Introducing Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. One percent (1%) of Canadians aged 15 years and over reported symptoms that met the criteria for a bipolar disorder in the previous 12 months. About 1 in 50 adults aged 25-44 years or 45-64 years reported symptoms consistent with bipolar disorder at some point in their lifetime.
Bipolar disorder typically develops in late adolescence or early adulthood. However, some people have their first symptoms during childhood, and some develop them late in life. It is often not recognized as an illness, and people may suffer for years before it is properly diagnosed and treated.
Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person’s life. As bipolar disorder is associated with pathologies within the reward system, repeated activation of prefrontal regions and the deeper reward-related network innervated by the prefrontal cortex by Deep TMS, may allow effective treatment of this chronic disease.
Conventional treatments include various combinations of antidepressants and mood-stabilizers such as lithium. However, there is no consensus and very limited clinical data regarding both the effectiveness of these treatments and the possibility that antidepressant medication might exacerbate the intensity and frequency of manic episodes in bipolar patients. Treatment with conventional antidepressant medication may trigger a manic attack or accelerate the bipolar cycle1.
ECT is administered as a treatment in cases of treatment-resistant manic or depressive episodes, or in cases where medication produces severe side effects.
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
BrainsWay’s treatment offers an effective, safe and non-invasive treatment that uses Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for treating bipolar disorder. The treatment performs magnetic stimulation of brain structures and networks related to bipolar disorder, and brings significant improvement to patients.
It is an outpatient procedure and does not require hospitalization or anesthesia, is generally well tolerated and entails minimal systemic side effects.
The final report of a previous clinical trial conducted by BrainsWay states that the treatment was well-tolerated by all subjects, and a clinical response was achieved in 70% of the subjects (of whom a vast majority displayed significant improvement) as compared with previous treatment with anti-depressants that were given to the subjects.