Our Therapeutic Focus
Bipolar Depression & Suicidality
Bipolar disorder is an illness that affects approximately 7 million individuals in the USA1. It can cause notable changes in a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly.
People with bipolar disorder experience high and low moods—known as mania (highs) and depression (lows). These common, severe mood changes are different and generally much more pronounced than the mood changes most experience.
Bipolar depression (the depressive low mood phase) is a common symptom of this mental illness, and in about half of these individuals, bipolar depression is associated with suicidal ideation, these are thoughts of ending one’s life.
Bipolar depression can sometimes lead to Acute Suicidal Ideation/Behavior (ASIB). This means they have strong suicidal thoughts, potentially also with a method in mind.
Currently, the only FDA approved treatment for patients with Bipolar Depression, associated with suicidal ideation is Electro-convulsive Therapy (ECT), also known as “electroshock therapy,” a procedure, done under general anesthesia, in which electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure.
While there are well-accepted drug therapies for the manic phase of bipolar disease, there is no approved medication for the treatment of Bipolar Depression when Suicidality is present. In fact, SSRI/SNRI-based antidepressants can increase the risk of suicide and bear an FDA-mandated warning label identifying that risk.
- National Institute of Mental Health, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/bipolar-disorder
- Pompili, M. Gonda, X. Bipolar Disorders 2013; 15: 457-490
- Holma, K. Haukka J. Bipolar Disorders 2014; 16: 652-661
- Pallaskorpi, et al. Bipolar Disorders 2017; 19: 13-22