With its amplified energy, heightened senses and brilliant bursts of creativity, the state of mania can be seductive enough to tempt patients to avoid treatment, a decision of devastating consequences. People with bipolar often avoid treatment for mania, but the elevated feelings of a manic episode can turn into recklessness and destructive behaviors, damaging lives, ruining relationships and compromising personal safety, which underscores the importance of treatment. Successful treatment of bipolar mania may involve mood-stabilizing medication, such as Lithium, as well as other types of drugs, along with therapy, education about the illness, and social support. Research points to people with bipolar mania having an imbalance of important brain chemicals called neurotransmitters-such as abnormally high levels of norepinephrine and serotonin, which help regulate mood and emotion. Lithium, typically the first drug prescribed for bipolar mania, helps balance norepinephrine and serotonin levels. Other common mania mood-stabilizers include anticonvulsant drugs like Depacote, Lamictal, Tegretol or Trileptal. Antipsychotic drugs, like Abilify, Seroquel and Zyprexa, may help balance brain chemicals and reduce reckless, impulsive behaviors associated with mania, while benzodiazepines, like Ativan, Valium or Xanax, may have a calming effect. When sufferers become hostile, psychotic or out of control, hospitalization and Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) may be recommended. ECT is administered under brief anesthesia for approximately 30-90 seconds. Various therapies exist to treat bipolar and each has its own particular strength. Therapy promotes more stable routines and coping skills, helps patients identify symptom triggers and teaches them how to curb destructive behavior. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy helps patients recognize and transform negative thought patterns and behaviors into healthier, more positive ways of coping with, and responding to, stressful situations. Family-Focused Therapy educates family members about the illness and helps identify conflicts and reduce stress and strain within the family dynamic - promoting more supportive home environments. Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy, addresses and improves relationship issues and daily routines, reducing stress and mood cycling. Experts also recommend maintaining a mood diary for tracking daily moods, activities, medications and life events to monitor trigger symptoms and treatment progress. Careful lifestyle management is important. Some ways to keep mania symptoms in check include: maintaining regular meal and sleep schedules, exercising daily, and avoiding alcohol and drugs. If you or someone you know is affected by bipolar disorder, please see a mental health professional.
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012