Treatments for Each Condition
Whilst there is some crossover in treatment for the two disorders (e.g. antidepressants may be used in conjunction with other medications for bipolar treatment), there are some important additions to the treatment of bipolar disorder.
Whilst depression tends to be (traditionally) treated with antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft, bipolar disorder may also be treated with mood stabilizers such as Lamictal and Epilim, and if psychotic symptoms have been identified then there may also be the addition of antipsychotics such as Abilify or Quetiapine.
Medication is an important part of treatment in stabilizing both disorders, but it is vital that chemical treatment is strengthened by the addition of talking therapies. There are many options available for talking therapy, with options ranging from counselling to psychotherapy.
In more extreme cases of both depression and bipolar disorder, there may be a need for a treatment known as ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), a procedure by which seizures are induced in the brain in order to provide relief from more treatment resistant symptoms. This is usually only used in very intense cases however, where many medications have not worked.
There are many lifestyle changes that can be made to help the symptoms of mental illness, and many of them apply to both depression and bipolar. For example, it is important to maintain a good sleep routine as best you can. Going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time will have a positive impact on your mental health, as will trying to stick to a basic routine throughout your daily tasks.
It is important to avoid street drugs and alcohol as these will not help the situation in the long run, and will eventually exacerbate any symptoms, or may cause a full relapse. Gentle exercise such as walking or yoga can help to raise serotonin levels, and performing activities such as meditation and mindfulness can help to reconnect the mind with the body, thus causing greater self-awareness.
Whilst it is important to monitor moods, especially through a self kept mood diary, it is also important to not be overly hyper vigilant of moods, as this may lead to feelings of negativity surrounding any kind of good time, as they may then be connected with anxiety and worry.
If you feel that you may be experiencing some mental health related symptoms, you should try and seek help at the earliest opportunity. It has been proven across multiple studies that early intervention is helpful to achieving the best possible outcome with respect to a mental health diagnosis.
Seeking help early will mean you can build coping strategies, and will be able to recognize warning signs in yourself before a crisis hits. Reaching out to friends and family is also something to do in times of mental health distress as they can provide valuable help and support during difficult times.
In times of crisis, it is important to reach out to a mental health professional as soon as possible so that the correct help can be accessed. If the crisis is severe and happens outside of the operating hours of a standard mental health team then a visit to hospital is an absolute necessity.