8. What new treatments/ medications are currently available for this group of patients, and how do the medications work to help patients alleviate symptoms? I read a new study which say that antidepressants may in fact, worsen episodes of mania in this group of patients. See link. What is your take on this?
The main stay of treatment for Bipolar Disorder are mood stabilisers which include medications such as Lithium, Sodium Valproate and Lamotrigine. Antipsychotic medications have been shown to have mood stabilising properties as well and are often used in Bipolar Treatment. Antidepressants can be used in the depressive phase of the Bipolar illness but must be used with caution as they may trigger a manic episode. Many a times, multiple medications may be needed to stabilise the high and low episodes that a Bipolar patient encounters. After the mood has been stabilised and the patient is well, he and his loved ones should be educated about the illness process and prevention strategies. Therapy such as social rhythm therapy, a type of behavioral therapy used to treat the disruption in circadian rhythms that is related to bipolar disorder, is beneficial.
9. What are the chances of a remission with treatment? Possible for patients to lead a normal and fulfilling life?
Although we still do not have a cure, Bipolar Disorder is a very treatable illness. Chances of remission is remarkably high at 80% with treatment and most patients return to where they are in their lives before the mood episodes. Most patients with Bipolar Disorder will require long term treatment and it is important for them to remain on treatment when the illness goes into remission as those who are compliant to their treatment are much less likely to experience a relapse.
10. Can someone having manic episodes manifest aggressive or unusual behaviours that may warrant hospital admission?
Patients can become aggressive and even physically violent during episodes of mania. They may pick fights over small day to day issues with their family members and this can escalate to physical altercations needing police intervention and admission to a hospital to keep the patient safe. Some patients develop grandiose delusions thinking they are important people and may become paranoid that others want to harm them. They can become aggressive and violent towards the perceived perpetrators. There have been instances where patients think they have special power,