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Depression Phase of Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar Disorder is characterized by two extremely contrasting phases – Mania and Depression. A patient in depressive phase exhibits classic symptoms including sudden disinterest, insomnia loss of appetite and energy to even having suicidal thoughts.

Bipolar depression treatment involves prescribing approved antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs to alleviate symptoms without triggering a manic episode. However, long-term use of drugs has troublesome side effects on one’s physical body. Hence, one needs to undergo one of the following treatments along with medication to control the episodes of bipolar depression.

Neurofeedback – It is a sophisticated, non-invasive, and painless way to improve brain wave activity. Neurofeedback treatment involves measuring brain patterns with a special computer system via sensors placed on patient’s head and in-turn rewarding the brain for making healthier and stable patterns. Neurofeedback helps in

  • Stabilizing mood swings
  • Improving concentration
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Controlling anger
  • Reducing drug dependence

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Biofeedback – The treatment involves attaching electrical sensors to body parts to monitor functions like heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tensions etc. The sensors translate the biofeedback into detectable signals like flashing light and sound to help control them with relaxation techniques. Biofeedback treatment helps in reducing anxiety and insomnia.

Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT) – ECT is used to stabilize a patient suffering from extreme depression and not responding to medications. An electrical charge is sent through the electrodes placed on each side of the patient’s head. Modern ECT is safe and fastest way to relieve certain unwanted symptoms, especially suicidal tendencies.

Psychotherapy or ‘Talk Therapy’ – Psychotherapy encourages you to speak your mind and share feelings or discuss behavioural patterns that can cause personal and professional issues. Various therapies used to treat bipolar disorder are –

  • Behavioural Therapy – Aims at managing stress
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – Helps in identify thinking patterns and control negative thoughts and mood swings
  • Interpersonal Therapy – Aims at improving relationships and reduce strain caused by the illness
  • Social Rhythm Therapy – Helps develop a predictable activity and sleeping schedule to reduce erratic behaviour
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Mindfulness – Mindfulness therapy positively influences one’s emotional well-being by breaking negative thoughts and behaviour. It uses yoga, breathing exercises and meditation to counter depression, anxiety and frustration.

Bipolar disorder depression or mania requires a life-long treatment. But with various treatments available today, one can effectively manage the symptoms of the disorder to avoid disruption in their daily life and lead a balanced life.

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