There are many medications for treating bipolar disorder, so a psychiatrist, who is best qualified to identify which drugs work best for a specific patient, should oversee treatment. A psychiatrist is trained as a medical doctor (MD or DO).
Psychologists and some mental health counselors (Ph.Ds and PsyDs) can provide psychotherapy, or talk therapy, another critical part of treatment. Through therapy, people can develop coping methods that prevent long periods of illness, extended hospital stays, and suicide.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive illness, is a serious, double-edged mental illness. In contrast to the sustained bleakness of major depression (technically called unipolar disorder when episodes only involve major depression and no manic or hypomanic periods), bipolar disorder is characterized by cyclical periods of high energy and elation and then low energy and despair. The pattern of the mood alternations varies widely among those with the disorder. In some people, years of...
WebMD Medical Reference: "Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder)" and "Effects of Untreated Depression."
WebMD Assess Plus: Bipolar Disorder Assessment. National Institute for Mental Health: "Step-BD Women's Studies."Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic & Research Program.
MedicineNet.com: "Bipolar Disorder (Mania)."
American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder."
Joseph Goldberg, MD on October 27, 2014