Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood, energy, and activity shifts. These shifts can affect your ability to work and interact with others. Bipolar disorder can be treated with medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes such as sleep hygiene or nutrition. However, treatment is not a one-size-fits-all approach; each person needs an individualized program that addresses their specific symptoms, triggers, and support systems.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder include:
- Self-harmful behavior (such as cutting)
- Suicidal ideation or suicide attempts
People with bipolar disorder may also experience irritability, insomnia, and loss of interest in things that were once pleasurable. Although it’s not always easy to diagnose this condition, if you feel like you have any of these symptoms or think someone might be suffering, then it’s essential to seek help as soon as possible so you can begin treatment immediately.”
What’s Bipolar Treatment Like?
Bipolar disorder is treatable and more manageable with the proper avenues of therapy. Medication is required in some situations, with counseling being the first approach to healing and lifestyle adjustments that may need to be made depending on your specific needs.
With the correct form of treatment, it’s possible to live a normal life. Many individuals with bipolar disorder return to everyday family life, even holding regular full-time jobs after controlling their condition.
This section of our guide will give you the basics of treating bipolar disorder.
Therapy for Bipolar Disorder
Psychotherapy is a type of treatment for bipolar disorder that helps people manage their emotions and responses to stressors. Professionals use various techniques to help you better understand yourself, find the root cause of your symptoms, and make changes in your behavior to help you feel better.
Therapists can be helpful if you have bipolar disorder because they can help explain why you experience episodes of mania or depression. They can also provide tools for managing a mood episode and help you take steps to prevent it altogether. Bipolar treatment centers provide helpful insight and education to clients suffering from this particular disorder.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most studied types of psychotherapy for bipolar disorder. It can help you:
- Understand how your thoughts affect your moods and actions.
- Develop skills to manage intense emotions like anger or anxiety.
- Learn ways to respond effectively when situations are challenging instead of letting them overwhelm you.
- Make decisions based on facts rather than relying on feeling alone
The primary goal is to alter how you respond to stress and emotional situations. Ultimately, treatment will symptoms, thereby improving your overall quality of life. Therapists will also help identify triggers for episodes so that steps can be taken in advance to prevent them from occurring again.
Psychotherapy is usually short-term and focused on immediate problems rather than long-standing issues such as childhood trauma or other issues that may have contributed to the development of the bipolar disorder in adulthood. Psychotherapy may also work in conjunction with medication so that patients can better cope with daily life while taking medicines as prescribed by their doctor.
Group Therapy for Bipolar Disorder
Group therapy can be a good option if you’re new to therapy and want to try it out. You can meet others who are dealing with the same problems as you, learn from their experiences, and see things from their perspectives. Not only does this help with your recovery, but it also helps create a sense of community within the group where everyone is trying to get better.
This helps some clients eliminate the feeling of loneliness or helplessness. Understanding that you’re not the only person going through a similar situation helps many obtain a certain degree of relief, giving them a peer to confide in and someone other than a psychiatrist.
Effective Medications for Bipolar Disorder
Medication can be an essential part of treatment for bipolar disorder. It can help control mood swings and make it easier to manage your life. Types of medications vary, depending on the counselor’s recommendation to your psychiatrist.
Some medications control mood swings, while others treat different symptoms during a depressive or manic episode. These medications help relieve some symptoms of bipolar disorder and prevent future attacks from happening again.
Bipolar medications can be effective at treating Bipolar I Disorder in most cases because they target specific neurotransmitters effectively without causing an overall negative effect.
Antidepressants are commonly used to treat depression associated with bipolar disorder. Some types of antidepressants can cause changes in moods or thoughts when you first start taking them. After about four weeks, this effect tends to go away as your body adjusts to the medication.
Lithium carbonate is often prescribed if you suffer from severe manic episodes that lead to hospitalizations due to dangerous behavior. Lithium is also very effective at treating rapid cycling (four or more distinct episodes per year). Because lithium takes about 1-3 weeks before it starts working fully for, most people who take it regularly every day may need additional treatments during this initial period until all symptoms decrease significantly.
It’s also important to be aware of the dangerous side effects associated with many bipolar medications. These may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Dehydration or low blood pressure can lead to fainting or dizziness
- Weight gain and other metabolic problems
In the case of certain antidepressants, many people experience increasing suicidal thoughts. If this happens, medication must be discontinued until a physician is consulted.
Forms of Alternative Healing for Bipolar Disorder
The treatment of bipolar disorder can be as varied as the people who experience it. Alternative healing is a broad term that refers to treatments that are not considered mainstream psychiatric medicine. Some alternative therapies may be more effective than traditional ones, while others have no proven effectiveness.
