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Bipolar Disorder Health Center

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Understanding Bipolar Disorder -- Treatment

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Nondrug Treatments of Depression continued...

The newer types of nonpharmocological treatments of depression are:

  • VNS (Vagus or Vagal Nerve Stimulation) involves implantation of a device that sends electrical signals to the vagus nerve in order to treat depression.
  • TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) is a procedure which involves the use of an electromagnetic coil to create electrical currents and stimulate nerve cells in the mood centers of the brain as a treatment for depression.
  • Light therapy has proved effective as an additional treatment when bipolar disorder has a connection to seasonal affective disorder. For those people who usually become depressed in winter, sitting for 20 minutes to 30 minutes a day in front of a special light box with a full-spectrum light can help treat depression.

Home Environment and Bipolar Disorder

If someone you live with has bipolar disorder, maintain a calm environment, particularly when that person is in a manic phase. Keep to regular routines for daily activities -- sleeping, eating, and exercise. Adequate sleep is very important in preventing the onset of episodes. Avoid excessive stimulation. Parties, animated conversation, and long periods of watching television or videos can exacerbate manic symptoms. Alcohol or illicit drug use can cause or worsen mood symptoms and make prescription medicines work less effectively.

IMPORTANT! Help and Support

In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, patients may engage in risky activities, such as fast driving or certain risky sports. They should be monitored and prevented from taking chances, especially in a car. Drinks and foods containing caffeine -- tea, coffee, and cola-- should be allowed in moderation. Avoid alcohol at all times. It is very important for a patient experiencing manic symptoms to receive prompt psychiatric assessment. Family members may need to contact the doctor, because oftentimes patients in a manic or hypomanic episode have little insight into their illness and may refuse treatment. But prompt intervention, including possible medication adjustments at an early point in an episode, may prevent further problems and the need for hospitalization.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on February 27, 2015
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