Bipolar Disorder Health (cont.)

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Bipolar Disorder Treatment

There is no cure for BD but, with proper therapy, people with this disease can lead stable and productive lives. Bipolar disorder will not get better without medical treatment.

Self-Care at Home

Self-care without medical treatment is not recommended. Self-care measures are not effective in relieving symptoms or preventing harmful behavior.

Medical Treatment

Treatment of bipolar disorder centers on (1) medications to stabilize mood swings and (2) counseling with a therapist. However, therapy is more successful with strong support from family and loved ones.

Medications don't always work the first time and may need to be changed many times until the right medication or combination of medicines is found.

  • While this change is happening, people with bipolar disorder need to feel that they can count on their friends and family not to give up on them and to bear with them even though their mood swings are causing grief and pain.
  • Periods of stress may throw people with bipolar disorder into one of the extremes of mania or depression, and they need strong support systems to help them deal with the disease.

Those people who are a danger to themselves or others will have their medications started in the hospital and will remain there until they are able to control their emotions enough to function at home.

  • Psychiatric hospitalization protects the safety of the person with bipolar disorder and loved ones.
  • Medical staff can monitor the effects of medications when a person is in the hospital.
  • Medications can be adjusted more quickly in the hospital than over a series of outpatient visits.
  • Group therapy or one-on-one sessions with a psychiatrist also start while in the hospital.

Not all episodes are serious enough to require hospitalization. Many people can be treated as outpatients.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/15/2013

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