Using Psychotherapy to Treat Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme shifts in mood and energy, leading to extreme turbulence and emotional unpredictability. Although living with bipolar disorder presents some unique and serious challenges, you can manage the condition with the right care. Therapies for bipolar disorder are an important tool for learning to cope with your mental health and live a full, independent life.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes shifts in mood, energy, concentration, and activity levels.1 These often severe shifts make handling responsibilities and daily tasks difficult. There are three types of bipolar disorder, and all three consist of two primary moods or “episodes”: mania and depression. Manic episodes cause you to feel elated, “up,” energized, and irritable. Depressive episodes cause you to feel sad, “down,” indifferent, or hopeless.

Bipolar I

Bipolar I disorder consists of manic episodes that last at least seven days or severe manic symptoms that require immediate medical care. It also involves depressive episodes that last at least two weeks. Sometimes people with bipolar I experience mixed episodes, meaning they have both manic and depressive symptoms at the same time.

Bipolar II

Bipolar II disorder consists of a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes. Hypomanic episodes are less severe than the intense manic episodes experienced by those with bipolar I.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder, or cyclothymia, involves recurring hypomanic and depressive symptoms that aren’t severe enough or do not last long enough to meet the criteria for a full hypomanic or depressive episode.

How to Treat Bipolar Disorder

There is no known cure for bipolar disorder, but you can learn to manage the condition with the right treatment. Medication and psychotherapy for bipolar disorder are the two primary approaches involved in most mental health treatment plans. Each aspect plays an important role in regulating the condition, and using them in tandem provides the most effective, lasting results.


Certain medications are useful for managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Mood stabilizers and atypical antipsychotics are the two most commonly used forms of medication for treatment. These pharmacological approaches can help prevent mood episodes or reduce their severity when they do occur. They can also decrease the likelihood of unpredictable or risky behaviors.


Medications can relieve certain conditions, but they do not equip you with the coping skills you need to regulate your disorder. That’s where therapies for bipolar disorder come in. Psychotherapy for bipolar disorder is the most important part of a treatment plan. Specialized therapeutic approaches, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), provide the space and guidance to develop useful coping skills.2

Finding Help

If you or a loved one need bipolar disorder treatment, Pasadena Villa can help. We offer individualized treatment for bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions. Our whole-person approach to care ensures your success both during and after treatment. We’re dedicated to providing the best care possible and equipping you with what you need to thrive after treatment..

Ready to start your path back to a fulfilling, independent life? Reach out to us at 407.574.5190 or submit an online contact form to speak with an admissions specialist today.


1. National Institute of Mental Health. (2023). Bipolar Disorder.
2. National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2019). Different Types of Therapy for Bipolar Disorder.

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