Treatment for bipolar

There is a lot that can be done to treat and manage bipolar disorder.

'Netting Stars' Sarah K Reece

Medication is the primary treatment to reduce symptoms of bipolar episodes and prevent relapse. However, treatment for bipolar can include psychological treatment in addition to bipolar medication. Many people use helpful bipolar management strategies in addition to their treatment for bipolar. These include dealing with bipolar triggers, responding to early bipolar symptoms or warning signs and making lifestyle adjustments. Good support from caregivers and clinicians can also make a difference. Managing their bipolar disorder and engaging in life helps many people to live well.

Medical Treatment

Taking ongoing bipolar medication (even when the person is well) can prevent relapse, reduce hospitalizations and suicide risk. However, it can take time to find the right medication or combination of bipolar medications that are effective and have minimal side effects.

Psychological treatment

A person can learn more about their illness, treatment of bipolar disorder and positive ways to manage it from psychological treatments. For some people, certain psychological treatments used in conjunction with their usual medication for bipolar may be more helpful in reducing relapse than medication alone.

Reducing bipolar triggers and making lifestyle adjustments

Triggers’ are stressors that can spark off relapse or make symptoms worse. Experiencing a stressor or bipolar trigger does not automatically result in relapse. Recognizing a bipolar trigger provides the opportunity for the person to either reduce the stressor or find helpful ways to cope with it.

To keep well the person may also need to make some adjustments to their lifestyle and goals. The extent of this adjustment can differ from person to person. It can take time for the person to make these changes and work out how to live well with the illness.

Dealing with bipolar warning signs

Responding to warning signs of bipolar can also help a person to manage their bipolar disorder. Warning signs are changes in the way the person behaves, thinks or feels that are much milder than actual symptoms and indicate that they may be developing a bipolar episode. Many people get these bipolar signs. If the person catches these warning signs early they may be able to prevent relapse or at least reduce the severity of a bipolar episode.

Developing a good support system

Many people with bipolar disorder recommend developing a good bipolar support system.

Living well with bipolar disorder and ‘recovery’

While illness management is pivitol to dealing with bipolar disorder, people may also need to find ways to rebuild and enjoy their life. This process has been referred to as ‘recovery’.

“It is good to know that there is help for bipolar”