Skip to content

Most Effective Bipolar Disorder Treatment and Symptoms

Discover effective bipolar disorder treatment options, including medication, therapy, and lifestyle adjustments. Learn how psychotherapy techniques, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy, can help manage mood swings and enhance coping skills. Explore the role of mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants in stabilizing mood fluctuations.

By We Level Up | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: July 19, 2023

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness characterized by alternating periods of euphoria and depression. Medical treatment, therapy, and behavioral changes all play a role in managing this condition. Mood-stabilizing medications and psychotherapeutic methods are discussed in detail as two of the best treatment for bipolar disorder. In addition, we discuss the common signs of bipolar disorder, including manic episodes, depressive episodes, and rapid cycling, so that people are better equipped to recognize the symptoms and get help when needed. Those who suffer from bipolar disorder can take steps toward stability and improved well-being by becoming educated on the available treatments and the symptoms to watch for.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes mood and energy levels to change in significant ways. There are two main types of bipolar symptoms: manic episodes and depressive episodes. People with bipolar disorder can show their illness differently, so not everyone goes through both phases. These are the most common signs:

Manic Episode Symptoms:

  • Elevated mood means feeling too happy, euphoric, or irritable for a long time.
  • Increased Energy: Having more energy than usual and doing more than usual.
  • Less need for sleep: feeling rested after a few days of getting very little sleep.
  • Racing Thoughts: Ideas come quickly, it’s hard to focus, and you get distracted more easily.
  • Impulsivity means doing risky things, like spending too much money, driving too fast, or using drugs.
  • Grandiose beliefs include having a high opinion of yourself, feeling invincible, or thinking you are more important than you are.
  • Agitation is a state of restlessness and increased anger.

Signs of a depressive episode:

  • Feeling very sad or hopeless for a long time is called persistent sadness.
  • Fatigue is a constant feeling of being tired and having no energy.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Either experiencing insomnia or oversleeping.
  • Loss of Interest: Losing interest in activities once enjoyed, including social withdrawal.
  • Trouble focusing: Trouble paying attention, making choices, or remembering things.
  • Changes in Appetite: Significant weight loss or gain due to changes in eating patterns.
  • Feelings of Guilt or Worthlessness: Feeling unworthy or guilty, even about minor issues.
  • Suicidal Thoughts: Having thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Rapid cycling is another characteristic of bipolar disorder, where individuals experience four or more episodes of mania, depression, or a combination of both within a year. Bipolar disorder can significantly impact daily life, relationships, and overall well-being. Proper diagnosis, ongoing treatment, and support are essential for managing symptoms effectively and improving the quality of life for those with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder Treatments Fact Sheet

What is Bipolar Disorder?

  • Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized by significant mood swings, alternating between manic or hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes.
  • It affects approximately 2.8% of adults in the United States, with symptoms typically appearing in late adolescence or early adulthood.
  • Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, but individuals can lead fulfilling lives with proper diagnosis, treatment, and support.

Bipolar Disorder Types

  • Bipolar 1 Disorder: Involves manic episodes lasting at least one week and often accompanied by depressive episodes. May include severe impairment and potential psychotic features.
  • Bipolar 2 Disorder: Characterized by hypomanic episodes (less severe than full mania) and prominent depressive episodes. Psychosis is not present in Bipolar 2.

Bipolar Symptoms

  • Manic Episode Symptoms:
    • Elevated mood or irritability.
    • Increased energy and activity levels.
    • Decreased need for sleep.
    • Racing thoughts and fast speech.
    • Impulsivity and risk-taking behavior.
    • Grandiose beliefs or inflated self-esteem.

Depressive Episode Symptoms:

  • Persistent sadness or loss of interest in activities.
  • Fatigue and low energy levels.
  • Sleep disturbances (insomnia or oversleeping).
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
  • Changes in appetite lead to weight changes.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors.


