Bipolar Disorder Treatment Options
Since there is no cure for bipolar disorder, sufferers need the help of a psychiatrist and psychotherapist to get a prescription for medications and enroll in counseling sessions to keep the symptoms under control. Bipolar disorder requires lifelong treatment and even when the disorder seems to be under control, there is still a risk of relapse that results in full-blown mania episodes or severe depression.
If you think you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms of bipolar disorder, set up a consultation with a psychotherapist. An experienced psychotherapist will conduct a thorough mental health evaluation and recommend a treatment plan that will keep the symptoms of bipolar disorder under control.
Medications for Bipolar Disorder
Finding the right medications for treating bipolar disorder can be a trial and error process, especially since some medications can take up to eight weeks to work and will need to be adjusted as the symptoms change.
Some of the commonly prescribed medications for bipolar disorder include:
- Anticonvulsants – mood stabilizing medications that can help to treat mixed episodes
- Antidepressants – can also stabilize the mood, especially for those who experience severe episodes of depression after a manic episode
- Antipsychotics – can help to regulate the mood
- Lithium – helps to prevent the extreme highs and lows that many people with bipolar disorder experience on a regular basis
- Symbyax – can improve symptoms of depression and also stabilizes the mood
- Benzodiazepines – reduces anxiety and also helps to improve sleep
Sufferers who do not notice a significant improvement in their mood or are still experiencing severe highs and lows while taking medication may be good candidates for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). In this treatment, electrical currents are passed through the brain to make significant changes in brain chemistry.
Psychotherapy for Bipolar Disorder
Since every case of bipolar disorder is different, there are several different types of therapy that can help to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder and improve quality of life. Some of the common types of therapy used for bipolar disorder treatment include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy – helps to identify triggers of bipolar episodes and helps the sufferer learn how to manage stress and cope better with daily life
- Family therapy – helps to resolve conflicts and solve problems between family members, and also educates family members about the disorder so that they can respond better to stressful situations
- Counseling or psychoeducation – helps the sufferer and loved ones learn more about the disorder and provides resources for support and treatment
- Group therapy – provides an opportunity for sufferers to interact with others experiencing similar symptoms in a supervised setting. Group therapy can also help the sufferer learn better relationship skills.
Lifestyle Changes for Managing Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
Even if the sufferer is taking medication and undergoing counseling, he or she will need to make some daily lifestyle changes that can prevent the cycles and also improve the quality of life. Some effective lifestyle changes for managing bipolar disorder include:
- Eliminating alcohol use
- Stopping use of illicit drugs
- Only developing positive relationships
- Getting regular exercise
- Improving quality of sleep
Talk to a psychotherapist in your area if you or someone you know needs to be treated for bipolar disorder. A professional psychotherapist can determine the severity of your disorder and create a customized treatment plan that will help the sufferer enjoy a better quality of life.