Medication is the key to treatment of a child with Bipolar Disorder. Mood stabilizers can help curtail current symptoms of an episode, and can decrease the frequency and severity of future episodes for close to 80% of adults treated. Children and adolescents do not respond as well to treatment, but studies show that when medications are effective, it is very important to CONTINUE treatment. Among the variety of other drugs, medications used to treat depression can also be helpful.
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.
Several recent studies have emphasized the importance of maintaining a healthy social rhythm–a regular sleep-wake cycle, a regular social-interactive routine in reducing episodes of depression and mania.