Depending on the severity of the bipolar disorder, you may have asked yourself, “Can bipolar be cured?” There are four forms of bipolar disorder, each varying in severity. It is a mood disorder affecting the brain, causing shifts in mood, activity, and energy levels that may impact an individual’s ability to carry out everyday tasks. Bipolar disorder is characterized by a pattern of alternating manic or hypomanic and depressive episodes lasting various lengths of time. Depending on which form of bipolar disorder you or your loved one has, there is significant potential for it to negatively impact your life. Some forms of bipolar disorder can be absolutely debilitating, especially during depressive episodes. Manic episodes can include symptoms such as:
- Feeling energized, elated or “high”
- Experiencing increased activity levels
- Talking extremely fast
- Having rapid thoughts
- Feeling agitated, irritable, or touchy
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Participating in risky behaviors
Symptoms of a depressive episode can include:
- Feeling sad, down or empty
- Experiencing decreased activity levels
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having very little energy
- Experiencing difficulty concentrating
- Thinking about death or suicide
The severity of these episodes determines the form of bipolar an individual is diagnosed with. The four forms of bipolar are:
- Bipolar I Disorder: Manic episodes lasting at least 7 days and depressive episodes lasting at least two weeks. Mixed episodes, or the presence of both mania and depression, are possible.
- Bipolar II Disorder: A mix of manic and depressive episodes that are not as severe as those of Bipolar I Disorder.
- Cyclothymic Disorder: A series of manic and depressive episodes over a period of at least two years, but not as severe as those experienced with Bipolar I or II Disorders.
- Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders: Symptoms of manic and depressive episodes that don’t fit any of the above categories.
Can Bipolar Be Cured?
Now that you have an overview of what bipolar disorder entails, you may want to know if bipolar can be cured. Research has shown there is no known cure for bipolar disorder, but symptoms can be managed with a combination of psychiatric medication and psychotherapy. Long-term effects can be minimized through treatment, especially when they are caught early on. Medications for bipolar disorder include:
- Atypical antipsychotics (Risperidone, Latuda, Seroquel)
- Mood stabilizers (Lamictal, Depakine, Trileptal)
- Antidepressants (Zoloft, Prozac, Abilify)
For more extreme cases of bipolar disorder, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be used or sleep medications prescribed. ECT is a highly controversial form of therapy and is used only when absolutely necessary. Not all psychotherapists condone the use of ECT. It would be ideal if the answer to the question, “Can bipolar be cured?” was “Yes!” Nonetheless, it is encouraging that through treatment those struggling with bipolar disorder can manage their symptoms. If you’re struggling with bipolar disorder or are concerned you may be experiencing the first signs of this disorder, schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms. If you catch it early, you have a better chance of taking control of your disorder. You don’t have to be controlled by your bipolar disorder! Resources “Bipolar Disorder” National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml