The wrong attitude about having bipolar disordercan be far more disabling than the condition itself.
Bipolar Disorder is not curable, but it is treatable and manageable,according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. After an accurate diagnosis, and proper treatment, most people can achieve an optimal level of wellness. The trouble is, a lot of people don't follow through with treatment. Maybe they're so depressed they have no hope of recovery. Or they may enjoy the burst of creativity that comes with mania and they're afraid to lose it. So the symptoms themselves can interfere with healing.
Sometimes treatment works so well, people with bipolar think they're cured and they no longer need medication. Or else they just don't like the idea of meds.
The truth is, depression greatly exaggerates the magnitude of your difficulties. And while mania can spark a feeling of creativity, it can also shoot you in so many directions you don't get anything done. Many people who control their bipolar tendencies find they are more satisfied in their expressive pursuits and they are more free to be their true selves.
Research shows that most people require chronic medication to manage bipolar disorder. So if you're truly bipolar, it's meds or depression and agitation — take your pick.
Oh, but it takes more than medication. A Brown University researcher compared a meds-only group of people with bipolar to those who received medication and got counseling to learn how to manage their illness. Three years later, the counseling group reported feeling happier and healthier, with more productive time at work, better relationships with family and more satisfaction with their care.
Counseling helps people become experts in their mood patterns, much as diabetics become experts in managing their blood sugar levels. I help clients control their illness by taking the following steps:
◊ Develop an accurate perception of themselves, their illness, and their needs.
◊ Identify early warning signs their mood is getting out of hand, and be prepared with strategies to stabilize themselves. ◊ Recruit friends and families to be positive supports, and educate them as to how they can help.
◊ Improve areas of their life they may have been neglecting because of mood swings (such as friendships, hobbies, career goals)
◊ Develop an upbeat attitude towards life that avoids the extremes of gloom and grandiosity.