How We Can Help
Bipolar Disorder Treatment Information
IU Health Behavioral Health physicians and counselors use a multidisciplinary approach that combines therapies, medicine and coping skills to help you live with bipolar disorder.
- Antidepressants. These medicines help you think more clearly and can assist in achieving significant recovery from depression and anxiety disorders, which co-exist with bipolar disorder. Antidepressants are most often used in severe depression. These prescription-only drugs should only be taken under your doctor’s supervision. Your physician will discuss with you which kinds of medicines may work best for you.
- Mood stabilizers. These medicines help you reduce mood swings between mania and depression by balancing brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
- Psychotherapy. Pills do not teach skills. While medications enable you to focus on taking action, therapy sessions can teach you the tools to use if a situation arises again.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. This is the treatment of choice for bipolar disorder. You actively work with your therapist to examine the relationships among your thoughts, feelings and behaviors and what leads to self-destructive actions. You learn how you can modify your thinking patterns to improve coping by using checklists and questionnaires that identify your symptoms and their duration. Coping techniques you may learn include self-calming and how to develop a balanced diet and exercise routine. To better manage, you learn how to use a mood log to keep track of your symptoms on a daily basis and to monitor changes in your mood and patterns of sleep. This can reveal when a relapse may be likely to occur.
- Group therapy. The Living with Bipolar Disorder group is a six-week session that meets three times a year. It is only for those diagnosed with bipolar disorder, to help you understand more about what bipolar disorder is and to teach coping skills. You benefit from meeting others with the same condition who understand what the roller coaster of being bipolar is like. You learn how to build your own support system and how to engage the help of others. A Bipolar Support Group meets one or two times a month for those who complete the six-week program. This provides a place for you and others to talk about problems and additional coping skills. You and other members share your own successful strategies.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If you find that other treatments for your depression are not successful, ECT may offer some relief. In this procedure, electric currents are passed through your brain in a controlled setting while you are under general anesthesia. This triggers a seizure, which causes changes in your brain chemistry and can reverse your depression symptoms. You may be able to decrease or eliminate your depression medications after treatment.
Bipolar Disorder Locations & Physicians
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Bipolar Disorder Support Services
Learn more about bipolar disorder treatments at these websites:
A Sampling of Bipolar Disorder Support Services
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
A national peer-directed group focused on well being and empowering services and resources for those living with mood disorders.
National Institute of Mental Health
A scientific organization dedicated to the research and understanding of bipolar disorder and all mental illness.
National Alliance on Mental Illness
This is a large, national, grassroots mental health organization. Its website offers extensive information about treatments, support and research for bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.
An internationally-known website about mood and anxiety conditions written by Oregon board-certified psychiatrist and bipolar expert Dr. James Phelps.