  • A comprehensive psychiatric evaluation is necessary for diagnosis.
  • A diagnosis may be challenging as symptoms overlap with other mental health conditions.
  • A thorough evaluation considers medical history, family history, and the pattern of mood swings.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

  • Bipolar Disorder Medication: Mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants are commonly prescribed to manage symptoms.
  • Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy can help individuals cope with mood swings and improve coping strategies.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, and stress management are beneficial in managing symptoms.

Long-Term Outlook

  • Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, but with consistent treatment and support, many individuals experience periods of stability and improved functioning.
  • Early intervention and ongoing management are vital in reducing the disorder’s impact on daily life.
  • Building a solid support system and adhering to a treatment plan is critical to improving the overall quality of life for those with bipolar disorder.
Ryan Zofay forming a circle and hugging friends.

Get Your Life Back

Find Hope & Recovery. Get Safe Comfortable Detox, Addiction Rehab & Dual Diagnosis High-Quality Care.

Hotline(844) 597-1011

Bipolar Disorder Treatments Statistics

The average age of onset for bipolar disorder is around 25 years old, affecting about 2.8% of adults worldwide. The average time to get an accurate diagnosis is nearly 10 years because of the high rate of misdiagnosis. The condition appears to be slightly more common in women. Those who suffer from bipolar disorder are more likely to struggle with anxiety and substance abuse. Medication non-adherence is a common problem, and relapse rates remain significant, despite the availability of effective treatments like medication and psychotherapy (especially CBT and Interpersonal Therapy). About half of people with severe episodes need to be hospitalized.

About 15% to 20% of people with bipolar disorder will make a suicide attempt at some point in their lives. Direct medical costs and lost productivity contribute significantly to the financial strain on individuals and society caused by bipolar disorder. The best way to manage bipolar disorder and help those suffering from it live better is through early diagnosis, treatment adherence, and support.


Bipolar disorder affects approximately 2.8% of adults in the United States.

Source: CDC

25 years

The average age of onset for bipolar disorder.

Source: CDC

60% of individuals

Experiencing a relapse within two years of their first episode after undergoing treatment.


Bipolar 1 vs 2: What’s the Difference?

There are two main types of bipolar disorder: Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2. Even though both involve mood swings, they are not the same. Bipolar 1 is characterized by severe episodes of mania that can lead to hospitalization and are often accompanied by episodes of depression. On the other hand, Bipolar 2 is characterized by hypomania, a mild form of mania, and more severe depression.

The two subtypes differ in how strong and long mood swings are, affecting how they are treated. A professional in mental health must make a correct diagnosis to make a treatment plan that works for each person’s unique needs. Knowing the differences between Bipolar 1 and 2 can help people get help sooner and deal with these complicated mood disorders better.

Table 1. Characterizes the difference between Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2 types.

Get Help. Get Better. Get Your Life Back.

Searching for an Accredited Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers in Near You?

Even if you have failed previously and relapsed, or are in the middle of a difficult crisis, we stand ready to support you. Our trusted behavioral health specialists will not give up on you. When you feel ready or just want someone to speak to about therapy alternatives to change your life call us. Even if we cannot assist you, we will lead you to wherever you can get support. There is no obligation. Call our hotline today.

(844) 597-1011

Bipolar Disorder Treatment & Diagnosis

A qualified mental health professional, usually a psychiatrist or a psychologist, must do a full evaluation to determine if someone has bipolar disorder. There are several steps to the process:

