Mood disorders are one of the most prevalent illnesses worldwide. A person diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder (BAD) may experience episodes of mania and depression. A manic episode is an emotional high, and people can be impulsive, excited and full of energy. During an episode of depression, a person may feel deep sadness, low energy, hopelessness, little interest in activities and suicidal thoughts.
Bipolar affective disorder can significantly impact a person's ability to perform functionally and affects almost all aspects of life. People with BAD should receive treatment using a holistic approach addressing biological, psychological, social and environmental factors. An interprofessional team of healthcare providers such as physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers and occupational therapists helps achieve the best possible outcomes.
A variety of strategies are available to treat BAD successfully. Medical management to stabilize mood is one of the most common treatments. A physician or psychiatrist may prescribe lithium, the gold standard for the treatment of BAD, which effectively reduces mania in greater than 50% of patients. They may also consider electroconvulsive therapy, once considered dangerous but is now a safe and effective treatment for BAD.
Regarding occupational therapy interventions, occupational therapists (OTs) support people living with BAD by educating and coaching strategies to improve performance with activities of daily living such as eating, sleeping, hygiene, and toileting. OTs may help to develop appropriate behavioural skills used in educational, social and work settings. They may help to promote productivity and reduce rates of absenteeism at work. Other OT interventions include cognitive behavioural therapy, psychoeducation and family-focused therapy. Overall, OTs support people in maintaining productive and meaningful activities or occupations.
Reference: Jain A, Mitra P. Bipolar Affective Disorder. StatPearls [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558998/