For decades, bipolar disorder was treated with only medications such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, and antidepressants. Now, it is believed that a combination of psychotherapy and medication can be more effective and beneficial in the long term for individuals with bipolar disorder.
What Are Different Types of Psychotherapy Used To Treat Bipolar Disorder?
Psychotherapy can be more commonly understood as “talk therapy,” in which patients can discuss their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that cause their problems. The following are some of the most common types of therapy available.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the process in which you learn to be mindful of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that may result in inappropriate or negative reactions. This type of therapy, CBT, is very widely used to address bipolar disorder and involves restructuring your thoughts and behaviors to produce better outcomes in one’s own life. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can also incorporate various calming activities, such as yoga and meditation while spending time immersed in nature, and creative pursuits such as art, music, poetry, and dance are encouraged as well. CBT can effectively help people with bipolar disorder with being aware of triggers, a more stable mood, and an increased ability to effectively manage their ups and downs.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a subtype of CBT. Though initially developed to treat people with bipolar disorder who are also chronically suicidal, DBT is also effectively used in treating people with PTSD, chronic depression, drug addiction, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders. DBT stresses four principles: mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.
- Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy is all about improving the regularity of one’s daily routine and addressing irregular sleeping and eating habits. The idea is to decrease social rhythm disruption and improve stress management skills. Patients will also learn skills to prevent or decrease the frequency and severity of a manic or depressive episode.
- Family-Focused Therapy is all about educating family members of people with bipolar disorder about the warning signs of mania and depression. In addition to raising awareness, group communication skills are also enhanced in working with a therapist. This is a proactive approach that can greatly reduce the severity of a manic or depressive episode. By opening communication and improving trust levels amongst family members, everyone can feel united as part of the same team. It can be beneficial to include your family in therapy if you have bipolar disorder, though it is one’s own choice, and some people prefer to cope with their bipolar disorder alone.
How Can A Support Group Help With Bipolar Disorder?
Support groups may also be a good option for individuals with bipolar disorder. In a support group, someone with bipolar disorder can expect to receive encouragement, share concerns, and learn coping skills. The overall effect can be that one will feel significantly less isolated. Should family members and friends get involved, the experience can be educational and improve their understanding, as well as learn how best to support their loved ones living with bipolar disorder. Another option for people living with bipolar disorder is to live with others with the same condition as the community undergoes group psychoeducation.