In addition to medication, you’ll probably benefit from psychotherapy, or talk therapy, for bipolar disorder. Psychotherapy can show you how to change harmful behaviors, communicate better with others, keep to a regular schedule for sleeping and eating, and recognize symptoms of a relapse.
7. Caring for Yourself
Create and stick to a daily schedule of eating healthy meals and getting enough sleep at night. A daily routine helps control bipolar disorder. Also, keep a daily log. Tracking your symptoms and medication side effects, along with the other positive steps you’re taking, can help your doctor make any needed adjustments to keep you healthy.
8. Considering ECT
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be an option if medications aren’t helping you, or when your symptoms are very severe or life threatening. Often called shock therapy, ECT involves putting you to sleep and sending electrical waves through your brain for about a minute. There is a general misunderstanding regarding ECT among the lay community, steeped in misinformation. ECT is a safe and very effective treatment that has been around for decades. ECT can relieve severe bipolar symptoms, but it can also cause temporary confusion and memory loss.
9. Hanging Tough for the Long Haul
For most people, bipolar treatment lasts a lifetime and works best when you start early and stay with it. Studies show that most people get better, but may still have lingering symptoms. About 75% of people will experience a full relapse at some point. Learn as much as you can about your disease and work closely with your care team. Stopping your medication suddenly, or dropping out of your treatment is dangerous and increases your risk for suicide.
10. Working With Your Team
Healthcare providers who will help you with bipolar disorder include your primary care doctor and your psychiatrist, for medical management. Talk therapy and education about your disease may come from psychologists, social workers, and certified counselors. Finally, create a support system of friends and family and find a support group to talk with and share experiences. You are not alone—bipolar disorder affects about 2.3 million Americans.