Bipolar disorder treatment

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his page was medically reviewed by Dr Olakunle Oladinni, Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director based at Priory Hospital Hayes Grovein July 2022.

As with any mental illness, there's help available for you no matter how bad things seem. Bipolar disorder 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 get back on track.

Treatment options for bipolar disorder

The type and length of treatment you receive for bipolar disorder depends on how severe it is, as well as your unique needs. At Priory, people with less severe symptoms may be 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'll continue to live at home during this treatment.

If you choose the option of our online therapy service, you'll 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 that suits you, with minimal disruption to your other commitments.

If your symptoms of bipolar disorder are particularly debilitating, you may need a more structured treatment approach. In this case, inpatient  treatment for bipolar disorder may be the best option 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'll stay in one of our comfortable bedrooms for the duration of your treatment, benefiting from 24-hour care and being in a community of other patients who understand what you're going through. Our relaxing facilities are designed to take you away from the strains of daily life, improving your general wellbeing as you undergo treatment.

How is bipolar disorder treated?

Here, we 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 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

Cognitive behavioural therapy
Interpersonal therapy
Couples and family therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

CBT is a structured, action-based talking therapy. It will teach you to use a problem-solving approach towards managing your 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're experiencing prolonged or frequent periods of depressive episodes, IPT can be highly effective. You'll 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's common for the issues you face with bipolar disorder to affect your loved ones. This will be especially true if you're 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 are designed to educate those you love about supporting you, as well as helping them to deal with any emotional distress.


There are several different options for medication to help you manage the 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's a mood stabiliser, so it's particularly effective against the extreme highs and lows of bipolar episodes. It's a long-term medication which is usually prescribed for at least 6 months.

The dosage is monitored regularly to ensure that your lithium levels are safely moderated. For this reason, you'll need to have blood tests taken regularly. Our consultants at Priory are experts in finding the correct lithium dose for each person we support.

Mood stabilisers

Other medications that 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 need, and the length of time you'll 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 your 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. It used to be referred to as 'manic depression', because of the condition’s key symptoms of mania and hypomania.

If you're 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 for you 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

Here, you can see a more extensive list of bipolar disorder symptoms. It's important to understand that the patterns of bipolar mood swings vary from person to person. Some people experience only a handful of bipolar episodes during their lifetime, while others go through many episodes. While bipolar disorder can be diagnosed at any age, most people first experience symptoms during their teens. Bipolar disorder is rarely diagnosed in middle age or later life.

If you're experiencing extreme symptoms of bipolar disorder, it's important that you speak to your GP.

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 lots of experience when it comes to bipolar disorder, and they understand that your symptoms can often feel overwhelming. You may feel hopeless at first, but we want to restore your hope for what lies ahead. We'll 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.

Bipolar disorder treatment near me

We have bipolar disorder treatment centres located throughout the country, meaning that you can access the support you need in a location that’s convenient for you. To find your nearest bipolar disorder treatment centre, please use the search form below.

Contact us to make an enquiry or for more information

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