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Author: AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals

Psychosocial Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

As an addition to medicines, psychosocial treatments, including some types of psychotherapy (or ‘talk’ therapy) may be helpful in providing support, education and guidance to people with bipolar disorder and their families. The number, frequency and type of sessions should be based on the needs of each person. Psychosocial treatments commonly used in the treatment of bipolar disorder include: Cognitive behaviour therapy helps people to learn to change inappropriate or negative thought patterns and behaviours. Psychoeducation involves educating people about the illness and its treatment and how to recognise the signs of relapse (re-occurrence of the illness). Psychoeducation may...

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Living with Schizophrenia

You can help prevent relapses (re-occurrence of the illness) by making a few simple lifestyle changes: The best way to prevent relapses is to take your medicines as recommended by your doctor. It is also important that you keep all your appointments with your doctor. Never just stop your treatment, even if you feel better. If you feel that your medicine is not working, if you start feeling anxious or confused, or if you have problems with side-effects, tell your doctor. He/she may change the dose or change your medicine. Signs of relapse Relapse refers to a return of...

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Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental illness characterized by extreme moods that include mania, or extremely ‘high’ moods, and major depression, or extremely ‘low’ moods. The person’s mood usually swings from overly ‘high’ and irritable, to sad and hopeless and then back again with periods of normal mood in between. Episodes can last days, weeks, months or in some cases, even years. Over the course of bipolar disorder, four different kinds of mood episodes can occur: Symptoms of mania (manic episode) include: Increased energy, activity, restlessness, racing thoughts, and rapid talking Excessive ‘high’ or euphoric...

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Basics of Schizophrenia

schizophrenia is a serious mental illness and patients experience progressive personality changes and a breakdown in their relationships with the outside world. They have disorganized and abnormal thinking, behavior and language and become emotionally unresponsive or withdrawn. People who suffer from schizophrenia may have a very broad range of symptoms which can cause great distress to themselves and their families. These symptoms can take many forms including: ‘Positive symptoms’ (abnormal experiences), such as hallucinations (seeing, hearing, feeling something that isn’t actually there), delusions (false and usually strange beliefs) and paranoia (unrealistic fear) ‘Negative symptoms’ (absence of normal behavior), such...

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Medicine for the Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar disorder usually need to take a combination of several different types of medicines. Atypical antipsychotics Conventional (typical) antipsychotics such as haloperidol, cloropromazine and perphenazine are often used to treat acute mania. However, concerns have been raised about the long-term safety of these medicines. The newer ‘atypical’ antipsychotics such as clozapine, quetiapine, olanzapine and risperidone are effective in the treatment of mania and depression and have fewer side-effects than typical antipsychotics. Atypical antipsychotics may be prescribed in combination with lithium, valproate or carbamezapine for the treatment of acute mania or may be given on their own if patients do not respond to, or cannot tolerate lithium, valproate or carbamezapine. The side-effects of atypical antipsychotics vary between the different medicines and your doctor will choose the one that is most suitable for you. mood stabilizers: Lithium, valproate and carbamezapine Lithium, valproate and carbamezapine are used to improve symptoms during acute manic or depressive, hypomanic and mixed episodes or prevent them from occurring. Lithium has for many years been considered the “gold standard” for the treatment of bipolar disorder. Lithium effectively treats both manic and depressive episodes. It typically takes 1-2 weeks for lithium to work. Common side-effects of lithium include blurred vision, dry mouth, fine hand tremor, frequent urination, nausea and vomiting. Valproate is more effective than lithium in treating rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. Common side-effects include dizziness, drowsiness,...

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