What to Expect From Treatment-Resistant Bipolar Disorder Episodes

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that comes with a number of symptoms including, most specifically, manic (or hypomanic) and depressive episodes. Understanding what to expect during these episodes and treatment options that are available for people living with treatment-resistant bipolar disorder, like ketamine therapy, can provide hope for those diagnosed.

What to Expect During a Bipolar Disorder Episode

Manic Episodes

Manic episodes are periods of abnormally elevated mood and high energy. During a manic episode, individuals may experience:

Increased Energy and Activity: Feeling unusually energetic, engaging in numerous activities, and having trouble sitting still.

Elevated Mood: Intense euphoria, irritability, or aggression.

Racing Thoughts and Rapid Speech: Jumping quickly from one idea to another, talking excessively, and having difficulty focusing.

Impulsive Behaviors: Engaging in risky behaviors such as excessive spending, substance abuse, or unprotected sex.

Decreased Need for Sleep: Feeling rested after only a few hours of sleep or experiencing insomnia without feeling tired.

Depressive Episodes

Depressive episodes are marked by prolonged periods of low mood and energy. Symptoms may include:

Sadness and/or Hopelessness: Feeling overwhelmingly sad, empty, or hopeless.

Apathy: Disinterest in activities once enjoyed, including hobbies, social interactions, and sex.

Fatigue: Feeling fatigued and sluggish, even after adequate rest.

Changes in Appetite and Weight: Significant weight loss or gain and changes in eating habits.

Difficulty Concentrating: Trouble focusing, making decisions, and remembering details.

Thoughts of Death or Suicide: Recurrent thoughts about death, suicidal ideation, or attempts.

Exploring Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

Effective treatment for bipolar disorder often involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle adjustments. Here are some standard approaches:

Medication Approaches for Bipolar Disorders

Mood Stabilizers: Lithium, valproate, and lamotrigine are commonly used to manage mood swings.

Antipsychotics: Medications like olanzapine and risperidone help control manic episodes.

Antidepressants: These are sometimes prescribed for depressive episodes but must be used cautiously to avoid triggering mania.

Benzodiazepines: These can help manage anxiety and insomnia but are generally used short-term due to the risk of dependence.

Psychotherapy Approaches for Bipolar Disorder

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors.

Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT): Focuses on stabilizing daily routines and improving interpersonal relationships.

Family-Focused Therapy: Involves family members in treatment to improve communication and support.

Treatment for Treatment-Resistant Bipolar Disorder

Treatment-resistant bipolar disorder may not respond to traditional treatments listed above. In these situations, it’s best to find alternative treatments, like ketamine-assisted therapy. Ketamine therapy is a promising treatment, particularly for individuals with treatment-resistant depression and bipolar disorder. Here’s how it works and what to expect:

How Ketamine Therapy Works

Ketamine is an anesthetic that, at low doses, has been found to have rapid antidepressant effects. It works by targeting the brain’s glutamate system, which plays a crucial role in mood regulation and cognitive functions. Unlike traditional antidepressants, which can take weeks to show effects, ketamine can provide relief within hours or days.

Benefits of Ketamine Therapy:

Fast Relief: Provides quick relief from depressive symptoms, which can be life-saving for individuals experiencing severe depression or suicidal thoughts.

Effectiveness: Particularly beneficial for those who haven’t responded to other treatments.

Improved Mood: Helps reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improving overall quality of life.

Getting Help for Bipolar Disorder at Delray Brain Science

Bipolar disorder can lead to debilitating symptoms and loss of quality of life. However, with the right treatment and support, individuals can manage symptoms and live a life of mental wellbeing. Understanding what to expect during episodes and knowing more about innovative treatments like ketamine therapy can make a significant difference. At Delray Brain Science, we provide comprehensive care to help you navigate living with bipolar disorder and achieve long-term wellness. If you or a loved one is struggling with bipolar disorder, reach out to us today to learn more about our treatment options.