Some people experience severe mood swings where they can feel very high with elated mood or very low and depressed. This condition is called bipolar disorder. The period of high mood is referred to as mania or manic. This is why bipolar disorder used to be called Manic Depression.
It is estimated that bipolar disorder affects 1 in 100 people. Usually episodes of bipolar disorder can last for weeks or months sometimes with devastating consequences for the patient and people around him. During these episodes patient experience depression, mania or sometimes hypomania (a less severe form of mania). When people suffering from bipolar disorder have a depressive episode they feel low in their mood, lose ability to enjoy things, have loss of interest in life, sleeping problems, hopelessness, helplessness, guilt feeling, feeling of worthlessness, change in appetite, weight loss, poor concentration, feeling tired easily and loss of sexual drive. Sometimes during depressive episodes people can have thoughts of ending their lives. On the other hand during manic episodes people with bipolar disorder experience high mood, feel excited, have excessive energy, talk excessively, make unrealistic plans, starts many projects that they don’t tend to finish, overspend, don’t see the need to sleep, feel that they are of special importance, have special powers or abilities, feel that they are on a special mission, become disinhibited, become more interested in sex, engage in dangerous reckless behaviour, become irritable and they usually lack insight into what they are going through. Patients with bipolar disorder can also have psychotic symptoms when the experience severe mood swings.
Diagnosing and treating bipolar disorder can be challenging. Especially that patients usually present in depressive episodes and not when they are experiencing manic episodes as they quiet often lack insight during these episodes. If the patient does not see a clinician who is experienced in diagnosing, treating and differentiating bipolar disorder from other mental illness that can present in a similar way this can lead to misdiagnosis and delay in recovery. In the acute stage of bipolar disorder, the first line treatment is medication. Medication is also used between episodes to protect patients from experiencing further episodes. The choice of which medication to use depends on many factors such as if the patient is feeling low or high and the severity of the condition. Medications used include mood stabilizers, antidepressants and sometimes antipsychotic medication. Besides medication talking therapies that includes psycoeducation and other forms of formal therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) play crucial role in recovery and protecting patients from experiencing further episodes.
Dr Abdelghani has special expertise in treating bipolar disorder using different medications and other novel evidence-based treatments; such as TMS. Dr Abdelghani works very closely with a number of highly skilled clinical psychologist who can provide our patients with different psychological therapies when needed.
The different treatment modalities we offer in addition to working with colleagues from other disciplines, such as psychologists, ensures that our patients receive a comprehensive and holistic service.
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