Treatment

Psychopharmacology

Medication is the cornerstone of treatment of a child with Bipolar Disorder. Mood stabilizers not only arrest current symptoms of an episode, but can effectively decrease the frequency and severity of future episodes for close to 80% of those treated. Among the variety of other drugs, medications used to treat depression can be helpful but are used with caution to avoid provoking a manic response.

Psychoeducation

Medication management should be accompanied with education about the disorder, stressing the importance of continuation of the medication. Noncompliance is common due to youngsters' perception that they don't need medication any more or a wish to re-experience the mania.

Psychotherapy. Several types of therapy may be helpful.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. The focus of cognitive behavioral therapy is identifying unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replacing them with healthy, positive ones. In addition, cognitive therapy teaches about bipolar disorder and its treatment and what may trigger bipolar episodes.
  • Family therapy. Family therapy can help identify and reduce stressors within the family. It can help the family improve its communication style and problem-solving skills and resolve conflicts.
  • Group therapy. Group therapy provides a forum to communicate with and learn from others in a similar situation.