Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that affects 2.8% of adults in the United States. Individuals that suffer from bipolar disorder experience episodes of extreme highs (known as manic episodes) and lows (known as depressive episodes). The condition is marked by rapid shifts in mood that can be so severe that they impact day-to-day functioning in professional, academic, or social settings and can cause psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations or delusions.
The outcome of bipolar disorder treatment is highly variable and is determined by a combination of individual client needs and environmental-related factors. Bipolar disorder is usually treated with a mixture of pharmacological and psychosocial modalities.
Outcomes are typically considered to be positive when a client reduces non-remission. However, bipolar disorder is often hard to treat, and several difficulties can impact the effectiveness of treatment, including:
- Frequent misdiagnosis
- Early-onset of disease
- Comorbid conditions
- Delayed treatment
- Being untreated for extended periods
- Marked disparities such as age, race, geographical location, or a lack of adequate healthcare
Treating bipolar disorder can also be challenging because of high levels of non-compliance among clients. Non-compliance is often caused by one or more of the following:
- Denial of diagnosis
- Forgetfulness of clients
- Lack of education regarding bipolar disorder
- Resistance to medication, especially in cases of polypharmacy
- Adverse or unwanted reactions to medication, such as poor cognition, lethargy, or a decrease in functional capacity
- Co-occurring disorders, particularly substance abuse
Effective Treatments for Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a unique mental health disorder that causes a noticeable shift in moods and feelings at a rapid pace. The condition also causes several emotional, mental, and physical side effects such as insomnia, major depression, rapid movement or motor skills, an influx of ideas and goals, diminished social skills, feelings of despair, and suicidal ideation. These factors make the need for specialized treatment imperative.
While managing bipolar disorder can be difficult for clients, effective treatment methods make it more manageable. Luckily, new methods of both pharmacological and psychological treatments have been developed.
Improvements in pharmacological treatments, as well as an increase in clients receiving evidence-based models of psychotherapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, family-focused therapy, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, group psychoeducation, and systematic care management, have created a more cohesive treatment methodology that has substantial benefits for the long-term treatment of bipolar disorder.
Individualized Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Recent studies have concluded that individualized care is more likely to result in more accurate diagnoses, strengthen treatment effectiveness, and increase client compliance. Because treatment outcomes are highly variable, early implementation of specialized treatment can significantly increase a client’s chances of achieving a better clinical outcome. Specialized care has been proven to be more effective in the long-term treatment of bipolar disorder because it is all-encompassing, collaborative, and patient-focused.
Individualized treatment is multi-modal. It allows mental health professionals to continuously improve treatment by:
- Monitoring side effects and adjusting medication as needed to overcome pharmacological barriers
- Utilizing psychotherapy to address cognitive or psychosocial barriers to treatment, improving compliance
- Encouraging psychoeducation and self-management support
- Practicing collaborative care among the client’s healthcare team
Benefits of Individualized Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
When treating bipolar disorder, each treatment plan should be as unique as the individual it is designed for. Recent studies have shown that clients with individualized plans for the pharmacological and psychosocial treatment of bipolar disorder benefit in several ways.
#1. Pharmacological Benefits
- Improvements in our understanding of how medication used for mania (such as anti-psychotics) can have a substantial impact on the effectiveness of medication used for depressive episodes (primarily anti-depressants), allowing mental healthcare professionals to identify more compatible combinations of medications.
- Advances in pharmacological treatments mainly consist of repurposing drugs used in other neuropsychiatric disorders that were not previously used for mood disorders.
#2. Psychosocial Benefits:
- Clients who receive family-focused therapy in combination with pharmacological treatment have 30–35% lower rates of relapse and hospitalization.
- Clients who receive regular sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy are less likely to have depressive episodes and more likely to develop and maintain positive social functioning.
- Clients who receive interpersonal and social rhythm therapy typically have longer times to recurrence and better vocational functioning. It also results in a delay in recurrences, allowing clients to stabilize their daily and nightly routines, regulate their sleep and wake rhythms, and prevent future mood instability.
- Clients who receive structured group therapy, also known as group psychoeducation, have fewer, shorter, and less severe relapses.
- Clients that use functional remediation show greater changes in occupational and social functioning.
- Clients that receive systematic care have fewer manic episodes.
Substantial progress has been made in the past decade in understanding the role of individualized pharmacology and psychotherapy for bipolar disorder. Specialized treatment plans are effective at helping clients maintain compliance, eliminate barriers to treatment, and systematically address issues that are commonly associated with bipolar disorder. At Casa Recovery, located in beautiful San Juan Capistrano, CA, we employ the most contemporary treatment methodologies that address the individual needs of each client. We believe that a client’s treatment plan should be as unique as they are to maximize effectiveness and produce a successful treatment outcome. As we continue to discover innovative ways to treat bipolar disorder, more efficient and effective treatment methods will be developed and applied in clinical settings. To learn more about how we help our clients with bipolar disorder or to refer a client with bipolar disorder to our treatment center, call Casa Recovery today at (888) 928-2272.