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Bipolar Disorder Health Center

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Bipolar Disorder - Other Treatment

Almost all people who have bipolar disorder need medicine. But counseling is also important to help you cope with work and relationship struggles related to your illness.

Counseling choices

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of counseling aimed at teaching you how to become healthier by modifying certain thought and behavior patterns. It is based on the theory that thought and behavior can affect a person's symptoms and can slow or prevent recovery.
  • Interpersonal therapy focuses on social and personal relationships and related problems. You and your counselor discuss grief and loss, role disputes in relationships, and relationship transitions.
  • Problem solving is a brief, focused form of cognitive therapy used to treat depression. It focuses on specific problems and how you can solve them.
  • Family therapy is a type of counseling used to help families deal with a stressful situation or a life-changing event. In family therapy, each person can express any concerns and fears about how the problem affects the person who has bipolar disorder and the family as a whole.

No matter which type of counseling you choose, establish a long-term relationship with a counselor you like. The counselor will help you recognize personality changes that show when you are moving into a mood swing. Getting early treatment can reduce the length of the high or low. See some tips for finding a counselor or therapist.

ECT therapy

In some cases, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be an option. In this procedure, brief electrical stimulation to the brain is given through electrodes placed on the head. The stimulation produces a short seizure that is thought to balance brain chemicals.

Alternative therapy

A few studies suggest that adding omega-3 fatty acids to medicine (such as lithium) can help reduce the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder in some people. Omega-3 fatty acids don't seem to have an effect on the manic symptoms of bipolar disorder. And omega-3 fatty acids alone are not a good treatment for bipolar disorder. They are not a replacement for medicine or other therapy used to treat bipolar disorder.6, 7

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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