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Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Bipolar Disorder Effective?

Effective treatment for bipolar disorder is as varied as the individuals who suffer from the condition. People with this type of mental illness usually benefit from lifelong treatment. Clinicians often use a combination of psychotherapy and medication to help people manage their symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy for bipolar disorder is one example of a type of psychotherapy that’s effective in both children and adults.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Bipolar Disorder Has No Major Side Effects

A girl thinks about her issues during cognitive behavioral therapy for bipolar disorderAccording to the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, can be as effective as medication for treating nonpsychotic mental disorders. Furthermore, it doesn’t bring about detrimental side effects. Many of the medications that doctors prescribe to patients with bipolar disorder are controversial. Some experts say that antidepressants don’t work very well for people with bipolar disorder. In some cases, they can even worsen symptoms of depression. Using medication to treat bipolar disorder is complicated. Psychiatrists often prescribe lithium carbonate to reduce mania, but doctors aren’t sure exactly how it works. Some of the medications that doctors prescribe to patients with bipolar disorder can be toxic in high doses. Psychiatrists often have to experiment with different drugs and dosages to find the right combination. They also must assess the patient regularly to ensure the medications aren’t producing harmful side effects.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Bipolar Disorder May Keep Symptoms At Bay

While medications do work for treating bipolar disorder, they are only useful when patients take them consistently. However, it is common for people with bipolar to stop taking medications during a manic episode or times when they “feel fine.” Adolescents are particularly unpredictable in their ability to take their medications consistently. Plus, medications tend to address only the symptoms of the disorder, not the cause. CBT goes deeper and addresses the core dysfunction that can influence your mental illness. Some of the discoveries that you make during CBT can reduce the risk of symptoms returning. This form of psychotherapy can help you avoid participating in behaviors that can lead to a symptom relapse. It also offers techniques that you can use when you’re feeling particularly emotional or stressed. CBT can be an alternative to medication for people who don’t tolerate certain pharmaceuticals. It can also help produce results when drugs are ineffective.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work?

When you go through CBT, you usually work one-on-one with a therapist, although group therapy can be helpful too. You begin by identifying the problem. Then, you examine the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that you use to respond to the problem. During this time, you can pinpoint inaccurate negative thoughts or assumptions that tend to make the problem worse. You can replace those negative thoughts or behaviors with constructive ones. At Destinations for Teens, our cognitive behavioral therapy program is part of a balanced psychotherapy plan that also includes:

If your child is ready to get out of the grasp of mental illness and substance abuse and achieve their full potential, cognitive behavioral therapy for bipolar disorder may help. Call us at 877-466-0620 to learn how we may be the perfect fit.