Bipolar Disorder Treatment
In addition to drug treatment for bipolar disorder, psychosocial treatments -- including certain forms of psychotherapy (or "talk" therapy) -- are helpful in providing support, education, and guidance to people with bipolar disorder and their families. Studies have shown that psychosocial interventions can lead to increased mood stability, fewer hospitalizations, and improved functioning in several areas. A licensed psychologist, social worker, or counselor typically provides these therapies, and often works together with the psychiatrist to monitor a person's progress. The number, frequency, and type of sessions should be based on the individual needs of each person.
(Click Bipolar Psychosocial Treatments for more information.)
Some people take herbal supplements for bipolar disorder, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any supplement for this condition. In severe cases, another treatment for bipolar disorder is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Herbal or natural supplements, such as St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), have not been well studied, and little is known about their effects on bipolar disorder. Before trying herbal or natural supplements, it is important to discuss them with your doctor. There is evidence that St. John's wort can reduce the effectiveness of certain medications. In addition, like prescription antidepressants, St. John's wort may cause a switch into mania in some individuals with bipolar disorder, especially if no mood stabilizer is being taken.
In situations where medication, psychosocial treatment, or the combination of these interventions proves ineffective or works too slowly to relieve severe symptoms, such as psychosis or suicidality, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be considered as bipolar disorder treatment.