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CBT for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder, frequently called Manic-Depressive illness, or Manic Depression is a psychiatric disorder causing shifts in mood, activity levels, energy, and ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Bipolar Disorder symptoms are very serious. Bipolar Disorder symptoms are more extreme than the normal ups and downs that most people go through from time to time. Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder can lead to poor job or school performance, damaged relationships, and in extreme cases, suicide. The good news is Bipolar Disorder can be treated, and people with Bipolar Disorder can lead full, productive lives.

Individuals who have Bipolar Disorder experience intense, fluctuating emotional states occurring in distinct periods called "mood episodes." In Bipolar Disorder, each episode is a drastic change from a person’s usual mood and behavior. A Manic Episode is defined as an overexcited state, and an extremely sad, hopeless state is called a Depressive Episode. Sometimes, individuals with Bipolar Disorder also may be angry and irritable during a Manic Episode. A Mixed Episode is one that includes symptoms of both depression and mania. Additionally, extreme changes in sleep, activity, energy, and behavior accompany the shifts in mood. Bipolar Disorder is often confused with Borderline Personality Disorder, even by qualified mental health professionals. 

Generally, Bipolar Disorder worsens if left untreated. Mood episodes usually become more frequent  and more severe over time without treatment. Accurate diagnosis and proper treatment help people with Bipolar Disorder lead full lives. Usually treatment of Bipolar Disorder can help reduce the frequency and severity of episodes. Also, delays in getting the correct diagnosis and treatment of Bipolar Disorder can lead to numerous personal and work problems.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Bipolar Disorder

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is effective for Bipolar Disorder treatment when provided in combination with medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps people with Bipolar Disorder learn to change harmful or negative thoughts behaviors.  CBT for Bipolar Disorder treatment also helps enhance coping strategies, such as early recognition of mood episodes. Additionally, CBT can improve communication and problem-solving in people with Bipolar Disorder.

CBT Treatment for Bipolar Disorder can involve:

  • Assessment and re-evaluation of problematic ways of thinking

  • Increasing behaviors that naturally promote pleasure and mastery

  • Assertiveness training

  • Treatment for insomnia

  • Mindfulness techniques

  • Social Skills Training

  • Problem Solving techniques

  • Treatment for underlying anxiety

  • Working effectively toward life goals

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