Various therapies have proven helpful for bipolar patients as a supplement to medicinal treatment. Taking part in any of the following can lessen the severity and give the patient more control over symptoms:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Used for various disorders, this therapy aims to change the patient's perceptions and habits. By changing how bipolar patients think about the illness and encouraging positive attitudes, cognitive behavioral therapy can make effective improvements. This therapy also usually involves learning more about bipolar disorder, which helps patients become more confident and knowledgeable about how to treat it.
- Family Therapy: The patient's family participates in this therapy with the patient. By identifying sources of stress and conflicts, the family can learn to better address them and thereby offer the patient a better and more encouraging environment.
- Group Therapy: This therapy offers an opportunity for several people with bipolar disorder to gather in a group led by a psychologist. In the group sessions, the members discuss their experiences with the illness and offer feedback for one another.
- Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy: As the name implies, the purpose of this therapy is to improve relationships and encourage habits of regular routine (such as a sleep schedule). Both of these factors have a large impact on moods. Studies show that this therapy helps prevent relapse of bipolar disorder that might have been brought on by unhealthy relationships and irregular habits [source: Kupfer].
- Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): Though it still carries a stigma, ECT is an effective treatment and is much safer than it used to be. Using ECT, doctors induce seizures in patients, which last up to a minute long [source: MayoClinic]. After repeated treatment, ECT is effective against many mental disorders. It works by altering the behavior of chemicals in the brain. However, scientists don't quite know how or why it works.
In addition to these therapies, it's a good idea to avoid drugs and alcohol, as they can potentially trigger an episode.
As we've seen, just learning more about the disorder might provide comfort and hope. Bipolar patients should realize that they are not alone and that it is a treatable condition. Various kinds of research and advancements in technology that allow for more precise studies of the brain offer promising signs that the disorder will continue to get more manageable. To learn more about related subjects, such as the brain and how it is studied, read the links below.
Other Great Links
- American Psychiatric Association. "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV." American Psychiatric Pub., Inc. 1994. (Feb. 28, 2008) http://books.google.com/books?id=3SQrtpnHb9MC&printsec=frontcover&dq=dsm-iv&source=gbs_summary_r
- BBC. "The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive: Bipolar Stories." British Broadcasting Company. (March 4, 2008) http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/tv_and_radio/secretlife_bipolarstories.shtml
- Bloch, Jon P. "The Everything Health guide to Adult Bipolar Disorder." Adams Media. 2006. (March 6, 2008). http://books.google.com/books?id=mbYD87izKHYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+Everything+Health+Guide+to+Adult+Bipolar+Disorder&ei=IiDQR5X4A5eQiQHD8bCrBQ&sig=o-6WMmJuvu29AxhA5d1dRpQXc8s
- CCI. "What causes bipolar disorder?" Centre for Clinical Interventions. (March 4, 2008) http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/Info-What%20causes%20bipolar%20disorder.pdf
- Cox, Lauren, Support or Stigma? Bipolar in the Workplace." ABC News. March 3, 2008. (March 5, 2008)
- Davies, Martin. "The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Work." Blackwell Publishing. 2000. (March 4, 2008). http://books.google.com/books?id=w5XEVCcF8qkC&pg=PP1&dq=The+Blackwell+Encyclopaedia+of+Social+Work&ei=gc7NR7C8FZmYiwGWudGZBA&sig=jc_NAk7PNM5fM98HVLamMMUbxrM
- Encyclopædia Britannica. "Bipolar disorder ." 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. (March 3, 2008)
- Encyclopedia Britannica. "Kraepelin, Emil." 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
- Frank, Ellen. "Treating Bipolar Disorder." Guilford Press. 2007. (Mar 4, 2008) http://books.google.com/books?id=v8lsjOoHP3oC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Treating+Bipolar+Disorder:+A+Clinician%27s+Guide&ei=cdPNR7_YFJn2iwHOzvGOBA&sig=sWegawyiGNPgENl_FnVkOMzRiU4
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance."Types of Bipolar Disorder." (March 4, 2008) http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_bipolar_types
- Healthline. "Bipolar disorder." (March 5, 2008) http://www.healthline.com/adamcontent/bipolar-disorder
- Helpguide.org. "Understanding Bipolar Disorder." (March 4, 2008) http://www.helpguide.org/mental/bipolar_disorder_symptoms_treatment.htm
- Johnson, Sheri L., Robert L. Leahy. "Psychological Treatment of Bipolar Disorder." Guillford Press. 2003. (March 6, 2008) http://books.google.com/books?id=wvPHQSGaMNgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22untreated+bipolar%22&lr=&source=gbs_summary_r
- Kuo, Irving, MD. "Bipolar Disorder -- How Best to Treat Lactating Women." Viguera AC, Newport J, Ritchie J, et al. Am J Psychiatry. 2007;164:342-345. Medscape Today. (March 5, 2008) http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/556690
- Kupfer, David J. et al. "Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy proven to be effective treatment for bipolar disorder." Medical News Today. Sept. 7, 2005 (March 5, 2008)
- Maj, Mario. "Bipolar Disorder." John Wiley and Sons. 2002. (March 5, 2008) http://books.google.com/books?id=9kKUii2sy4kC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Bipolar+Disorder+maj&source=gbs_summary_r
- Manji, Husseini K., Charles L. Bowden, Robert H. Belmaker. "Bipolar Medications: Mechanisms of Action. American Psychiatric Pub, Inc. 2000. (March 6, 2008) http://books.google.com/books?id=xCmN3g9ht4EC&dq=Bipolar+Medications&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0
- MayoClinic. "Bipolar disorder." MayoClinic.com. (March 3, 2008) http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/bipolar-disorder/DS00356/DSECTION=all&METHOD=print
- MayoClinic. "Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): Treating severe depression and mental illness." July 14, 2006. (Feb. 28, 2008)
- Mental Health Today. "Famous People with Bipolar Disorder." (March 6, 2008) http://www.mental-health-today.com/bp/famous_people.htm
- Mitchell, Steve. "Blood test could reveal bipolar disorder." MSNBC.com. Feb. 25, 2008. (March 6, 2008) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23337532/
- NAMI. "Managing Pregnancy and Bipolar Disorder." National Alliance on Mental Illness. (March 6, 2008) http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=bipolar_disorder&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=17899
- NIMH. "Bipolar Disorder." National Institute of Mental Health. (March 3, 2008)http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/complete-publication.shtml
- Patient Health International. "The Mad Genius: Fact or Fiction." Sept. 27, 2004. (March 6, 2007) http://www.patienthealthinternational.com/features/3118.aspx
- Pscyhlaws. "Briefing Paper."Suicide: One of the Consequences of Failing to Treat Severe Mental Illnesses." Psychlaws.org. (March 5 2008) http://www.psychlaws.org/BriefingPapers/BP6.pdf
- UPMC. "Anticonvulsant Drug Cuts Drinking in Bipolar Alcoholics, Shows University of Pittsburgh Research." Jan. 3, 2005. University of Pittsburgh (March 5, 2008)
- WebMD. "Bipolar Disorder Treatment Overview." WebMD. (March 6 2008) http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/bipolar-disorder-treatment-overview