By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Treatments for bipolar disorder include medication and psychotherapy or counselling. Using a combination of these approaches may help reduce the dose of medication required to stabilize a patient's mood swings.
Some of the benefits of counselling or "talking therapy" for people with bipolar disorder include:
Guidance in coping with symptoms and identifying extreme mood changes and when to seek help
Advice about how to cope with suicidal thoughts
Education about bipolar disorder and living with the condition
Support for individuals who have the condition as well as for their families
Who provides counselling?
Counselling is typically provided by a psychologist, counsellor or a social worker and is usually prescribed by a patient's doctor. The frequency, duration and number of sessions a patient receives is determined according to their individual needs.
Types of counselling
Some of the methods used in counselling people with bipolar disorder include:
Cognitive behavioural therap is one of the most well known approaches and is used to help patients learn to change any negative thoughts patterns that lead to behaviour that may be harmful to them.
Family-focused therapy helps the family of a patient with bipolar disorder to identify, cope with and solve problems arising from living with the condition, as well as helping to improve communication between family members.
Individuals with bipolar disorder may also be given assistance in improving their interpersonal relationships and regulating their social rhythms. This can help patientsto re-establish themselves in society and maintain regular daily routines and sleep patterns that may help prevent the onset of manic episodes.
Psychoeducation is another approach offered which helps bipolar disorder patients learn about their condition and how to recognize signs of relapse so they can seek treatment prior to the onset of a manic episode. Psychoeducation is also a helpful tool for family members and carers of people with bipolar disorder.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Sep 23, 2013