  • Clinical Interview: The mental health professional talks to the person in depth to learn about their medical and mental health history and their family’s mental health problems. The interview also examines the person’s symptoms, how long they have been going on, and how they affect their daily life.
  • Evaluation of Mood: The professional looks at the person’s mood patterns to see if they have any episodes of mania, hypomania, or depression. Consideration is given to how long, how bad, and how often these mood swings happen.
  • Differential Diagnosis: The mental health professional tell bipolar disorder apart from other medical and psychiatric conditions that may have similar symptoms, such as major depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder, or other mood disorders.
  • Medical Evaluation: A physical exam and other medical tests may be done to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be causing the symptoms.
  • Diagnostic Criteria: The diagnosis is based on specific criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which the American Psychiatric Association publishes. The DSM-5 criteria give guidelines for finding the presence and patterns of manic, hypomanic, and depressive episodes, which are needed to diagnose bipolar disorder.
  • Observation and Additional Information: Family members, close friends, or other caregivers may be asked for their thoughts on the person’s symptoms and behavior to get a fuller picture of them.
  • Duration and Frequency of Episodes: To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, symptoms must have been present for some time and have happened in the last few weeks. A manic episode usually lasts at least a week, and a depressive episode lasts at least two weeks.

First-class Facilities & Amenities

World-class High-Quality Addiction & Mental Health Rehabilitation Treatment

Rehab Centers Tour

Renowned Addiction Centers. Serene Private Facilities. Inpatient rehab programs vary.

Addiction Helpline(844) 597-1011

Proven recovery success experience, backed by a Team w/ History of:

  • 15+ Years Experience
  • 100s of 5-Star Reviews
  • 10K+ Recovery Successes
  • Low Patient to Therapist Ratio
  • Onsite Medical Detox Center
  • Comprehensive Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
  • Complimentary Family & Alumni Programs
  • Coaching, Recovery & Personal Development Events

Bipolar Disorder Medication

Medication is crucial to treating bipolar disorder because it helps stabilize mood swings, stop episodes, and improve the person’s overall functioning. Bipolar disorder is treated with several different kinds of drugs:

  • Mood stabilizers are the primary medicines used to treat bipolar disorder. Lithium is a mood stabilizer often given to people to stop manic and depressive episodes. Valproate (Depakote) and lamotrigine (Lamictal) are other mood stabilizers.
  • Antipsychotics: Atypical antipsychotics are used to treat bipolar disorder episodes of mania or mixed mania. They can quickly eliminate manic symptoms and use mood stabilizers for long-term care. Examples include aripiprazole (Abilify), quetiapine (Seroquel), and olanzapine (Zyprexa).
  • Antidepressants: People with bipolar disorder may be given antidepressants to help ease the symptoms of depression. But they are usually used with care because they can cause manic episodes. Antidepressants are often taken with medicines that stabilize the mood to lower this risk.
  • Anxiolytics: Benzodiazepines and other drugs can be used to control anxiety and irritability during manic or depressive episodes. Due to the risk of becoming dependent on them, they are usually only given for a short time.
  • Adjunctive Medications: Some people may benefit from additional medications to help with certain side effects or symptoms. For instance, sleep aids can be used to deal with insomnia caused by mood swings.

World-class, Accredited, 5-Star Reviewed, Effective Addiction & Mental Health Programs. Complete Behavioral Health Inpatient Rehab, Detox plus Co-occuring Disorders Therapy.

CALL(844) 597-1011

End the Addiction Pain. End the Emotional Rollercoaster. Get Your Life Back. Start Drug, Alcohol & Dual Diagnosis Mental Health Treatment Now. Get Free No-obligation Guidance by Substance Abuse Specialists Who Understand Addiction & Mental Health Recovery & Know How to Help.

We Level Up Inpatient Bipolar Treatment: Bringing Stability Back and Giving People the Tools to Get Better

At We Level Up, we know the unique problems that people with bipolar disorder face, and our team is committed to helping them get better by giving them comprehensive and specialized inpatient treatment. Our inpatient bipolar treatment program gives people with severe mood swings and those who need intensive therapeutic help a safe and structured place to live.

