experience clinical depression
also have periods of euphoria, elation, sleeplessness, excessive
energy, and/or excitement known as mania. Bipolar disorder is the
result of chemical imbalances in the brain and classic psychotherapy
has not been effective for these patients. Nevertheless, many newer
approaches are proving to be very helpful.
can educate patients about the disorder and its treatments and help
them comply with drug regimens.
can monitor the
patient's on-going status and intervene early in manic and depressive
episodes to reduce the severity of the attack.
can help patients
adjust to the reality of the illness and to understand the negative
consequences of mania. (This is particularly important for patients who
avoid treatment because they consider their mania to be positive,
creative, and exhilarating.)
therapists can help patients cope with feelings of guilt and remorse
that occur in response to their actions during mania.
important in helping patients deal with feelings of imperfection and
despair when they acknowledge their illness. These feelings would be
difficult enough in a healthy individual, but accompanying depression,
which places the patient in danger of suicide, often compounds them.
therapy can be very effective in treating bipolar disorder. Typical
goals of CBT include learning how to recognize manic episodes before
they become full-blown and changing behaviors during an episode, and
learning how to endure depression by developing behaviors and thoughts
that may help offset the negative mood.