The old saying “A stitch in time saves nine” is still applicable in our lives, especially when it comes to the way we handle mental illnesses. Timely or early intervention in treating people with bipolar disorder (BPD) is gradually being recognized across the United States. This, in fact, is a proven way of preventing the potentially adverse outcomes of the disorder, as experts believe patients respond more effectively to treatment in early stage than during later phase of the condition.
Moreover, the best part of the whole thing is that early intervention strategies consist of less aggressive therapies. According to Eduardo Vieta, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Barcelona, Spain, most mental health disorders, including BPD, are late manifestations of brain disorder. “What we see at the time of diagnosis that is actually brought to us by the patient or a relative or family member may sometimes be late in the disease process,” Vieta said.
According to Vieta and his team, BPD is a “multifactorial disease that is influenced by environmental factors, some of which might be used as targets of early intervention strategies since they can be potentially modified.” The team identified the following risk factors for the disease:
- Environmental risk: Several events — sexual abuse, trauma or any negative experience — in an individual’s life could make him or her vulnerable to a mood-related disorder.
- Biological risk: Family history of BPD is a major cause of worry, and is a clear indication that the individual is in need of early medical intervention.
- Prodromal symptoms: Early symptoms of BPD include childhood anxiety disorder, depression, and sleeping problems, which raises the need to treat individuals manifesting these symptoms at the earliest.
- Dimensional factors: These factors include anxiety and depression symptoms, hyper alertness, fluctuating energy levels and moods, irregular sleep patterns, and fearfulness during one’s schooling years.
However, while treating BPD, Vieta insists on dealing with patients and their family members in a non-stigmatizing way. He emphasizes on avoiding phrases such as “This is bipolar disorder,” or “It’s going to become bipolar disorder.” Instead, he encourages people to speak about the possibility of developing such a condition if they ignore the symptoms. In many cases, early intervention could mean secondary rather than primary preventive care, as the patient might have already suffered an initial episode in the past. However, the best part of early intervention is the potential to prevent future episodes.
Early treatment strategies
- Engaging in physical activities and exercise, which is beneficial to the heart and regulates blood pressure.
- Avoiding hectic lifestyles such as working late hours or drinking in late night parties.
- Avoiding substance use, especially in the case of high-risk groups, where drug use can induce psychosis or aggravate an existing condition.
- Seeking family-focused therapies, which include psychoeducation and problem-solving skills.
Bipolar disorders are treatable
Bipolar disorder is a form of manic depression, causing unexpected mood swings, fluctuations in energy levels, and lack of interest in daily activities. Such manifestations could eventually end up as lifelong mental conditions, making matters complicated for patients struggling with the illness. However, with proper treatment, patients can learn to manage their mood swings and symptoms by adhering to a specific treatment plan. In most of the cases, individuals with bipolar disorder are treated with appropriate medications and professional counselling.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans (about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population aged 18 and older) every year. However, preventive screening for symptoms of bipolar, and early intervention strategies can ensure the much needed relief to patients and prevent their mental health from further deterioration.
If you or your loved one is struggling with bipolar disorder, contact Sovereign Health of California that provides evidence-based treatment for the mental condition. Specialists at our world-class bipolar disorder treatment centers in California are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe customized treatment as well as group psychotherapy based on a patient’s requirements. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our representative for more information on our treatment for bipolar disorder.