Introduction to treatment of bipolar disorder


It is vital at the start of this section to emphasize that the optimal treatment of bipolar disorder should involve, in almost all cases, a combination of approaches and therapeutic tools which should be used together in a way which is:

  1. tailored to the individual
  2. is responsive to the course, development  and improvement of symptoms over time and may emphasise different components at different times

In our opinion the ideal approach has to be a collaborative one which usually requires:

  • early recognition of symptoms and correct diagnosis
  • acceptance of the existence of the problem

There is good clinical evidence for the following tools being used in combination:

  • Some form of clear information giving, ‘psychoeducation and opportunity of clarification of questions and concerns about diagnosis and treament
  • Some type of pharmacological (drug) therapy
  • Some form of talking based therapy

The evidence for the use of various tools (e.g. drug therapy or talking therapy) will be reviewed in this section based around treatment summaries for four main areas:

The information that we are making availble is up-to-date as early 2011. It is primarily designed to be useful to professionals but we hope it will be useful to everyone who reads it. We plan, when resources are available for a condensed and summarised version to be made available.

Equilibrium stongly supports the principle of ‘Evidence Based Treatment‘. This involves making treatment decisons based on the independent assimilation and evaluation of the available evidence for and against individual and combination treatments. Such information needs to be made available in a digestible way – not only for professionals, but also for individuals with the condition or their parents, partners, friends etc.