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Bipolar disorder treatment

Bipolar Disorder, also called manic-depressive disorder, is one of the main mental illnesses described in the DSM-IV-TR. It is characterized by episodes of depression and mania. The first article in this series, Understanding the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, defined these episodes and discussed the different types of bipolar disorder. This article will tell you about some of the treatment options.

Usually, a person with bipolar disorder will need a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Many people go to a doctor for medication and think that it will be enough to deal with the symptoms of the disorder. To truly understand the disorder, therapy is relevant. Medicines can help control, but not cure, the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Most people experience ongoing symptoms, even when taking medication. It is for this reason that I strongly advise that a person attend therapy.

A trained therapist can help you identify behavioral approaches to manage symptoms of depression and mania. A common type of therapy used with bipolar disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of therapy that teaches a person to understand the thinking behind some irrational emotions and behaviors. You can also teach a person to change behaviors to positively affect their thoughts and feelings.

Another important technique for managing Bipolar Disorder is relaxation exercises. A therapist will teach you how to relax to control some of the anxiety and physical discomfort that can accompany the disorder. Breathing exercises, visualizations, and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) are common relaxation exercises that will improve your ability to manage symptoms.

Mindfulness is another way to manage some of the negative emotions you may be experiencing. Mindfulness is a technique that teaches you to recognize and be present with your emotions without overreacting or underreacting to them. It is very useful for those who experience depression or hypomania.

Supportive therapy is also often needed, particularly when the diagnosis is first made. My motto is “smart people have therapists.” It is wise to have an objective and knowledgeable person to talk to as you learn how bipolar disorder affects your life. A therapist can help you process the emotions you are experiencing and come to accept the diagnosis. Support therapy can also help with important things, like establishing a healthy routine to help manage symptoms.

Having a healthy daily routine is very important for both managing and recognizing symptoms. The better you can maintain a daily routine, the easier it will be to notice if an episode of depression or mania begins. Also, a routine will help you stay balanced.

Keeping a daily mood chart is one way to notice if your mood is beginning to change and if there are any triggers or patterns to your mood swings. A therapist can help you identify important things to include in your daily chart. Watching your mood begin to change is one way to help manage your symptoms and avoid being “caught off guard” by an episode.

Diet and exercise can also help treat bipolar disorder. Exercising daily can help decrease the number of depressive episodes you experience. Similarly, a diet low in carbohydrates and high in Omega 3 can help stabilize mood swings. You can talk to a doctor, dietitian, or therapist to learn more about dietary options.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is another fairly common way to treat bipolar disorders that do not respond to medication. ECT involves electrical shocks to the brain performed in an environment controlled by a trained physician.

You are not expected to know how to manage the symptoms of this disorder just because you have been diagnosed with it. Never be afraid or ashamed to ask friends, family, doctors, or therapists for help. People with bipolar disorder can live healthy and productive lives when they receive proper treatment and are taught behavioral skills to manage symptoms.

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