Treatments of Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorder is characterized by both manic and depressive episodes. A manic episode is a period in which a person s mood is elevated, expansive, or irritable to a degree that causes serious impairment in relationships and occupational and social functioning. A major depressive episode is a period of two weeks during which a person experiences a depressed mood or a loss of interest in nearly all activities (Walsh 1998). Some symptoms of a depressive episode may include the following: depressed mood, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, or a diminished ability to think or concentrate. The purpose of this paper is to give you information concerning different treatments of people who have been diagnosed with the Bipolar disorder.

I will also be discussing possible side effects of different treatments to give you a better understanding how different drugs coincide within a person s body. After reading this article, you will have a better understanding of treating the bipolar disorder. Lithium is the oldest and most widely prescribed medication for the treatment of bipolar disorder. Lithium circulates through the body as a small ion with a positive electrical charge.

The lithium action has been characterized by a high rate of passage through cell membrane ion channels. This results in a stabilization of electrolyte imbalances in the cell membrane and the impediment of naturally occurring impulses that contribute to mania. Lithium is more effective at stabilizing manic than depressive episodes. Some common side effects of lithium may include thirst, fatigue, weight gain, mild tremors in the hand or wrist, increased urination, and gastrointestinal upset (Walsh 1998).

The usage of lithium significantly increases total grey-matter volume in patients. According to Moore, eight out of ten patients experienced an increase of grey-matter after using lithium (Moore 2000). Although lithium has long been the treatment of choice of bipolar disorder, it has been shown in studies to have less protective power in patients who have already had three or more episodes of illness. Carbamazepine is justified, therefore, in patients who have shown a pattern of nonresponse to lithium (Keller & Baker 1991).

Some side effects associated with the use of carbamazepine may include disorganization, hostility, un cooperativeness, unusual thought content, and excitement. Medication is the key to stabilizing bipolar disorder. Along with lithium, depakene may be used in the initial treatment of mania. If a patient is psychotic, a neuroleptic medication may also be given. Benzodiazepines may be given for treating agitation of a patient, however, it should be used with caution because of the addictive potential of it (Griswold 2000).

When a patient with bipolar disorder becomes depressed, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or bupropion (Wellburtrin) may be given. The use of tricyclic antidepressant should be avoided because of the possibility of inducing rapid cycling of symptoms (Griswold 2000). Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder in which, over time, a person experiences one or more manic episodes that are usually accompanied by one or more major depressive episodes. This disorder is associated with chemical imbalances in the nervous system and medications are almost always used as a major means of intervention (Walsh 1998).

Although lithium is the most popular drug prescribed to patients diagnosed with the disorder, some common side effects may include thirst, fatigue, weight gain, mild tremors in the wrist and hands, and increased urination. Other drugs may be used, such as depakene, carbamazepine, wellburtrin, and benzodiazepines to treating a patient diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It is important to note that there can many side effects that have been studied by using various medications and caution should always be taken when introducing the body to it. References Griswold, K. (2000). Manic-depressive psychoses.

American Family Physician, 62 (6). 1343-1354. Keller, M. & Baker, L. (1991). Manic-depressive psychoses.

Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 55 (6). 172-182. Moore G. , Bebchuk J. , Wilds Ian & Chen Guang (2000). Lithium-Psychological effect.

Lancet, 356 (9237). 1241-1243. Walsh, Joseph (1998). Manic-depressive psychoses Treatment. Research on Social Work Practice, 8 (4). 406-426..