Rapid Cycling

Source: bipolarsymptoms.com

What is Rapid Cycling?

Rapid Cycling Disorder can be defined as a type of frequent pattern or different episodes in bipolar disorder. In this type of bipolar disorder, an individual faces around four or more episodes of depression and mania. Such episodes occur all in the same year and can be severe at times.

In the course of time, it can occur at any stage of human life and can continue for years. Further, the patient will not know that he/she is suffering from Rapid Cycling which is a major drawback of this disorder. However, Rapid Cycling is not a permanent or an infinite continuation of episodes.

How can you Identify Rapid Cycling Disorder?

Source: sunrisehouse.com

Normally, the Bipolar Disorder is treated after some experiences of manic or hypomanic episodes. But, in case of the Rapid Cycling, the diagnosis process is a lot more different. In Rapid Cycling, it is not a diagnosis but is a “course specifier” or can describe the course of an illness.

Usually, Rapid Cycling is recognized when there is the occurrence of four or more episodes during one year period. In most of the cases, the identification of the Rapid Cycling Disorder can be difficult to identify because a single mood can simply wax without knowing. With this, Rapid Cycling doesn’t depict multiple episodes. In Rapid Cycling, the mood shifting occurs on a constant basis. Further, patients feel far more depressed and are often treated with unipolar depression.

Hence, for a clear identification of the Rapid Cycling disorder, doctors must have the desired knowledge and the best treatment tools.

  • Rapid Cycling Disorder Treatment

Mostly in the Rapid Cycling Disorder, symptoms of depression are the most common and then dominate in plenty of the cases. Hence, the treatment of the Rapid Cycling is towards stabilizing moods for relieving depression and preventing the occurrence of latest episodes.

  • Prevent the use of Antidepressants

Normally, the Antideprassants like Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac have not been effective to treat depressions in Rapid Cycling Disorder. In addition, it may even increase the frequency of episodes over the course of time. Therefore, many experts all over the world are against the use of Antidepressants to treat rapid cycling.

Use of Mood Stabilizing Drugs:

At present there are a number of mood stabilizing drugs which are available in the market. Out of those, the effective ones such as Lithium, Tegretol, Depakote and Lamictal are the best ones for treating rapid cycling. Here also, a single mood stabilizer will be inefficient for treating rapid cycling and a combination of those will be needed.

On the other hand, there are different antipsychotic medicines such as Serequel, Zyprexa which are used for treating rapid cycling. Usually, treatments with mood stabilizers are often continued if the person is symptom-free. With this, it will happen the future occurrence of episodes and will surely bring depression under control.

One major form of medication, Symbyax is made up of fluoxetine (Prozac) and Olanzapine (Zyprexa) . This great combination is the best which can improve depression condition and can destabilize the mood to great extents.

Some forms of treatments which are useful for treating Rapid Cycling:

  • Anticonvulsants such as Valproic Acid (Depakote) and Carbamazepine (Tegretol)

  • Antipsychotics are the newer generation antipsychotics such as Quetiapine (Serequel) and Aripiprazole (Abilify)

  • Lithium

Rapid Cycling Disorder Symptoms and Side Effects:

At present, the DSM-IV-TR does the identification of only one type of the rapid cycling disorder. Here, the occurrence of short cycles occur and can be severe at times. In case, if the Ultra-rapid cycling occurs, it denotes that the episodes will last for days. And, in the ultradian one, episodes can last on a per  day basis.

Generally, the Rapid Cycling Disorder is much more difficult to detect than the normal ones in different patients. The patients who are dealing with shorter hypomanic cycles, they can see it as a “good mood” rather than an actual one. Since, these patients spend more time with depression, they are often diagnosed in the wrong way. \

Major Symptoms of Rapid Cycling Are:

  • Changes in the Energy levels

  • Constant change in the Mood Levels

  • Severe occurrence of Anger and bad mood

  • Impulsivity condition rising to great extents

  • Person getting irritated due to small things.

                                                                                                                                 Source: lifeconquering.org

FAQs on Rapid Cycling Disorder:

1. What is Rapid Cycling?

In Rapid Cycling Disorder, there is the occurrence of four or more episodes in one year itself. On the basis of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV these episodes can occur in any random order. However, the episodes of mixed, hypomanic and mania episodes can range from severe to ill-state depending on the severity levels.

2. What is the prevalent level of Rapid Cycling?

In reality, the Rapid Cycling occurs to 10% to 20% of the individuals who are suffering from bipolar disorder. Although, according to the gender ratio, it is much more equal where both of them makes up the cycling pattern. Here, the mood episodes doesn’t have any link to the different phases of menstrual cycle and can happen in pre-menstrual as well as post-menopausal cycle.

3. Who is at risk for developing the Rapid Cycling Disorder?

Normally, if you have a family member who is suffering from rapid cycling disorder, there is high chance that you will develop it too.

4. What are the Symptoms of Rapid Cycling Disorder?

  • Sad Mood

  • Loss of Self-Esteem

  • Slower rate of Thinking and tendency to forget

  • Loss in the Interest of Work

  • Social Isolation

  • Change in the appetite i.e. eating too much or too less

  • Decrement in the overall sexual drive

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Insomnia thoughts

5. What you will need to tell your doctor?

  • Note down the symptoms which you have had

  • Write down the important personal information

  • Note down the list of all the medications which you will take

  • Take your loved ones with you

Now, discuss every issue of yours with your doctor and describe the impact they are bringing to your life. After analyzing all the symptoms, your doctor will treat you with a suitable therapy. Here also, make sure that you discuss all the available treatments with your doctor and think before taking any decision.

6. What are the things I need to get well from Rapid Cycling?

  • Prepare yourself well for different episodes by studying about Rapid Cycling

  • Discuss the different difficulties with your peer groups who will motivate you to some extent

  • Sleep time to time and rest yourself at adequate intervals

  • Use different relaxation techniques, spiritual materials and affirmations

  • Don’t ever pressurize yourself and stay away from unrealistic expectations

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