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Bipolar disorder

A mental illness, also known as manic depressive illness, characterised by swings in the mood between the opposite extremes of severe depression and over excitability (mania).  At the beginning, the mood disturbance may consist of depression or mania but eventually it alternates between the two.  In a severe form that is sometimes referred to as manic depressive psychosis, there may also be grandiose ideas or negative delusions. 

Causes

Abnormalities in the structure and/or function of certain nerve pathways or brain biochemistry in the brain may be the underlying cause of bipolar disorder.  An inherited tendency can also be a causative factor. 

Treatment and outlook

Bipolar disorder is mainly treated with drugs, often in combination with other therapies.  Antidepressant drugs are used to treat depression; ECT (electro convulsive therapy) can also be used if depression is severe.  Antipsychotic drugs are given to controlled manic symptoms.  Crbamazepine or lithium are used to prevent relapses. In extreme cases, bipolar disorder often needs hospital treatment.  Family therapy, group therapy and individual psychotherapy may be helpful in treatment.  Cognitive behavioural therapy can also help.

With treatment most of those affected improve or remain stable.  Even those with severe illness can be restored to near normal health. At the natural health clinic we combine a number of different therapies related to the mind to help individuals that are suffering with bipolar. Antipsychotic drugs do have huge side effects although at times they are needed.


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