Much of the treatment of bipolar disorder can be described as “pharmo-centric”. This is hardly surprising given the effectiveness of drug therapy and the almost universal agreement that the disorder arises from an imbalance in brain chemistry. “Talk” based therapies and behavioral therapies have proven their effectiveness in the treatment of bipolar disorders as well, however.
Talk therapy with an Orange County therapist affords you the opportunity to discuss emotions, thoughts and actions that you struggle with if you are bipolar. Understanding of your problems may lead to a greater mastery over the behaviors that lead to your inability to function in society. Simple attention to you and your problems can help you to bolster a positive self-image as well.
Psychiatrists have done us the favor of classifying the types of psychotherapy used to treat bipolar disorder.
As the name implies this therapy centers around reinforcing the behaviors that minimize stresses in your life, often called positive behaviors.
The word cognitive comes from the Latin word for knowing or known. Cognitive therapy puts you in touch with those parts of yourself that control patterns of thinking and moods. Once you know yourself a little better you can start to modify your moods and thoughts in a positive way.
Relationships of all kinds are dealt with by interpersonal therapy. It aims to reduce the strains on relationships that your illness may have caused.
A support group can play a key role in keeping people with bipolar disorder psychologically healthy or helping to restore them to psychological health. Such groups offer you the opportunity to share your feelings and concerns, learn how to cope and receive an encouraging word now and again. A support group may also prove helpful for family and friends who need to cope with your illness every bit as much as you do, at least at times.
Educational initiatives can also help patients and their families come to terms with bipolar disorder. Unrealistic expectations and fears can be put into a proper perspective. With increased understanding patients and their families can begin to access and develop effective coping strategies. Early signs of an impending episode can also be identified and used to prevent the worst aspects of such episodes from occurring.
Further coping strategies can include the following concrete steps:
Avoid alcohol and drug abuse. These intoxicants can provoke manic depressive episodes. They interfere with the way mood stabilizers and other therapeutic medications work.
Identify symptoms. Early warning signs can be elusive to identify. Patients can cooperate with mental health care personnel and those that know them best to come up with a list of behaviors or thought patterns that appear to have preceded episode in the past.
Anticipate and adapt. The realization that someone is bipolar is only ever part of their therapeutic path. Changes in lifestyle that reduce stress or over-stimulation are helpful. You can discuss your fear of future episodes with your therapist and allay some of that fear by preparing for them.
Establish regular routines and sleep patterns. Whether waking or sleeping your chemical balance is easier to maintain if you follow regular and healthful routines.