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bipolar disorder, talk therapy

Talk therapy, also called psychotherapy, can be very effective yet this type of treatment is not often used when it comes to treating bipolar disorder. This disorder includes both manic ups and depressive downs, and the most common treatment for this disorder is a drug called lithium. In fact this drug was considered so effective when it was first available on the market that many mental health professionals use it as the first line of treatment. Today talk therapy is used for a wide range of mental disorders and conditions, but it is rarely used with bipolar disorder patients and this can be a big mistake. Too often professionals reach for a prescription pad in order to solve a problem when other methods may be just as effective.

Talk therapy does not have any dangerous side effects that can be a risk with drugs to treat bipolar disorder, and mental health professionals are starting to change their views on using this therapy. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania associate professor of psychiatry Holly A. Swartz, M.D explained this change in the journal called Focus. Swartz said “Toward the end of the 20th century, it became increasingly apparent that medication offered only partial relief from bipolar disorder. Treatment with pharmacologic interventions alone was associated with disappointingly low rates of remission, high rates of recurrence, residual symptoms, and psychosocial impairment.. Gradually, the field moved from conceptualizing bipolar disorder as a disorder requiring only medication to an illness that, like many chronic disorders, is best treated using a combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy.” Do you think talk therapy should be used before drugs are prescribed? Why or why not?