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Bipolar Disorder: Which Treatment is Right for You?

Aug 17, 2007
Bipolar disorder is a mental condition that imposes a great deal of danger to its sufferers. The exact cause or reasons why it happens are still unknown to experts, but treatments come in a wide variety: psychotherapy, medication, alternative treatments, electroconvulsive therapy, and light therapy.

Each has its own effects (good or bad) and the effect would vary from patient to patient.

Clearly, then, there isn't one single treatment that can be recommended to everybody. This is because one particular treatment may be effective for one person but not for another. And it is wrong therefore to say that the same treatment that took effect on one person will also be effective to everyone.

The reason for this is that "bipolar disorder" is a collective term to describe a mental condition with distinct characteristics. And the effects and symptoms of this mental condition vary from person to person; as does the patient's response to a particular treatment.

Bipolar disorder is associated with chemical imbalance in the brain; and since there are several chemicals called neurotransmitters inside the brain, each person suffering from bipolar has a particular neurotransmitter or neurotransmitters that need to be normalized.

One treatment can cure a particular neurotransmitter(s) but not all treatments work the same.

The most common mode of treatment is psychotherapy or "talk" therapy. This treatment is given to those with mild to moderate bipolar disorder. Often, psychotherapy is combined with antidepressant medications depending on the particular patient. This method is widely used, widely accepted, and has been proven effective.

However, there are treatments that only work for a particular patient. Just like the Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This treatment works by changing the biochemical compositions of the brain through waves of electric current. It is often used as a last mode of treatment for patients who do not respond to medications and psychotherapy.

This case also applies to antidepressants. There are several antidepressants but each will only work for a particular bipolar disorder case. For example, in one particular medication such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), there are several antidepressants that target the serotonin while others target the serotonin and other neurotransmitters. Prozac, Celexa, and Paxil are some SSRIs that act mainly on the serotonin. Newer antidepressants such as (Effexor) venlafaxine and Serzone (nefazodone) act on the serotonin and norepinephrine.

The SSRIs are a form of antidepressant medication that cannot be applied to patients who need MAO treatment. MAO is an enzyme that breaks down certain brain chemicals. Instead of SSRIs, the monoamine oxidase inhibitors are applied. Same thing goes if the patient needs an antidepressant that reduces the excessive activity of the brain. Here, the Lithium is what the patient needs.

Knowing the right treatment for bipolar disorder is not the same as knowing the right treatment for a certain physical illness. Bipolar disorder is a very delicate mental illness that needs to be treated immediately and accurately once diagnosed. It is not something that would go away after a matter of time. Dealing with bipolar disorder is both stressful and difficult to the patient as well as the family members, making sure that it is treated correctly must be the top priority. And to be able to do this, the patient must consult a psychiatrist or a qualified doctor with expertise on bipolar disorder cases the very moment he or she has been given its signs.
About the Author
Did you know 16% of the world's population suffer from depression? Are you a sufferer? The author of this article, Matthew OConnor runs a site dedicated to the latest news and developments in depression treatments, particularly the crucial topic of bipolar disorder treatment.
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