This page was medically reviewed by Dr Olakunle Oladinni, Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director based at Priory Hospital Hayes Grove, in July 2022.
As with any mental illness, there is help available for you no matter how bad things seem. Bipolar treatment will lessen the impact of your condition, so that your responsibilities feel easier to handle and you can find pleasure in your day-to-day routine. You deserve to look forward to what lies ahead – at Priory, we give you the ability and self-assurance to enrich your outlook and live out your dreams.
Treatment options for bipolar disorder
The type and length of treatment for bipolar disorder will depend on its severity and your personal circumstances. At Priory, people with less severe symptoms – often those with bipolar II disorder - are treated as an outpatient. This means that you can visit your nearest Priory Wellbeing Centre or hospital, or access remote treatment online, for hourly sessions with a consultant, psychologist or therapist. You will continue to live at home during this treatment.
If you choose the option of our online therapy service, you will benefit from the same expert help and personalised support given in face-to-face treatment at one of our centres or hospitals. Our clinicians will carry out your weekly appointments over a video call, at a time which suits you, with minimal disruption to your other commitments.
If the symptoms of bipolar disorder are particularly debilitating, you may require a more structured treatment approach. In this case, inpatient treatment for bipolar disorder may be the best bipolar treatment for your needs. Here you can take part in our psychological group programme, as well as attending regular sessions with an experienced consultant.
You will stay in one of our comfortable bedrooms for the duration of your treatment, benefitting from 24-hour care and being in a community of other patients who understand your experience. Our relaxing facilities are designed to take you away from the strains of daily life, improving your general wellbeing as you undergo treatment.
Our bipolar treatment centres
We have a network of hospitals nationwide that provide bipolar disorder treatment on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. Take a look at some of our hospitals below then use our location finder to help find a treatment centre near you.
How is bipolar disorder treated?
Here will outline some of the most effective treatments for bipolar disorder and how they can be used to help manage the symptoms of bipolar.
We recognise that everyone’s situation is different, so we’ll always carry out an initial assessment before recommending the best course of action for your needs. You’ll receive a treatment plan focused on gaining the best possible outcome for you, structured within NICE-approved guidelines.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
CBT is a structured, action-based talking therapy. It will teach you to use a problem-solving approach towards managing thoughts, behaviours and mood more effectively. Your therapist will help you to identify strategies for breaking the negative thought patterns which come with the lows of bipolar disorder. The condition can make it difficult to focus on the positive aspects of your life, so we will give you the skills to do this more easily. CBT can also help you to monitor your mood cycles and symptoms.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
If you are experiencing prolonged or frequent periods of depressive episodes, IPT can be highly effective. You will learn how to recognise the thoughts and symptoms caused by depression, which may be affecting how you feel and behave in your personal relationships. Improving your ability to interact with people, even during extreme mood swings, will often reduce your overall psychological symptoms.
Couples and family therapy
It is common for the issues you face with bipolar disorder to affect your loved ones. This will be especially true if you are around them during extreme mood swings, which can create a lot of painful emotions for everyone. We want to help everyone feel better about living with your bipolar disorder, so we can treat your family or partner therapeutically too. Couples and family therapy is designed to educate those you love about supporting your condition, as well as helping them to deal with the emotional distress involved.
There are several different options for medication to help you manage symptoms of bipolar disorder. These will often be prescribed alongside your therapeutic treatment programme. Your consultant psychiatrist will discuss the different options available to you. Together we will find the best type of medication for your particular diagnosis and circumstances.
Some of the medications which may be used include:
This is the most common bipolar disorder medication in the UK. It is a mood stabiliser, so it is particularly effective against the extreme highs and lows of bipolar episodes. It is a long-term medication which is usually prescribed for at least six months.
The dosage is monitored regularly to ensure that your lithium levels are safely moderated. For this reason, you will need to have blood tests taken regularly. Our consultants at Priory are experts in finding the correct lithium dose for each individual.
Other medications which can help to alleviate symptoms of bipolar include anticonvulsants such as Sodium Valproate, which works in a similar way to Lithium. Antipsychotic medications such as Olanzapine or Quetiapine can also be effective.
The type of medication you will require, and the length of time you will need to take it for, will depend on your symptoms and reaction to initial treatment. While mood stabilisers are usually taken long-term, shorter-term antidepressant medication can also be used when manic episodes aren’t as frequent or severe.
Signs that you may need bipolar disorder treatment
Bipolar disorder is a relatively common mental health condition, which around 1 in 100 people will be diagnosed with, and it used to be referred to as manic depression, because of the condition’s key symptoms of mania and hypomania.
If you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the energetic highs during an episode feel like an increased sense of wellbeing. These symptoms can be so intense that they affect your judgement and decision-making abilities, making it nearly impossible to manage your life properly.
When you experience a bipolar disorder episode on the lower end of the mood scale, it will feel just like depression. Although extreme sadness is a feeling that everyone will experience at some stage in life, the intensity of depressed feelings with bipolar disorder is far worse. Symptoms can persist for much longer, making daily responsibilities and situations in your life much harder to deal with.
You may be wondering how to spot the signs of bipolar disorder. Here are some key symptoms of both depressive and manic episodes, which demonstrate the condition’s contrasts:
- Feelings of extreme sadness and unhappiness
- Losing interest in activities you previously enjoyed
- Low self-esteem
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Changes in appetite
- Feelings of exhaustion
- Increased energy and desire to be active
- Racing thoughts and talking quickly
- Not needing as much sleep
- Unrealistic beliefs about your own abilities
If you are experiencing extreme symptoms like these, seek advice from your GP. You can see a more extensive list of bipolar disorder symptoms. The patterns of bipolar mood swings vary from person to person.
Some people experience only a handful of bipolar episodes during their lifetime; others go through many episodes. While bipolar disorder can be diagnosed at any age, you will most likely have experienced symptoms during your teens. Bipolar disorder is rarely diagnosed in middle age or later life.
Treatment at Priory
Priory has been helping to treat bipolar disorder for many years, so rest assured that we know how to reduce its impact. If you receive a bipolar diagnosis, we can help you to manage your symptoms and give you the coping skills for a more fulfilling and stable life.
Our mental health experts have an intimate knowledge of bipolar disorder in all its forms, and they understand that its symptoms can often feel overwhelming. You may feel hopeless at first, but we want to restore your hope for what lies ahead. We will help to provide clarity around your current situation, allow you to start making peace with your mental health challenges and support you in moving more confidently towards your goals.
Get in Touch Today
For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding mental health and wellbeing, please call 0800 840 3219 or click here to submit an enquiry form. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here
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