Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is not an easy diagnosis to live with. And when rapid cycling of the moods is added to it, it can become quite daunting to get it under control. But there is help available in the form of therapy and medication, and many people say it has transformed their lives to where they are able to function normally.


  1. Understanding Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder

    1--When a person has four or more alternating episodes of mania and depression within a 12-month period, this is considered bipolar disorder with rapid cycling.

  2. 2--Mania symptoms to watch for:
    * Mood changes, either happy or irritable and angry.
    * A feeling of extreme energy.
    * Grandiosity.
    * Impulse activities like overspending, risky sex, alcohol abuse.
    * Changes in sleep.

  3. 3--Signs of depression
    * Decrease in activity and energy.
    * Great sadness.
    * Restlessness/irritability.
    * Increased worries and nervousness.
    * Feeling guilty and hopeless
    * Talk about suicide.
    * A change in eating.
    * Problems with sleep.

  4. 4--Living with bipolar rapid cycling is not easy. And while there is no cure for it, there are treatments to make it easier to live with. Therapy and discussing your feelings are important lines of defense. This includes cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, family therapy and psycho-education. When you combine therapy with medication, that usually has a big impact. Be aware that most bipolar sufferers (and especially rapid cyclers) will need to take what's called a "cocktail" of medicines to treat all the symptoms.
  5. There are several medicines used to treat rapid cycling bipolar disorder that have been proven to be helpful.
    For mania symptoms:
    Lithium,divalproex sodiumcarbamazepineOlanzapineRisperidonequetiapineziprasidone HClAripiprazole(haloperidol(an anti-psychotic)

    For depression:Fluoxetine
  6. 6--The downside is that there are side effects to all of these medications. Most do offer sedation, but they also usually bring on weight gain and the risk of diabetes. Weight gain is considered a serious clinical concern not only because it can lead to adult onset diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, but because being overweight is now the leading reason for patients to stop taking their pills.
  7. By Joan Firsteberg  

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