A recent article in Bipolar News reminds us of the value of preventing mood episodes, even if that means aggressive treatment.
By reducing the number of bipolar episodes a patient may experience, preventative treatment can protect the brain from the damaging effects of such episodes. Preventative treatments with multiple medications have been shown to be very effective but the medication regime will likely be different for every person.
Be sure to give your care providers detailed feedback about your experiences with any new medication, or combination of medications, so that the treatment can be adjusted for maximal effectiveness. Since each person’s reaction may be different, and each combination of medications may have a slightly different effect, it is not possible to come up with the perfect combination immediately, constant monitoring and adjustment are usually necessary.
A key to this is usually mood charting since few of us can remember the details of every mood change over time.
And why is preventing mood episodes so important? As this article from Bipolar Network News shows:
A 2017 literature review by researcher Lars V. Kessing and Per K. Andersen in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica reports that the greater a patient’s number of previous episodes of bipolar disorder, the more likely that patient is to have a more difficult course of illness and poorer outcomes. The number of episodes was associated with more rapid recurrences, duration and severity of episodes, more automatic episodes (i.e. not triggered by stress), risk of dementia, treatment resistance, lack of recovery between episodes, and brain volume losses.
Moodsurfing has explored related issues in a number of posts, including considering when and how one may try stopping medication; what warning signs to look for, including an interesting study of warning signs shown in the eyes; and a look at factors linked to bipolar cycle acceleration.
As we have emphasized before, prevention and management are of utmost importance in lessening the ongoing decline and damage the disease may cause. Please feel free to share any tips or experiences you may have had in the comments section below.