Both patients and psychiatrists face hurdles in treating bipolar disorder effectively. Here are three areas that challenge healthy outcomes when it comes to treating this condition.
According to the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association (DMDA), 69 percent of patients with bipolar disorder were initially misdiagnosed. Over a third were misdiagnosed for ten years or more.
It is absolutely critical for those who believe they are suffering from bipolar disorder to receive a professional psychiatric assessment as early as possible. Missteps in diagnosis or treatment plans can lead to years of pain and anguish. Even a misdiagnosis between bipolar I or bipolar II can cause significant setbacks in healthy management of the condition.
Each individual experiences bipolar disorder in their own unique way. That’s why developing a relationship with an experienced psychiatrist who understands your specific needs is essential. For most, outpatient treatment is available and effective. For others, more intense treatment programs and/or hospitalization may be required.
Treatment plans don’t always work as efficiently as desired, and may need to be adjusted based on the patient’s reaction to certain methods or dosages. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy can be very effective at treating bipolar disorder. However, not every counselor or psychiatrist uses this technique.
Common symptoms of bipolar disorder include mood swings, sadness, low motivation, and loss of interest in daily activities. They can also include high energy, suicidal thoughts, and risk taking behaviors. This makes treating bipolar disorder uniquely difficult when a patient resists treatment.
To adequately support a friend or family member with bipolar, first, learn about the condition. Understanding symptoms and treatment options is the first step to understanding what they are experiencing.
Second, be supportive, understanding, and encourage the person to get help. This will require patience. Furthermore, it will require compassion, and acceptance. Do not underestimate your ability to provide the support your loved one needs- you may be all they have.
Are you or someone you care about experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder? Contact Dean A. Aman, LPCMH today to start the journey to a healthier life.