Managing Bipolar Disorder

(ARA) – With the beginning of each year, millions of Americans commit to New Year’s resolutions. This year, if you are living with bipolar disorder, don’t forget to place managing the condition at the top of your list of resolutions. It’s a great time to develop a new attitude focused on working to successfully manage the condition.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a brain disorder that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and behavior. It is characterized by episodes of “highs” called bipolar mania and “lows” called bipolar depression. People with bipolar disorder spend approximately 70 percent of their time in a depressive episode when symptomatic. Bipolar disorder can be disruptive and may interfere with a person’s ability to handle everyday tasks, such as going to work or participating in family life.

“I tell my patients that a New Year’s resolution is a great opportunity to develop and implement a healthy management plan that includes mental health goals,” said Dr C. Brendan Montano, director of neuroscience research, Connecticut Clinical Trials. “I encourage patients to take a fresh look at how they currently manage the condition and consider discussing with their physician in the New Year.”

As you look at your 2012 New Year’s resolutions, think about the following tips as ways to help manage bipolar disorder.

  • Take action – Work with your doctor to discuss a treatment plan, which may include medication.
  • Set goals – Setting goals helps give you something specific to work toward. Think about where you want to be in a month and work toward that goal. It could be something as simple as attending one support group a week.
  • Stay on track – Staying on track with your medication, doctor appointments and any support group meetings can be important components to managing bipolar disorder.
  • Be open and honest – When talking to your doctor, be open and honest about your symptoms and concerns. Your doctor depends on you to let him or her know exactly how you are feeling and about any changes you may have experienced since your last visit. Your doctor might want to change or add medications to your treatment plan. One treatment option, which is approved to treat both the manic highs and depressive lows, is SEROQUEL XR┬« (quetiapine fumarate) extended-release tablets.
  • Talk to others – Talking to other qualified health professionals may be a good way to share your successes and also learn about ways to help manage bipolar disorder.
  • Seek support – Hearing from other people with bipolar disorder can provide you with a fresh perspective and perhaps additional ways to help manage bipolar disorder. Seek out local mental health support groups that you can join.

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