If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, it’s important to get the help you need. Treatment can include medication, psychotherapy, and other therapies. You may also need to take steps to protect yourself from dangerous mood changes and behaviors.
Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, is one of the most effective types of bipolar disorder treatment. It can teach you to identify triggers that lead to mood shifts, and develop positive habits to prevent and minimize episodes.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that can help you learn to identify and control the negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that cause you to have bipolar symptoms. It can also help you understand how to manage stress and improve your relationships.
Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) is another type of psychotherapy that can help you manage your bipolar symptoms by stabilizing your daily routines, according to the Mayo Clinic. It teaches you to develop healthy ways of communicating and managing your emotions with family members, friends, coworkers, and partners.
Exercise is also a helpful way to reduce your risk of having manic or depressive episodes. It can improve your mood by promoting blood flow and stimulating the nerves in your brain. Aerobic exercise that activates your arm and leg muscles, such as running, walking, dancing, swimming, or drumming, can be especially helpful in balancing your moods.
Medication and other treatments for bipolar disorder vary depending on the severity of your condition. For example, people who are in the midst of an episode of mania may need more intense medications than those with less severe episodes.
Your doctor will do a physical exam, lab tests and psychiatric evaluation to diagnose the disorder and determine the best course of treatment. The doctor might also ask you to keep a journal of your moods and other symptoms.
Medications for bipolar disorder usually come in the form of mood-stabilizing drugs, such as lithium carbonate and valproic acid. They can relieve both depression and mania, but they don’t always stop the episodes entirely. They may only be used for a short time and must be carefully monitored.
Other medications that can be used to treat bipolar disorder are antipsychotics and antidepressants. Your doctor will prescribe the best combination of these medications for you.
The right medication is vital for the long-term success of your bipolar disorder treatment. Your doctor will monitor your progress and adjust your medications based on your health, moods, and other factors.
It is also a good idea to consult your doctor if you are concerned about side effects from any of the medications you are taking. It is also a good idea to discuss your diet and lifestyle with your doctor, as these can affect your bipolar disorder symptoms.
A healthy diet, exercise, and regular sleep are all helpful for managing your bipolar disorder. Avoid foods and drinks that may trigger episodes of mania, such as chocolate or caffeine. Try to eat a balanced diet, and make sure you drink plenty of water.