Even if you have severe bipolar disorder, your mood swings and related symptoms can be stabilized with proper treatment. Because bipolar disorder is a recurrent illness, long-term preventive treatment is strongly recommended and almost always indicated. A strategy that combines medication and psychosocial treatment is optimal for managing this disorder over time.

In most cases, bipolar disorder is much better controlled if treatment is continuous. But even when there are no breaks in treatment, mood changes can occur and should be reported immediately to your doctor. Your doctor may be able to prevent a full-blown episode by making adjustments to your treatment plan. Work closely with your doctor and communicate openly about treatment concerns and options. This can make a difference in treatment effectiveness.

Keep a chart of daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events. This may help you and your family to understand the illness better. This chart also can help your doctor track and treat the illness most effectively.

Treatment will include:

  • Medications to stabilize mood
  • Diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions that can mimic bipolar disorder, such as abnormal thyroid function
  • Psychotherapy
  • Counseling to provide you and your family with support, education, and guidance
  • Possible electroconvulsive therapy in severe cases

Treatment involves the following:

Medications
Other treatments
Lifestyle changes
Alternative and complementary therapies