Managing Bipolar Disorder – A Comprehensive Treatment Plan is Most Successful

Bipolar Disorder is a chronic illness that will recur over a person’s lifetime if not treated continuously.  As with any long-term condition, it is vitally important to continue treatment even if the symptoms disappear.

Proper diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder is the first step in seeking treatment for this debilitating disease.  Most people think that “manic-depressive” is the authoritative definition of Bipolar disorder but there are actually three types of the Disorder.

Bipolar I Disorder with intense mania and major depression is the most well-known and severe type. Bipolar II Disorder does not involve mania but repeated cycles of major depression and hypomania. The third type, Cyclothymia involves hypomania and mild depression.  Cyclothymia is characterized by moods swings that are not strong enough to be termed major depression or mania.

Bipolar Disorder treatment is most effective when a complete and comprehensive treatment plan, including complementary therapies, is followed diligently.  Mood stabilizing medications are the underlying foundation in managing Bipolar Disorder.  Correct dosage is extremely important and sometimes difficult to achieve.  Regular visits with your doctor and following the recommended frequency of blood tests will tell if medication levels are within target ranges for effective treatment.

Medical research has shown that Manic Depression treatment with medication is enhanced by therapy.  Because stress reduction is a major factor in healing, people on medications for Bipolar Disorder get better more quickly and experience longer periods of wellness if they receive therapy while on bipolar medication.

Educating family members with family-focused therapy is conducive to maintaining a healthy and caring home atmosphere.

Cognitive behavioral therapy delves into how ones thoughts effect emotional balances and stress reactions to everyday situations, helping to manage relapses by channeling unhealthy behaviors into more constructive thought patterns and responses.

Two other forms of psychotherapy for Bipolar Disorder treatment are Interpersonal and Social Rhythm therapy.  These forms of therapy in combination with bipolar medications help sufferers deal with their reactions to the important people in their lives and learn how to regulate social rhythms such as sleeping, exercise, and eating patterns.

Comprehensive bipolar treatment options also consist of complementary therapies. Complementary therapy is a great alternative if it can be used alone because it is a bipolar treatment without medication. Light and dark therapy focuses on the biological clock and circadian rhythms that often become disrupted and cause excessive mood cycling. Acupuncture is being studied as a remedy for alleviating stress responses and mania. Meditation techniques, yoga, and breathing exercises help with focusing on the present to eliminate harmful thought patterns.

Bipolar support groups, such as, are another very accessible resource for help and information on other strategies to cope with mania or depression. Support groups can be of value whether bipolar drugs are being utilized, or if more natural bipolar treatment methods are desired. If you enjoy online chat groups,, a bipolar chat community, would be a good choice for further information, communication and encouragement.

The importance of a correct diagnosis for bipolar disorder cannot be stressed enough.  There are other conditions that can imitate the symptoms of bipolar. Thyroid disorders, adrenal problems and some neurological disorders mimic bipolar symptoms closely. Also, the use of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications can actually make bipolar symptoms more pronounced.

Do remember there is hope. Get educated.  Keep your condition in perspective. Since Bipolar Disorder is cyclical, you will experience ups and downs. Things will get better if you work for it. Always take responsibility for the decisions you make to keep yourself healthy. Even if all your choices aren’t the best ones, you are responsible for them and the results of those decisions. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. Get support from others to help you improve your condition.  Most importantly, realize that help is available and that you are not in this alone.


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