As one of the most common mental health disorders, it is important for nursing staff to have a good understanding of bipolar disorder and how it affects the patient and their health. The most common pharmacological treatment for bipolar disorder is lithium salts, used as a mood stabilizer (Peacock, 2000). However, one of the most common side effects of taking lithium is that it increases appetite and thirst, and thus can cause significant weight gain in some patients. Some patients therefore request medication for their bipolar disorder that is not linked to weight gain, and thus the following PICO question (Chiappelli, 2010) was formatted: P – patients with bipolar disorder worried about weight gain I – other medication used in the treatment of bipolar disorder that are not associated with weight gain C – weight gain using lithium salts for bipolar disorder treatment O – control psychiatric symptoms whilst reducing the likelihood of weight gain The purpose of this investigation is to search the existing literature on bipolar disorder and various medications to see if there are any that can be used to reduce mania, depression and weight gain. Discussion The literature chosen for this topic was found using the databases MEDLINE and OVID, two well-respected databases providing access to detailed and current nursing information. To complete the search, the search terms ‘bipolar disorder AND treatment AND weight gain’ were chosen, because this returned results providing the information necessary to complete the task. The search returned 6642 results, ordered by relevance. The five articles chosen were selected because they each discussed how a type of medication used for the treatment of bipolar disorder (not lithium salt based) affected patient weight and their symptoms of the disorder. As the search results were ordered by relevance, so results at the top were assumed to be the best for the research of weight gain and bipolar disorder, although it would be impossible to brose 6642 results to ascertain whether this was the case. A search using ‘bipolar disorder AND medication AND weight gain’ was also conducted but the results from this search were not used because it returned many more results (over 10,000) and the returned results seemed to be irrelevant or all secondary sources. It seems that it would be extremely possible to complete a dissertation on this topic. The fact that 6642 results were returned from these two databases suggests that there is existing research on the topic that can be used to answer the PICO question in detail. It also suggests that the topic is of interest to those working in clinical situations, and that the weight gain aspect of lithium salts is bothering to many patients. The five articles suggested each describe a different type of treatment and how they can be used for bipolar disorder and how they affect the metabolism and weight changes within the body, and there were many more describing different treatments that may possibly be equally effective in treating bipolar disorder but avoid weight gain issues. The fact that there were so many resources in the literature also means that information can be found easily and used to the advantage of a dissertation. There were issues when conducting the search. There do not seem to be comparisons within the literature between lithium salts and the other types of medication suggested
Research Methods – Feasibility Study Introduction Bipolar disorder refers to a psychiatric disorder in which the patient experiences severe mood swings; moving between extreme highs (mania) and lows (depression). There are often other symptoms associated with psychosis in these patients, such as hallucinations and delusions (Peacock, 2000)…
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