Talk Therapy for Bipolar Disorders
Talk therapy is a psychotherapy that is non-medical but that may be highly effective and useful for many individuals struggling with bipolar issues, however in most cases of bipolar disorders talk therapy is an adjunctive treatment that is provided along-with prescribed psychotropic medication.
This is in comparison to unipolar types of depression, which can in the majority of cases be quite safely treated with certain forms of talk therapy on their own and without the use of medication.
Treating Bipolar Disorder with Behavioral Therapy
- Determine the nature of the problems being experienced
- Understanding the thoughts, behaviours, and emotions related to these problems
- Identify any negative or inaccurate thoughts, behaviours, and feelings
- Alter the reaction to these personal issues
Bipolar Mood Disorders
Bipolar disorder causes dramatic changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. It cycles between periods of mania and depression, with periods of normal or more stable moods in between. Mania is a period of great feeling and high energy and action where people who are manic often feel like they can do anything they want. But the bipolar switch to depression is a deep feeling of sadness, despair and futility.
Mood disorders can affect thinking and concentration as well as your sleep, appetite, and energy levels.
Psychiatrists and researchers agree that these extreme shifts in moods, or "mood episodes." can be triggered for many reasons that are not always clear which is why therapy enables patients to work on what is triggering these episodes.
Symptoms such as racing thoughts, risky behaviour, and unusual sleep patterns are very common to mood disorders and with therapy patients can learn to regulate these when they occur.
How Long Do Bipolar Episodes Last?
These episodes can last for days, weeks or months. The severity of symptoms varies widely for the same person and may vary over time for any given individual. Most people living with bipolar disorder need to be treated on a long-term basis. Coping and support from family and friends is very important during these episodes as they are not able to work and are at risk of making poor decisions that can have serious consequences
In a study published in 2015 in the journal Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, bipolar mood swings are most often influenced by the individuals' persistent thoughts. The researchers discovered that by having consistently negative thoughts may very well be what brings on what it termed “descent behaviours” these behaviours include withdrawing from friends, family or work and are often associated with moods like depression, while overly positive thoughts can lead to “ascent behaviours” such as exceptional risk taking associated in the states of mania.