The treatment of bipolar disorder is often an elusive and long-term process. Due to the lack of explicitly relatable causes, a variety of potential causes and differential disease presentations among patients, it is not easy to treat. Essentially, there is no single treatment approach that can ensure complete management of the symptoms caused by this disorder. Therefore, treating a patient with bipolar disorder requires a collaborative effort from everyone including the patient, family members, doctors, psychiatrist, and the psychologist.
Who is a Psychologist and What can You expect?
A psychologist is a trained health professional who uses various tests and assessments to diagnose a mental illness. Moreover, a psychologist can also keep track of a patient’s thought process and a patient’s response to stressful situations in order to help the patient to improve his or her coping skills.
A psychologist uses psychotherapy or talk therapy with his or her patients. He or she will also work with the patient’s psychiatrist to devise various non-drug strategies to help the patient.
Due to the relapsing nature of bipolar disorder, a growing interest in psychological intervention to aid in the form of treatment has been observed in the past few years. Medications alone are not enough to completely combat the condition, which is why psychologists play an integral role during the treatment process.
Psychological treatment does not use any medications (non-drug approach). It is more focused on utilizing the knowledge of the patient’s thought process, emotional states, responses, behaviors, intellectual abilities, and aptitude to further optimize the treatment.
The roles of a psychologist include the following:
- A psychologist can “talk” to you, understand your thoughts, and help you better manage your mood irrespective of the triggers.
- He or she can teach you skills to socialize, keep you away from drug and alcohol abuse, and adhere to the mainstream bipolar disorder treatments.
- In a psychological treatment called the “early warning approach”, the psychologist can help you identify the potential triggers in advance and help you devise certain actions to prevent a full blown episode caused by bipolar disorder
- A psychologist addresses your illness not merely as a disease, but rather a condition that is unique to you based on your genetics, socioeconomic background, and overall personality traits.
- A psychologist provides an all-round non-drug therapy to prevent, manage, and treat your condition.
What to Remember During Bipolar Disorder Treatment
The first to remember while undergoing treatment for bipolar disorder is to keep the expectations within limits. You cannot expect an overnight recovery. This is a must for both the patient and the family members. Patience, faith, and consistent care are extremely necessary during treatment of any chronic illness.
This is when the role of a Psychologist becomes even more important as psychological counseling and talk therapy can be given not only to the patients but also to the family members.
Bipolar Disorder is best treated with a wait, watch and go approach. This clearly means no one, not even your doctor knows which medications and other with non-drug alternatives suits your condition. Your doctor finds possible treatment options for you, asks you to use them for a few months, observes your body’s response, and then decides whether to continue, modify or switch the treatment. Together, you and your psychologist, with the help of those who are a part of your treatment process, will find the right treatments for you.