Some examples of alternative therapies include:
- Yoga and other forms of exercise (such as walking or swimming)
- Massage therapy and acupressure to release tension in your body by manipulating pressure points with your hands, feet, or elbows
- Acupuncture, where metal needles are inserted into specific locations on your body to relieve pain or stress
There are all sorts of options when it comes to bipolar disorder treatment. The key is finding the correct form of therapy that includes a mixture of all the elements mentioned above, with a critical addition to promote long-term healing.
Many times, bipolar disorder is associated with substance abuse, in which case a facility specializing in dual-diagnosis treatment provides the most effective solution.
Bipolar Treatment Centers and Dual Diagnosis Services
Anyone seeking treatment for bipolar disorder or substance abuse disorder will find more concrete solutions and relief in a facility that provides elements of the methods mentioned above with the addition of dual diagnosis treatment. Let’s examine dual diagnosis treatment and why it’s effective for treating bipolar disorder.
Dual-diagnosis treatment is a therapy that includes the treatment of a mental health disorder in combination with a substance abuse disorder. Any mental health disorder can be present, along with any substance abuse. However, bipolar disorder is one of the more common forms experienced in dual diagnosis situations.
The goal of dual diagnosis treatment is to effectively treat the mental health disorder as the cause of the substance abuse issue. Advocates of this type of treatment believe that every substance abuse issue has some kind of mental health issue as the root cause, and by treating this issue, the client can effectively be treated for their substance abuse issue.
Dual-diagnosis treatment includes a variety of different types of therapy rolled into one and may consist of cognitive-behavioral therapy, as well as various forms of talk therapy. The mental health disorder may stem from a specific situation during childhood or some other trauma during the client’s life.
Clients can effectively begin healing from bipolar issues by uncovering these issues. This leads to more effective treatment of the substance abuse issue. When proper education is relayed, a client gains a better understanding of their challenges and true causes, thus allowing them to deal with them and heal in the most efficient way.
Additional Co-occurring Disorders
Many people hear dual diagnosis treatment and automatically assume it means exclusively a combination of substance abuse disorders. However, co-occurring disorders can include other mental health disorders simultaneously with bipolar issues.
These additional challenges may include:
- Major depressive disorder
- Anxiety disorder
- Eating disorders
- Intimacy disorders
- Other behavioral disorders
This will be uncovered during the assessment, in which case additional forms of therapy or treatment are prescribed.
Additional forms of therapy used during treatment include:
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing Therapy
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy
The specific action taken for bipolar disorder treatment depends heavily on the results of an assessment conducted when entering a bipolar treatment center.
Assessment for Bipolar Disorder Treatment Centers
The most crucial portion of treating bipolar disorder is the assessment. Without the proper evaluation, it becomes impossible to properly treat bipolar issues, any co-occurring disorder, or substance abuse challenges.
During the assessment process, psychologists make the following observations:
- Noting the clients’ mood and behavior during the assessment
- Obtaining copies of the clients’ medical history, past diagnosis, current and past medications taken, and notes from any past physicians
- Asking questions regarding recent mood swings, feelings, behaviors, and thoughts
- Asking questions regarding the client’s family medical history, including whether members are experiencing mental health issues like bipolar disorder or other behavioral disorders.
- Physical exams that identify or rule out any potential physical markers or driving forces behind the bipolar disorder symptoms they’re experiencing
- Ordering lab tests to look for signs of a thyroid problem and check for the presence of any illegal or prescription drugs
- If warranted and granted permission, speaking with family members may also be helpful during the assessment process.
Conducting these assessments allows staff to help each client craft a personalized treatment plan that includes specific forms of therapy, any medications they might benefit from initially, and the recommendation of participation in holistic treatment, which is usually optional.
Icarus Behavioral Health and Bipolar Disorder Treatment
At Icarus Behavioral Health, we manage clients daily who come to us with bipolar disorders, with or without the presence of a substance abuse disorder. The most important part of the plan is obtaining an assessment. This allows us to properly craft your treatment plan, which forms a guide for how to approach the duration of your treatment.
Think of each personalized treatment plan as a roadmap to your successful recovery. Each treatment plan may vary slightly once treatment begins, which also happens with a normal map, right? Sometimes we experience roadblocks while using a map, in which case we have to find an alternative route.
Our staff is trained to notice these roadblocks and experts at finding alternative ways around them to help you heal. Remember, mental health disorders and substance abuse are complicated issues, and there is no one-size-fits-all method for recovery.
However, with the right team behind you and the proper dedication level, recovery isn’t just possible; it’s probable. The final piece to the puzzle is obtaining solid support pillars from family and friends once it’s time to exit treatment.
We assist with this element also, involving your family during group therapy and coaching them on how to provide the best forms of support once you return home.
Long Term Recovery from Bipolar Disorder Is Possible
At Icarus Behavioral Health, we believe in long-term recovery from substance abuse disorder with the proper forms of treatment and the right team by your side. To find out how we can help you experience recovery from bipolar disorder with or without substance abuse disorder, contact a member of our admissions staff today!