  • Personalized Treatment Plans: When a patient comes in, our experienced psychiatric team thoroughly evaluates to determine the best way to treat them. We make treatment plans for each person that are unique to their needs, symptoms, and goals because we know that no two people’s paths to recovery are the same.
  • Support and care are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at our inpatient facility. Our caring and trained staff are always there to help and care for our patients. This level of care creates a place where patients can heal and get better without being distracted.
  • Medication Management: Our board-certified psychiatrists closely monitor medication schedules and adjust doses as needed to get the best control of symptoms. We use medications that have been shown to work, like mood stabilizers and antipsychotics, to stop mood swings and stop them from happening again.
  • Therapeutic Interventions: Our inpatient program offers a wide range of therapies that have been shown to work, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and individual and group counseling. These therapies help people understand their illness, learn how to deal with it, and get stronger to handle their symptoms better.
  • Wellness and Life Skills: Our treatment plan includes training in life skills and wellness programs taught by our team of experts from different fields. These are meant to give people the tools and skills to deal with life’s problems, start healthy habits, and improve their overall health.
  • Community and Peer Support: Our inpatient setting encourages peer support and helps patients feel like they are part of a group. Patients can connect, relate, and grow together in a supportive environment made possible by group therapy and shared experiences.
  • Transition Planning: As a patient’s treatment goes on, we work to make the change from inpatient care to outpatient care as smooth as possible. Our team works closely with patients and their families to make detailed plans for aftercare. This ensures that patients get support and care even after leaving the hospital.

At We Level Up, we aim to give people with bipolar disorder the tools to get back in charge of their lives and reach their fullest potential. Our inpatient bipolar treatment program gives people a caring

  1. The most effective treatment for bipolar disorder is?

    The best way to treat someone is different, and it may take some time to find the right treatments for each person. People with bipolar disorder need to stick with their treatments and get ongoing support from their doctors, loved ones, and the mental health community to have stable moods and a better quality of life.

8 Steps & Tips for Maintaining Your Mental Wellbeing Informative Video

Video Script

8 Steps for Mental Wellbeing & How To Improve Mental Health In The Workplace

  • Staying Positive
  • Practicing Gratitude
  • Taking Care of Your Physical Health
  • Connecting With Others
  • Developing a Sense of Meaning and Purpose in Life
  • Developing Coping Skills
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation Techniques

Experience Transformative Recovery at the We Level Up Treatment Center.

See our authentic success stories. Get inspired. Get the help you deserve.

We Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis TherapyWe Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis TherapyWe Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Therapy

Hotline (844) 597-1011

Start a New Life

Begin with a free call to an addiction & behavioral health treatment advisor. Learn more about our dual-diagnosis programs. The We Level Up treatment center network delivers recovery programs that vary by each treatment facility. Call to learn more.

  • Personalized Care
  • Caring Accountable Staff
  • World-class Amenities
  • Licensed & Accredited
  • Renowned w/ 100s 5-Star Reviews

We’ll Call You

Search We Level Up Most Effective Bipolar Disorder Treatment and Symptoms, Mental Health Topics & Resources
  1. Reilly-Harrington NA et al. A tool to predict suicidal ideation and behavior in bipolar disorder: The Concise Health Risk Tracking Self-Report. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2016;192:212. Learn More: Bipolar Disorder Treatment
  2. Bipolar and related disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016. Learn More: Bipolar Disorder Treatment
  3. Bipolar disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016. Learn More: Bipolar Disorder Treatment
  4. Bipolar disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016. Learn More: Bipolar Disorder Treatment
  5. Bipolar disorder in children and teens. National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016. Learn More: Bipolar Disorder Treatment
  6. Bipolar disorder. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016. Learn More: Bipolar Disorder Treatment
  7. AskMayoExpert. Bipolar disorder. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016. Learn More: Bipolar Disorder Treatment
  8. Suppes T, et al. Bipolar disorder in adults: Clinical features. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016. Learn More: Bipolar Disorder Treatment
  9. Axelson D, et al. Pediatric bipolar disorder: Overview of choosing treatment. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016. Learn More: Bipolar Disorder Treatment
  10. Birmaher B. Pediatric bipolar disorder: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and course. Accessed Dec. 2, 2016. Learn More: Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Table of Contents