CBT for Bipolar Affective Disorder
What is bipolar affective disorder?
Bipolar affective disorder is also known as manic depression. If you have this disorder, you’ll experience serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking and behaviour; from mania on one extreme to depression on the other. The cycles of bipolar disorder can last for days, weeks or months. Unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of bipolar disorder are so intense that they will interfere with your ability to function on a day-to-day basis.
Symptoms of mania include:
- Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic or extremely irritable
- Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about your abilities or powers
- Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
- Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up
- Having racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next
- Being highly distractible and unable to concentrate
- Impaired judgment and impulsiveness
- Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
- Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)
Symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling hopeless, sad, or empty
- Inability to experience pleasure
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Physical and mental sluggishness
- Appetite or weight changes
- Sleep problems
- Concentration and memory problems
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Are you struggling to cope with your bipolar affective disorder?
Bipolar affective disorder is a long-term problem, but it can be managed to prevent lapses and relapses. CBT Therapy is best conducted at well times to put preventative measures in place.
CBT Therapy and bipolar affective disorder
According to NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), to minimise the effects of bipolar affective disorder and work towards having the best quality of life, you’re likely to need medication. However, psychological and psychosocial interventions have an important part to play in managing your disorder, as do lifestyle changes and social support.
CBT is particularly helpful if your condition is stable, and will help you:
- Reduce the negative impact of bipolar manic depression
- Identify and correct habitual thoughts which lead to harmful conclusions
- Work on your skills of awareness, introspection and evaluation
- Achieve improved coping and reality testing skills
- Regulate your mood swings (where possible)
- Reduce the impact of your bipolar illness on you, your loved ones and your work colleagues
- Remain motivated to take medication
- Identify triggers and help reduce your chance of a relapse