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Is there any treatment other than ECT that can help in bipolar illness?

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Practicing since : 2000
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In the past I have recieved 27 ECT treatments for my bipolar illness, nothing has worked. I stopped the treatments 5 years ago but am considering startig again. NO medications have helped. Is there ay other tx?
Posted Sat, 14 Apr 2012 in Bipolar Disorder
Answered by Dr. Abhijeet Deshmukh, 4 hours later

Before considering any new options, you might want to review the whole process again. You might need to see if your communication with the prescribing doctor(s) was fruitful and effective. Quite often the lack of an effective communication manifests as ineffective medication.

You may also need to check if you have received all of the recommended class of drugs for Bipolar Disorder. The mainstay of treatment is a Mood Stabilizer. Some anti-depressants and a few anti-psychotics are also used with good effect.

Also make sure you have given sufficient trial period for each of those dosages. Changing medication quickly due to absence of a response can give a false impression that the drug is not working.

However, if you think you have taken care of these things, and still there is no relief from the Bipolar Disorder, you may consider some additional options as follows -

1) Thyroid Hormones - they are known to help with treatment resistant Bipolar Disorder

2) ECT - which you are already considering, and which can prove to be effective when taken as a course of ECT sessions.

3) Psychotherapy - may sound old, but it can help when medicines are not helping. It may not help in all cases of Bipolar Disorder.

4) TMS - Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. This technique is relatively new and is considered and alternative for the ECT in many conditions. You might need to talk with your doctors about this technique for availability issues.

I hope this answer helps you. Please let me know if you need more help. Take care.

Abhijeet Deshmukh, MD

[Disclaimer: This post is intended to be for health related information only. It is not meant to provide online diagnosis or medical advice. This post does not intend to establish a doctor-patient relationship or replace an existing one.]

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