Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is a chronic illness that, if managed optimally with medication and psychotherapy, can result in an individual having a life outside of the destructive cycle of mood swings. The course of Bipolar Disorder is progressive, so if treated effectively, the effect is prophylactic, that is preventative of further deterioration. It may be considered analogous to a seizure disorder, each seizure could potentially further injury.

The problems associated with recovery for Bipolar Disorder include the following:

Inability to accurately diagnose Bipolar Disorder in an early stage

Recognizing symptoms of increase activity, rapid mood swings, irritability, grandiosity, hypersexuality, inability to complete tasks, family history of Bipolar Disorder or depression, and not responding to medications, which may result in social isolation or addictive behavior.

Changes to the brain cause Bipolar Disorder

Drugs, such as Lithium, can make for the brain to be more normal. Understanding that this chronic illness can be progressive if not treated early, we must treat it similar to illnesses like diabetes. The process of checking a diabetics glucose levels is similar to the checks of mental health required to treat Bipolar Disorder. Removing the stigma of medication and mental illness is critical.

Inadequate treatment

Over 40% of individuals who are diagnosed are not medicated, another 30% do not take their medications as prescribed, and another 30% are given one medication, which is rarely effective. More than one medication is requisite for symptom remission. A combination of lithium, mood stabilizer, anti-seizure medication, atypical antipsychotics or MAO inhibitors are most useful. The right combination of medications requires trial and error, so a short stay in a program like ours is ideal to efficiently figure out what combination is right for each individual.


Many symptoms are masked and complicated by addiction or co-occurring disorders, such as addiction, street drugs or eating disorders. An individual will be treated for chemical dependency, eating disorder, sexual addiction, or obsessive-compulsive disorder without attention to the underlying Bipolar Disorder.

Psychotherapy and psychoeducation for Bipolar symptoms is inadequate

Bipolar episodes are triggered by stress, grief, trauma, work, death of a loved one or changes in relationship status, such as divorce. Thus, it is critical to involve family members and spouses in the treatment process. Individuals who live with Bipolar Disorder must learn to manage stress and conflicts in order to reduce the likelihood that their issues trigger an episode. Vulnerability to traumatic stress can be addressed to increase resilience and interrupt the cycle of Bipolar Disorder. Family members can become involved in the healing process.

Lack of knowledge of pharmacological differences

Understanding the pharmacological differences of each medication, so there is rational approach. Medications usually associated with treating Bipolar Disorder are Lithium, Depakote, mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) and antiseizure medications.

Mismanaging Depression

Managing the agony of severe depression to make life changes is very important in the recovery process. Depression can result in a lack of energy and contribute to suicidal ideation or self-medication through addictive behaviors.

Absence of Psychoeducation

The individuals who live with Bipolar Disorder and their families benefit from learning the chronic cause of the illness. All family members can become aware of the chronic nature of the illness and unique manifestations that each client may present.

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