Even if your symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe, mood swings and other symptoms can become stable with treatment. Bipolar disorder is a recurrent illness. Long-term treatment is strongly recommended to prevent future episodes. The best plan is one that combines medicine and psychosocial treatment to manage the disorder over time.
Bipolar disorder is best controlled when treatment is continuous. However, even when there are no breaks in treatment, mood changes can occur and should be reported to your doctor right away. Your doctor may be able to prevent a full episode by adjusting to your treatment plan. Work closely with your doctor and talk opening about treatment concerns and options. This can make a difference in how well treatment works.
Keep a chart of daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events. This may help you and your family understand the illness better. This chart also can help your doctor track and treat the illness most effectively.
Treatment will include:
Medications to stabilize moodDiagnosis and treatment of medical conditions that appear to be bipolar disorder, such as abnormal thyroid function or kidney failurePsychotherapyCounseling to provide you and your family with support, education, and guidancePossible electroconvulsive therapy in severe cases
Treatment involves the following:
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Bipolar disorder in adults. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder-tr-15-3679/index.shtml. Updated November 2015. Accessed September 13, 2016.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). American Psychiatric Association; 2013.
Miklowitz DJ, Scott J. Psychosocial treatments for bipolar disorder: cost effectiveness, mediating mechanisms, and future directions.
Bipolar Disord. 2009;11 Suppl 2:110-122.
Price AL, Marzani-Nissen GR. Bipolar disorders: a review.
Am Fam Physician. 2012;85(5):483-493.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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