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Author: Dr Simon SurguladzeConsultant Psychiatrist

Therapy is considered by many to be essential for effectively dealing with Bipolar disorder and the problems it has caused in your life. Working with a therapist, you can learn how to cope with difficult or uncomfortable feelings, manage stress, repair your relationships and regulate your mood.
Dr Surguladze MD

The benefits of combining therapy and medication

A seminal study by British psychologists found that the time between Bipolar relapses was extended for those patients who had Cognitive Therapy combined with medication and the duration of the Bipolar episodes was reduced4 compared to those who took medication alone.

Talking therapies and psychology can deliver the following benefits to those with Bipolar disorders:

  1. Helps reduce feelings of depression
  2. Provides psycho-education on Bipolar
  3. Increases medication compliance
  4. Improves quality of life
  5. Safe space to talk about the impact of Bipolar on one’s life

4 Lam, D., Hayward, P. et al (2005)

‘Booster’ sessions of therapy may be needed to maintain the progress made

Support Groups

Living with Bipolar disorder can be challenging and having a solid support system in place can make all the difference in your outlook and motivation. The support of friends and family is also invaluable. You might want to consider having some couples or family therapy to help ensure that your support network is as well informed as you are.

It’s common for people with Bipolar disorder to suffer with relationship breakdowns or divorce; the symptoms are often difficult to live with. We can help.

Participating in a Bipolar support group gives you the opportunity to share your experiences and learn from others who know exactly what you're going through.


Lifestyle management

By carefully regulating your lifestyle, you can keep Bipolar symptoms and mood episodes to a minimum. This involves strategies to maintain a regular sleep schedule, avoiding alcohol and drugs, following a consistent exercise program, and reducing any stress in your life. An experienced psychologist or your psychiatrist will help.

I did not really understand what sort of help I was looking for until I started receiving it. The therapist helped me explain my own difficulties to myself so I could better understand them and thus was able to deal with them in healthier ways.

Sarah, Newcastle

Substance abuse and behavioural issues

Many individuals who suffer from Bipolar disorder also have problems with alcohol and drug usage; these substances may be used as a way of ‘managing’ some of the emotional difficulties that characterise Bipolar.

Unfortunately, drug and alcohol abuse can make it much harder to manage Bipolar disorder and can impact on how any prescribed medication works. You may want to work with a psychologist or psychotherapist to find ways of managing your use of alcohol and drugs, understanding the reasons and implications of such usage and finding alternatives.

Managing the symptoms of Bipolar and preventing future complications begins with a thorough knowledge of Bipolar disorder. The more you and your loved ones know about Bipolar disorder, the better able you'll be to avoid problems and deal with issues.
MD, PhD, DSc

Consultant Psychiatrist
London

Dr Surguladze is a psychiatrist with over 30 years of clinical and academic experience in various areas of mental health.

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