Understanding Bipolar Disorder – Part 2 – Treatment and care.

Accepting that you have a problem, is half the battle won.

However, where mental illness is concerned, people stay in the denial mode way too long in the hope that the problem will vanish if they avoid dealing with it, and that is where they go wrong.

Accepting the truth, that Bipolar Disorder was a mental illness here to stay, was not only difficult, but also heartbreaking–it was an illness on which would depend quite a many decisions of our Life. But, no one said that Life would be a bed of roses! On the contrary, there are far fewer roses than there are thorns in our Life, isn’t it?

Last week, I shared a post on Causes and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Today, I write about the treatment for Bipolar Disorder.ย 

ACCEPTANCE IS KEY:

Accept the fact that the illness is going to be a permanent part of your life. It isn’t easy doing so. It’s an everyday process. But, you really have no other choice!

A visit to a psychiatrist is the first thing to do instead of waiting to see if the symptoms die down with time. If you see your loved one unable to sleep or if you observe changes in their usual behaviour, DO NOT try to question them/argue or fight with them.

Set an appointment with a psychiatrist who will be able to make the right diagnosis and give the necessary treatment before things get out of hand.

If the aggressive, violent behaviour of the patient gets impossible to manage, he/she might have to get admitted to a hospital, where the first thing they would do is sedate the patient. DO NOT worry if they have to be restrained to the bed–it’s for their own good lest they harm either themselves or others.

The manic phase as well as the depressive phase can be really difficult for the patient as well as for the caregivers, but following the doctor’s instructions is imperative.

However much the patient objects to the restraining, the sedation or the treatment, know that it is for their own good. You, as a caregiver, will have to be strong and adamant, too, and only follow your doctor’s instructions.

TREATMENT:

A psychiatrist who diagnoses and treats mental illnesses is the one who will decide upon the treatment for Bipolar Disorder.

Once admitted to the hospital, the patient will be sedated. This helps calm them down. Sedation results in the patient sleeping for hours together (esp. after a manic phase).

The medications prescribed as part of treatment of Bipolar Disorder are:

Mood stabilisers

Anti-psychotics

Anti-anxiety medications

Anti-depressants

Finding the right medications for every patient takes some trial and error. At times, some medications work like a charm, and at times, they don’t give the desired effect.

As a caregiver, one needs to be extremely patient and bank on their support system for emotional, physical and financial help.

Medications take quite some time to show the desired effect. At times, in a matter of days, the patient exhibits flashes of normal behaviour, but, it takes months before the patient is completely healthy again.

Medications also have side effects that can bother the patient.

The speech is slurred because of the sedatives, the movements are slow and the mind, foggy. The patient often forgets why he or she has landed in the hospital and since when they have been there.

At times, they get argumentative and insist upon returning home, or discontinuing medications because of the side effects. Talking to the psychiatrist about it is a must instead of agreeing with the patient, lest the symptoms return and the patient experiences withdrawal symptoms and their condition worsens.

The patient might have to stay in the hospital for about a week or 10 days, until the doctor feels the patient is ready to leave.

Once home, the patient has to follow the prescribed regimen. Regular visits to the psychiatrists are to be followed.

Once the patient shows signs of good health, the doctor makes the necessary changes in the medications. And, once the doctor permits, the patient can return to their earlier schedule of work or schooling.

Appointments with the doctor and the prescribed medications have to be regulated strictly despite busy schedules or travel plans.

OTHER SIDE EFFECTS:

The other side effects the patient experiences are trembling of the hands, forgetfulness, sleepiness, weight gain. Talk to the doctor about these side effects.

CARE:

If the patient accepts that he/she has to deal with the illness for life and take the medications as per the doctor’s instructions without fail, then it becomes easy to deal with the problem.

As a caregiver, it’s paramount that you personally take it upon yourself to administer the medications to the patient.

Make it a part of your daily schedule and you won’t miss out on any dosage.

Fixing appointments with the doctor as per the doctor’s advice is also the caregiver’s responsibility, as is accompanying the patient to the clinic each time.

