There is no known way to prevent bipolar disorder. However, there are some ways to prevent mood episodes of depression and mania.
The first and most important preventive measure is to make sure you take your medications as directed by your doctor.
A second important way to prevent lengthy mood episodes is to become aware of your symptoms early so you can take the proper medications and seek treatment as soon as you notice symptoms.
It is always wise to follow a healthy diet and get enough sleep. Daily exercise can also be a key component of maintaining a balanced mood.
Some people have found it helpful to keep their schedules fairly consistent. You may prevent a mood episode by:
Avoiding extensive travel into other time zones.
Making sure you get close to the same number of hours of sleep every night.
Keeping your daily routines similar
(without becoming rigid in doing the same thing every day).
If you plan extensive travel into other time zones, you may want to inform your doctor in advance so you can discuss whether you need treatment before you leave and what to do if you find yourself slipping into a mood episode while you are away.
Home treatment is important in treating bipolar disorder. There are many things you can do to help keep your moods in balance.
Get enough exercise.
Get enough sleep. Keep your room dark and quiet, and try to go to bed at the same time every night.
Eat a healthy, low-calorie diet.
Control the amount of stress in your life.
Even after treatment for bipolar disorder has been started, a person may need help from others. People who are depressed may need assistance with their daily activities. People with mania may need support to control their high energy levels. Family members often feel helpless when someone they care about is either depressed or manic. However, family members and friends can do a lot to aid the person with bipolar disorder.
There has been a recent focus on the effectiveness of medication treatment for bipolar disorder. Antidepressants are no longer the primary medications used to treat depressive episodes, since they often lead to manic episodes. Mood stabilizers (such as lithium carbonate) combined with an antipsychotic medication (such as olanzapine) or an anticonvulsant medication (such as valproate) have been shown to be more effective medications for treating bipolar disorder. Discuss the medication options with your doctor to find the medication combination that is right for you.
There are several medication therapies used to treat bipolar disorder. It may take several attempts at using different medications to find the treatment that works best for you. The most common medications used to treat bipolar disorder are:
Mood stabilizers, the most common of which is lithium carbonate.
If you are prescribed lithium carbonate, it is important that the amount of lithium in your blood be monitored. Too much lithium in your bloodstream may lead to serious high lithium carbonate side effects.
What to Think About
When you and your doctor decide what types of medications are needed to treat your bipolar disorder, consider:
The side effects of each medication and how well you can tolerate the side effects.
How often you will need to take the medications.
Whether you have other illnesses or disorders for which you are being treated, and how those medications will interact with medications for bipolar disorder.
Whether you have used any of the medications previously, and whether they worked for you.