Treatment of bipolar affective disorder
Left untreated, many will experience a disease progression that becomes increasingly characterized by depressive phases of increasing length and severity. Fortunately, good treatment results can be achieved if early treatment is initiated.
It is our opinion that antidepressants should be avoided and mood-stabilizing medications used instead. If there have been clear manic phases, lithium would be the first choice, but in cases of hypomanic phases, lamotrigine is often preferable, as this medication has a mild side effect profile. Anti-psychotics may also be used, for example Abilify, Seroquel, Zyprexa or Risperdal.
It is very important to educate the patient about what it means to have bipolar affective disorder, because a variety of interventions can prevent a mild mood fluctuation from becoming a true depression or mania.
Exercise is extremely important for a person with bipolar disorder. Some can do without medication altogether if they engage in a lot of sports. For those unaccustomed to exercise, caution should be shown to begin with in order to avoid injuries, but as a rule it is safe to say that the more frequent and intense the exercise, the better.
With regard to prevention/curing depressive and manic phases, it is a great advantage if meals, working hours, exercise, sleep, housework and social activities can take place within reasonably well-defined boundaries.