease manic episodes.  They also help to ward off the extremes of depression, such as suicide.

Bipolar disorder treatment may also include the use of other mood stabilizers that were originally used as anticonvulsants.  These have been shown to have a great effect on mood.  Some of these, such as valproic acid and carbamazepine, are tried and true.  Lamotrigine, gabapentin, and topiramate have also been used for this purpose but not conclusively proven effective.

Caution must be taken in the use of antidepressant therapy as part of bipolar disorder treatment.  Mood stabilizers are usually tried first because antidepressants can trigger manic episodes or rapid-cycling.  If an antidepressant must be used, there are certain ones which are less likely to cause these problems. One of these is bupropion.

The treatment of psychotic symptoms has evolved quickly in modern times.  At first, there were powerful anti-psychotics. The first of these was said to put the mind to a "mental strait-jacket."  They virtually stopped all thought.  They also had an intense side effect known as tardive dyskinesia.  This causes permanent neurological damage.  Researchers then were trying to find alternatives that would cause less, or even no, damage to bipolar disorder treatment.

Other antipsychotics were tried and found to have fewer neurological effects.  The newest of these medications are relatively safe when used as prescribed.  They are also very helpful in bipolar disorder treatment both in psychotic episodes and even in simple mania.  Some of the newer ones are risperidone and olanzapine.

Talk therapy is also used in bipolar disorder treatment.  It can be useful to help a person to recognize and deal with symptoms of the disorder.  Cognitive behavioral therapy can help a person to identify destructive patterns of thinking and behavior, and help him or her to act in ways that will have a positive influence on his or her disease process.

Other types of talk therapy are used in bipolar disorder treatment to help a person deal with the devastating consequences of the illness and to explore the history of that person's disease.  Talk therapy has been successfully used in bipolar disorder treatment.

All of these components constitute a lifelong process. Medication and talk therapy can contribute to effective bipolar disorder treatment today.  No one knows what science will bring to bipolar disorder treatment in the future.