Bipolar Disorder Health (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Bipolar Disorder Prevention

Nothing is known to prevent bipolar disorder. It is best to avoid drugs that may trigger the disease (such as cocaine or methamphetamine). Adopting a healthy lifestyle with regular sleep and exercise may help.

Relapses can be prevented or made less severe by following the treatment recommendations of your health care professionals. This includes taking medication as directed and attending counseling sessions.

Bipolar Disorder Prognosis

Bipolar disorder is a long-term condition with no actual cure, only ways to control the symptoms.

With treatment, many people are able to lead normal lives. Some (about one in 10) may never have another manic episode.

People with bipolar disorder and their families and friends can learn to pay attention to signs and symptoms of the depression or mania emerging and have their medications adjusted to prevent a relapse of the low or high. Through education and support, they can be able to monitor themselves.

Others battle mood swings for the rest of their lives. With proper medication and regular psychotherapy, however, the disease can be well controlled with few flare-ups.

If untreated, bipolar disorder may lead to risky activities, dysfunction in family and work, and even suicide or homicide.

Support Groups and Counseling

It can be quite helpful to talk to other people who have dealt with or are dealing with manic depression. Family members can also benefit from support groups because they can share tips on coping that have worked for them. The following is a list of resources and support groups:

Befrienders International
To find a local suicide prevention hotline, log on to the web site of this suicide prevention group.

Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation
Phone: 847-256-8525

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
Phone: 800-826-3632

Depression and Related Affective Disorders Association (DRADA)
Phone: 410-955-4647

Mood Challenge Support Group
Phone: 309-671-8000

Mood Disorders Support Group, Inc.
Phone: 212-533-MDSG

National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression
Phone: 800-829-8289

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
Phone: 800-950-NAMI (6264)

American Psychological Association

National Mental Health Association (NMHA)

Medically reviewed by Marina Katz, MD; American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology

Editors: Ronald C Albucher, MD, Assistant Chief, Psychiatry Service, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System; Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan School of Medicine; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Alan D Schmetzer, MD, Professor and Assistant Chair for Education, Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine.


Gibbons, R.D., K. Hur, C.H. Brown, and J.J. Mann. "Relationship Between Antiepileptic Drugs and Suicide Attempts in Patients With Bipolar Disorder." Archives of General Psychiatry 66.12 Dec. 2009: 1354-1360.
Goldstein, B.I., and O.G. Bukstein. "Comorbid Substance Use Disorders Among Youth With Bipolar Disorder: Opportunities for Early Identification and Prevention." The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 71.3 Mar. 2010: 348-358.
"Lithium Plus Valproate Combination Therapy Versus Monotherapy for Relapse Prevention in Bipolar I Disorder (BALANCE): A Randomised Open-Label Trial." The Lancet 375.9712 Jan. 30, 2010: 385-395.
Singh, Manpreet K., Terence A. Ketter, and Kiki D. Chang. "Atypical Antipsychotics for Acute Manic and Mixed Episodes in Children and Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder." Drugs Mar. 1, 2010.
United States. National Institute of Mental Health. "Bipolar Disorder." Apr. 15, 2009. <>.
United States. National Institute of Mental Health. "What Medications Are Used to Treat Bipolar Disorder?" Apr. 15, 2013. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/8/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Bipolar Disorder - Effective Treatments Question: What kinds of treatments have been effective for your bipolar disorder?
Bipolar Disorder - Symptoms Question: What are your bipolar disorders symptoms?