An individual with bipolar disorder may experience difficult symptoms such as severe depressive episodes, mania, high energy, excitement, reduced sleep, or decreased inhibitions. Therefore, reaching out for professional help can be quite a challenge and sometimes even overwhelming. Luckily, there are effective treatments for this condition, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
Different mental health treatment facilities can offer many effective therapeutic alternatives, such as psychotherapy. CBT is a great psychotherapy option to choose when treating symptoms associated with bipolar disorder.
Depending on the severity of the condition, ongoing support from family or friends can also be very helpful. Taking time to do some research to find a credible treatment facility or mental health care provider can greatly improve one’s experience with treatment and recovery. Seeking professional help can offer a client additional support to successfully and safely overcome the difficulties associated with bipolar disorder.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder was once called manic depression or manic-depressive illness because people with this condition experience both manic and depressive episodes. The condition is a psychiatric disorder that causes major shifts in an individual’s mood, activity levels, energy, ability to focus, and potential to complete daily tasks. There are three different types under the umbrella of this disorder, though all three types present these symptoms.
The three types are:
- Bipolar I disorder: With this type, severe manic episodes last at least seven days. Depressive episodes typically last two weeks. Mixed episodes of depression and mania may occur. An individual may experience a cycle of symptoms four or more times a year.
- Bipolar II disorder: A pattern of hypomanic — a lesser type of mania — or depressive episodes is present with this type. Episodes are less severe than bipolar I but still qualify under this subtype.
- Cyclothymic disorder: Recurrent depressive or hypomanic symptoms may occur when someone has cyclothymic disorder. Episodes do not last long enough to classify as depressive or hypomanic episodes but are still disruptive to everyday life.
How Can Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Help?
CBT is the ultimate and most studied form of psychotherapy in comparison to other treatments for healing bipolar disorder. This therapy is a combined approach for cognitive and behavioral benefits. How individuals feel, behave, and think are all factors that determine the influence on their welfare. To that end, CBT increases an individual’s ability to develop their attitudes, thoughts, and feelings, to manage unwanted or disruptive behaviors.
Based on a study in the Archives of Neuropsychiatry, bipolar disorder can be difficult to control with medication alone. The symptoms of bipolar disorder present different attributes per episode. Psychosocial non-pharmaceutical interventions are a crucial part of treatment when prescription drugs alone fail to provide psychological progress and improvement. CBT is recommended as a verified and research-based therapy that treats all stages of the disorder.
Techniques Used in CBT
CBT teaches an abundance of useful strategies and significant skills that target the underlying factors of bipolar disorder. These strategies include:
- A holistic formula, which requires adjusting physical, emotional, environmental, cognitive, and behavioral domains
- Providing history by studying symptoms, stages, and treatment alternatives for the mental illness
- Behavioral interventions
- Cognitive interventions
- Skill development work
Effectiveness of CBT
CBT is a highly effective psychotherapy that greatly improves the severity of mania, depression, and the ability to cognitively function, according to PLoS ONE. Based on experimental research, a study indicated that improvement can be achieved with a therapy session of fewer than 90 minutes. As a result, the relapse rate turned out to be reduced among patients with bipolar I disorder who participated in CBT.
Further benefits of CBT include:
- Relapse prevention
- Symptom relief
- Drug adherence
- Improved psychological functioning
Moving Forward With CBT
CBT can benefit individuals’ mental health conditions and can greatly improve their quality of life. If you or a loved one choose to take the next step toward a psychotherapeutic approach, it is an admirable choice.
Reaching out to your general or family practitioner can be a good start. They can give you a referral to speak with a psychiatrist for a proper diagnosis, schedule a session with a therapist, and create a treatment plan. With these in place, it can open up opportunities to explore the benefits of CBT. It is important to listen to your mental health care providers and complete all outside tasks involved in the course of CBT.
Mental health care solutions are advancing every day. Continue to research the background of bipolar disorder to maximize the benefits of your treatment. Practicing a self-care routine and journaling your symptoms can help you better communicate with your doctors. Staying open and honest can help you get the most out of treatment. It can take up to 20 weeks to see improvement, so be sure to stay patient. If therapy does not seem to be helping, let your health care provider know your concerns so they can work with you to improve your care plan.
Facing challenges with bipolar disorder can be overwhelming. Seeking professional care for mental health support can provide great benefits for you or a loved one. Goal-oriented and problem-focused, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) addresses the feelings and behaviors that stem from your maladaptive thought patterns. CBT can be beneficial for treating a range of mental health disorders and for those suffering from addiction. By working with an expert mental health therapist at 12 South Recovery, clients are able to identify and change negative beliefs, emotions, actions, and thoughts, as well as more effectively manage challenging or stressful symptoms of bipolar disorder. If you feel you are in need of professional support, please call 12 South Recovery at 866-839-6876.