Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a serious brain disease that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning. Currently, it is thought that bipolar disorder may be at least partially genetic (see Bipolar Causes).
Bipolar disorder is different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through -- the symptoms of bipolar disorder are more severe. Episodes of mania and depression typically recur throughout the affected person's lifespan. Between episodes, most people with bipolar disorder are free of symptoms (see Bipolar Disorder Symptoms).
Effective bipolar disorder treatment usually involves a combination of psychotherapy (see Bipolar Psychosocial Treatments) and bipolar medications.
Abilify is approved to treat acute episodes of mania or mixed episodes (which involve symptoms of both mania and depression). The medication is also approved for continued use once the acute episode has improved.
Major depression is more than just "feeling sad." Common symptoms of depression include:
- Changes in sleep (sleeping too much or not enough)
- Eating too much or too little (and weight gain or weight loss)
- Having little interest in things that you used to enjoy
- Physical pain
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Suicidal thoughts.
For most people, antidepressants can work wonders for depression treatment. However, some people do not respond adequately to antidepressants, even if different antidepressants are tried. In such situations, medications may be given to boost the effects of the antidepressant. This is known as augmentation.
Abilify is approved for augmentation treatment (along with antidepressants) for the treatment of major depression.