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Bipolar disorder treatment

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Medications are the first line of treatment for patients with bipolar disorder; however they have the negative consequences of side effects along with high levels of non-adherence, which causes the patient to relapse over and over again. Antidepressants have also been found to lead to affective switch to (hypo)mania in bipolar patients, giving rise to strong clinical concerns regarding their use. Although psychotherapy is the recommended adjunct treatment to medications, many bipolar disorder patients do not respond well to this form of treatment. Moreover, novel approaches of treatment are needed, bringing RTMS to the forefront.

RTMS is effective in reducing the depressive symptoms of patients with bipolar disorder. Also, the risk of affective switching in RTMS compared to antidepressants is quite low. But for precaution’s sake, it is recommended that bipolar patients are prescribed mood stabilizers when undergoing RTMS treatment in order to reduce their risk of induced mania. The side effects reported in bipolar disorder patients of RTMS include headache, sleep problems, and dizziness. They are often mild and subside throughout the treatment procedure.

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How effective is RTMS for Bipolar Disorder?

RTMS is effective in reducing symptoms of depression and improving cognition in bipolar disorder patients.

How does RTMS for Bipolar Disorder work?

An electromagnetic coil is placed on the patient’s scalp targeting the brain region involved in regulating mood and depression. Magnetic pulses are repetitively passed through the brain through the coil which results in long-lasting changes in the brain, that helps improve symptoms of depression in bipolar disorder. 

Is RTMS a safe treatment for Bipolar Disorder?

There is the potential of side effects and the risk of induced mania on receiving RTMS treatment. However, the side effects, if present, are mild and temporary, such as headache, sleep problems, scalp pain, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and anxiety. The risk of mania switching in RTMS is low, and to combat it, it is recommended that the patient is prescribed a mood stabilizer in conjunction. 

How many numbers of sessions are required? 

The number of treatment sessions required depends on the patient’s condition and their response to the treatment. 

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