Make a note of the changes made in the dosage and follow the instructions to the T.

If the patient has travel plans, make sure you pack enough medications and label the packets clearly in pouches big enough not to be missed. Explain the patient about these medications and how they can not, and must not, miss any dose.

WHEN LIFE GETS BACK TO NORMAL:

Yes, it does! Once the patient’s moods are brought under control with the help of the medications, slowly and steadily, Life comes back to normal. The patient, who, sometime ago, displayed manic and depressive moods, transforms into his/her ‘original’ self.

The calm and collected, well-balanced person who is dedicated to his/her career/academics; who has a wonderful, beautiful, caring heart and a fantastic sense of humour; who cares deeply about the family who dotes upon him/her, is the person you see, by and by.

As the caregiver, all you need to do is:

Pay attention to the patient’s sleeping pattern (whether they are sleeping too much, or too less)

Observe their reaction to crisis or stressful situations.

Contact the doctor if their anxieties feel abnormally high.

Keep a close watch on their spending habits.

Make sure they take their medications on time everyday.

And, religiously follow the doctor’s advice.

 

Bipolar Disorder is one of the most treatable mental illnesses, provided you take quick action.

Anybody can become the victim of a mental illness. Accepting it, instead of ignoring it, is the first step towards dealing with it.

 

Take care,

 

Love,

SHILPA…

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BIPOLAR DISORDER: TREATMENT & CARE

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Understanding Bipolar Disorder – Part 2 – Treatment and care.”

  1. Thanks for this detailed regime of how to care for someone who needs to be constantly on medication. Care giving is extremely important and involves dedication and patience .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, caregiving involves dedication and patience and courage, too. I just go with whatever Life has to offer me everyday, Sunita, and be grateful for everything that Life has brought for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It takes so much dedication to manage this illness. I admire your strength and courage, Shilpa! As mentioned previously, one of my closest friends has the disorder, complicated by PTSD and Asperger Syndrome. She sees her psychiatrist every week and is under much better control, now. Glad you mentioned keeping an eye on finances! During my friend’s manic phases, she would go on wild spending sprees and rack up a lot of debt. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences and helping others to understand this condition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Debbie!
      I am really not that strong or courageous, but, it’s just that I have realised I have to face whatever hand Life deals me. All the counselling sessions since last year helped me learn a lot, about the illness and also what I can and should remember in case of any eventuality.
      Your friend must have it really bad what with PTSD and Asperger’s. Life can be so so difficult for so many peope, I wonder how they handle things!
      We can only be grateful for the help we receive in the form of the right doctors and emotional support.

      Like

    1. Yes, Corinne. Earlier, I used to be nervous just thinking about what I might have to deal with, but over the last year, with the help of my psychiatrist, I have learned to face whatever comes my way, coz I have no choice but to face it all! ๐Ÿ˜€
      Thanks Corinne!

      Like

  3. This is so tough and requires loads of patience and support. Thanks for sharing this information. I am sure it will help someone decipher and get timely treatment for a loved one to be aware of this. Can bipolar disorder ever be completely cured or managed with medications?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Any mental health issue is tough to accept, track and treat. It is amazing that you are writing about it, considering it is a delicate topic to say the least. Sadly, there is no proper public awareness and in a way, I think that interferes with the way the person dealing with the mental health issue perceives it. Maybe it feels like a lack of support and makes the person feel bad to acknowledge it. It is good that there are ways to manage it. Hugs, Shilpa. Considering that even “healthy” people can be mean and give others a bad time… sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a delicate topic because of lack of awareness, Vidya. Only if people knew and spoke openly about it the way they speak of any other illness, it wouldn’t give rise to so much stress and shame talking about a mental illness.

      Oh, yes, “healthy” people sure can be mean, for the simple reason that they know not how blessed they are! If they were to witness a patient suffering from an episode of a mental illness, maybe they would change their perspective.

      Thanks so much, Vidya!

      Liked by 1 person

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