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Preventing Bipolar Disorder

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How is bipolar disorder treated?

Bipolar disorder is treated with medications to stabilize mood. If the mood stabilizers do not fully manage the symptoms, other medications may be added to help calm the mania or ease the depression.

Along with mood stabilizers, psychotherapy is recommended to help the patient develop appropriate and workable coping strategies to deal with everyday stressors and to increase medication compliance.

Can behavioral counseling help those with bipolar disorder?

Different types of talk therapy options are available to help those with bipolar disorder prevent or cope with a mood episode:

  • Individual Counseling: This is a one-on-one session with a professional therapist with experience in bipolar disorders in which the patient's problem areas are addressed. The session may include help accepting the diagnosis, education about bipolar moods, ways to identify warning signs, and intervention strategies to manage stress.
  • Family Counseling: Bipolar disorder extends beyond the patient and can affect the entire family. Families are frequently involved in outpatient therapy as they receive education about bipolar disorder and work with the therapist and patient to learn how to recognize early warnings of an impending manic or depressive episode.
  • Group Counseling: Group sessions allow for the sharing of feelings and the development of effective coping strategies. The give-and-take at group sessions can be the most productive way to change the way you think about bipolar disorder and improve coping skills as you face life's challenges.

Can bipolar disorder be cured?

There is no cure for bipolar disorder, but through behavior therapy and the right combination of mood stabilizers and other bipolar medicines, most people with bipolar disorder can live normal, productive lives. That said, bipolar disorder is a lifelong mental illness that has a great risk of recurrent episodes. Being compliant to taking prescribed medications and keeping doctor appointments is crucial to self-managing bipolar disorder and preventing serious episodes.

In addition, there are support groups available for patients and their family members to help them talk openly and learn how to support someone with bipolar disorder. Ongoing encouragement and support are needed after a person starts treatment. In fact, there are findings showing that the availability of social support systems increases the chances of employment in patients with bipolar disorder compared with those patients without support.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on February 11, 2014
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