What role does a psychologist play in the treatment of bipolar disorder?
A psychologist can psycho-educate the bipolar disorder patient and their family members regarding the illness and the need for continuous treatment, help identify and develop strategies to cope with triggers of episodes, learn to manage stress, recognize and change unhealthy thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours to healthy ones, and develop a stable routine for sleep, exercise, and diet that enhances mood management.
How many sessions are required with a psychologist for bipolar disorder?
The number of sessions required varies depending on each person with bipolar disorder. It depends on how much support the patient needs to deal with the challenges that come as a matter of having bipolar disorder as well as other personal goals and issues, and how many sessions they need to learn to cope with their illness. Even after that, they may need follow-up sessions from time-to-time to learn to manage their triggers and maintain healthy lifestyle changes.
How does a psychologist help maintain adherence to treatment for bipolar disorder?
A patient with bipolar disorder may not necessarily understand the importance of continuing medications even when they are not currently experiencing an episode. A psychologist can psycho-educate them about it and help them understand the consequences and need for it, as well as work around any stigma or negative emotional associations they may have regarding continuing medications. In this way, bipolar disorder becomes manageable.
Can a bipolar disorder patient stop treatment with a psychologist?
When a bipolar disorder patient is on continuous medications treatment, and after having had sessions with a psychologist in which they have learnt more about their illness, the need for continuing medications, and learnt to cope with their illness as well as other emotional challenges, they may stop the sessions with the psychologist. However, they would be advised to keep having follow-up visits, even if after relatively longer intervals, to ensure they are able to maintain the treatment and lifestyle changes.