Bipolar disorder is a long-term illness.There have been effective medications for bipolar disorder yet many patients still experience episode recurrences and relapse. The cause of the episode recurrence and relapse could be due to medication non-compliance, alcohol and drug use, poor daily functioning and high-stress levels. These symptoms may cause some discomfort and interference with day to day activities. To improve treatment outcomes and quality of life for patients suffering from bipolar, psychotherapy and psychosocial interventions are used in addition to medication.
Initially,psychoeducation helps patient understand the severity and symptoms of the illness. Their ability to understand the symptoms may vary over time. The psychologist or psychiatrist gradually explains the facts about the illness which helps in reinforcing the patient about his role in dealing and treating his persistent illness. They may have difficulty in accepting the illness which may minimize the patient’s need for continuing the treatment.
In Bipolar disorder, consistency to the treatment plans can improve the patient’s health status. However, their uncertain nature takes the form of non-compliance to medication and other treatments which is a major cause of relapse. Thus, with the help of counseling, patients, and family members can benefit from understanding the role of stressors,patterns of mood, regular activity, and sleep.
Counseling can play an important role in teaching bipolar patients about their disorder and helping them deal with adjustment difficulties. Counseling can help patients cope with their everyday stressors which helps to regulate their thoughts, moods and activities and hence, it helps them to be prepared to manage between-episode symptoms. Counseling also helps in adaptation to the illness. It helps with regulation of patient’s self-esteem and management of other psychosocial issues.
Episodes of mania or depression often leave patients with emotional instability, social impairment, family and academic issues, occupational and financial problems. During manic episodes, for example, patients may splurge unwisely, damage important relationships, lose jobs or may commit reckless sexual behaviors’. Following mood episodes, patients may require counseling in addressing the psychosocial consequences of their actions. They may experience difficulties in their interpersonal relationships, cognition, work, living conditions and other medical or health related needs. Thus, counseling helps them to address such issues. For example, some patients may require assistance in scheduling absenteeism at work or other responsibilities. While in their depressive or manic state, others may require encouragement to avoid major life changes. Therefore, Counseling helps them to set realistic and attainable goals for themselves in terms of desirable level of functioning.
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