- Do you go through intense moods?
- What is bipolar disorder?
- Who develops bipolar disorder?
- What causes bipolar disorder?
- What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
- Can bipolar disorder coexist with other problems?
- Is bipolar disorder easy to diagnose?
- How is bipolar disorder treated?
- Personal Story
- How can I help someone I know with bipolar disorder?
- How can I help myself if I have bipolar disorder?
- How does bipolar disorder affect friends and family?
- Where do I go for help?
- I know someone who is in crisis. What do I do?
- Contact us to find out more about bipolar disorder.
How is bipolar disorder treated?
Right now, there is no cure for bipolar disorder. But treatment can help control symptoms. Most people can get help for mood changes and behavior problems. Treatment works best when it is ongoing, instead of on and off.
1. Medication. Different types of medication can help. People respond to medications in different ways, so the type of medication depends on the patient. Sometimes a person needs to try different medications to see which are best.
Medications can cause side effects. Patients should always tell their doctor about these problems. Also, patients should not stop taking a medication without a doctor's help. Stopping medication suddenly can be dangerous, and it can make bipolar symptoms worse.
2. Therapy. Different kinds of psychotherapy, or "talk" therapy, can help people with bipolar disorder. Therapy can help them change their behavior and manage their lives. It can also help patients get along better with family and friends. Sometimes therapy includes family members.
3. Other Treatments. Some people do not get better with medication and therapy. These people may try "electroconvulsive therapy," or ECT. This is sometimes called "shock" therapy. ECT provides a quick "shock" that can sometimes correct problems in the brain.
Sometimes people take herbal and natural supplements, such as St. John's wort or omega-3 fatty acids. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplement. Scientists aren't sure how these products affect people with bipolar disorder.
Some people may also need sleep medications during treatment.