Diagnosis and treatment
Individuals suffering from bipolar disease, previously known as manic-depressive disorder in old literature, present episodes throughout life in which their mood and temper changes drastically, either to a severe depression, or to the opposite side, to what is known as a manic or hypomanic state. In between episodes, the subject shows a normal mood and behavior.
During a manic episode, the subject is highly irritable/short-tempered, or excessively happy, euphoric. He or she presents symptoms such as feeling abnormally energetic, with reduced need for sleep, racing thoughts, short attention span, verbiage (speaking in a rapid, uninterruptible manner), often making poorly thought-out decisions with little regard to the consequences, exhibiting high-risk behaviors (hypersexuality, excessive money spending, drug use…). Most severe cases lose contact with reality, presenting psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions. These episodes are very disruptive, and usually require hospitalization.
Hypomanic episodes are less severe and disruptive than manic episodes, not requiring hospitalization. By definition they don’t present with psychotic symptoms.
Once the person is stabilized, he or she can generally recover and go back to normal life, as long as he or she takes a series of precautions to prevent relapses. Relapse prevention becomes the basic pillar of therapy, because the less number of relapses, the less long-term brain damage.
Besides providing the most appropriate treatment and all medical examinations needed, Dr. Moreno will work on promoting the patient’s self-awareness and insight of the disorder, which is key for early detection of a possible relapse, so together they can address it and avoid bigger consequences.