Bipolar Disorder Home > Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Most people with bipolar disorder -- even those with the most severe forms -- can achieve substantial stabilization of their mood swings and related symptoms with proper treatment. Because this is a recurrent illness, a long-term preventive treatment for this condition is strongly recommended. A strategy that combines medication and psychosocial treatment is optimal for treating bipolar disorder over time.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment: An Overview

In most cases, treatment for bipolar disorder is much better controlled if it is continuous rather than if it is on and off. But even when there are no breaks in treatment, mood changes can occur and should be reported immediately to your doctor. He or she may be able to prevent a full-blown episode by making adjustments to the treatment plan. Working closely with the doctor and communicating openly about concerns and options can make a difference in how effective treatment is.
 
Keeping a chart of daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events may help people with bipolar disorder and their families better understand the illness. This chart also can help the doctor track and treat the illness most effectively.
 
Changes to the treatment plan may be needed at various times during the course of the condition to best manage bipolar disorder. A psychiatrist should guide any changes in the type or dose of medication.
 

Options for the Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Effective bipolar disorder treatment involves a combination of:
 
  • Medications
  • Psychosocial treatments.
     
Bipolar Medications
Medications known as "mood stabilizers" are usually prescribed to help control bipolar disorder. Several different types of mood stabilizers are available. In general, people with bipolar disorder continue treatment with mood stabilizers for extended periods of time -- even years. Other medications are added when necessary, typically for shorter periods, to treat episodes of mania or depression that break through despite the mood stabilizer.
 
(Click Bipolar Medications for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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