The sufferers of this mental disorder constantly swing through periods of manic and depressive states that ruin their social and family life. Also called manic-depression, the manic episodes are characterized by elevated or irritable mood, increased energy, decreased need for sleep, poor temper control and irresponsible behaviour while the depressive episode is marked by loss of energy feelings of sadness, guilt, low self-esteem, and thoughts of death and suicide. Having such mood swings is the hallmark of this disorder, where going back and forth between mania and depression can be very quick or may last from days to months.
Family members and caregivers are very important in the treatment of bipolar disorder. In addition, a healthy diet and proper sleep can remarkably help the victims. Drugs used to treat bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers, anti-seizure drugs, anti-psychotic drugs, anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressants. However, Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) may be used to treat the manic or depressive phase of bipolar disorder if it does not respond to medication. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) uses high-frequency magnetic pulses to target affected areas of the brain.
Bipolar disorder is believed to have a genetic link as it tends to run in families. However, environment plays a significant role on the onset of this mental sickness as it takes root in the early years of childhood. Brain imaging studies have also shown abnormal patterns of brain development in children with bipolar disorder.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is basically an anxiety disorder where the victims are troubled by unwanted and repeated thoughts and actions called ‘obsessions’ which they seemingly cannot get rid of due to lack of self control. This disorder usually develops in young adulthood. Some of the probable causes of OCD are believed to be head injury and infections. The distressing obsessions or compulsions typical of OCD that interfere with daily life include checking and rechecking actions like turning out the lights and locking the door, repeated hand washing due to obsessive fear of germs, etc.
Treatment normally includes anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and benzodiazepines among other medications. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be the most effective type of psychotherapy for OCD. Through this therapy, the patient is exposed to situations that trigger the obsessive thoughts, in order to develop tolerance to anxiety and resistance to the obsessive compulsion. Medication and CBT together give better results in treating OCD patients.