Causes of Bipolar Disorder and Drugs for Treatment

causes of bipolar disorderCauses of Bipolar Disorder and Drugs for Treatment

Thousands of people are suffering from a mood disorder formerly known as manic depression. It is better known as bipolar disorder or bipolar affective disorder. Mood changes are a normal thing in people; however, they become a problem when they go past the normal levels. With those swings people become extremely depressed and reach extreme highs of mania. Frequency and duration of those swings varies from person to person.

Causes of the Condition

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is not yet determined, but according to the specialists the cause lie in a combination of a person’s genetics and the hormone levels. It is also possible that bipolar disorder is triggered by another illness.

Individuals go through different feelings and situations every day, and sometimes that leads to changes in mood. The way a person deals with pleasant and unpleasant events decides whether or not the mood changes become a more severe problem.

Here are some of the triggers that cause mood swings; these triggers are sometime also called stressors:

  • medication or alcohol abuse
  • not being able to sleep regularly
  • starting treatment with depression drugs or natural products
  • withdrawal from a medication
  • other illnesses such as thyroid problems
  • holidays
  • seasonal changes
  • disagreements with family members and friends
  • problems at work
  • marital problems
  • losing a family member or friend
  • starting some important new task in your life, e.g. school or a new job

Mood Chart

In case you find out that you have bipolar affective disorder, it is a good idea to identify and record the triggers of your mood changes. This can be done by creating your own mood chart. In this chart you write down all your feelings together with the events that happened with the feelings. After some time you will start to see certain patterns of your mood changes.mood chart

Creating such a mood chart without help is difficult to do. Therefore you should seek the advice of your doctor and also speak to your family members and friends. They are able to give you instructions about how to set up the mood chart and give you insights into how they see your behaviors.

After having determined all the triggers of your mood swings, the next step is to learn how to avoid them. This requires discipline and attention to avoid situations and habits that lead to negative results. Again you must involve your family members and friends so that they are aware of what you are trying to achieve. You must inform them of the triggers you are trying to avoid so that they can help you in this regard.

Bipolar disorder is not that easy to identify and so many people go on for several years without knowing about it. There is no laboratory test for bipolar disorder as for other illnesses. The doctor will often use the mood disorder questionnaire (MDQ) to identify the disorder. The doctor and patient will fill out the checklists of this questionnaire with the signs and symptoms shown by the patient.

Drugs for Treatment

There are a several drugs that are used for the treatment of bipolar affective disorder:

a)     Mood Stabilizers – their purpose is to delay or reduce the impact of depressive and manic episodes.

b)    Antidepressants – can be used together with mood stabilizers when going through a depressive episode. If antidepressants are used alone they increase the chance of creating a manic episode.

c)     Antipsychotics – are used during manic episodes. Severe depressive and manic periods can result in psychosis, which is best treated with antipsychotics. They can be used alone or the doctor may prescribe them together with other drugs.

Then there is ECT or Electroconvulsive Therapy. This is not a drug, but another form of treatment that can also be applied by individuals who do not respond to the medications.

ECT is a form of therapy with the goal of controlling acute manic and depressive symptoms. It effectively improves the instability of your mood and the cycling and also reduces the symptoms of bipolar and treats the side effects of medications.

Medications are no guarantee for curing the mental problems, but it is possible to stabilize the mood swings. It is possible to control the symptoms and deal with certain issues. A proper treatment plan allows the bipolar patient to return to a normal life, which is also a positive for the affected family members. As always seek the advice of your doctor.

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