Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to prevent future bipolar episodes

Some evidence – there is enough evidence to indicate that this can be a helpful treatment option.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions (behaviour) are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle.

Unlike some other talking treatments, CBT deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past. CBT for bipolar disorder includes psychoeducation about bipolar disorder.

CBT adapted for the treatment of young people with bipolar disorder involves work both with you and your family. There is less evidence for CBT as a treatment to prevent future episodes in bipolar disorder than there is as a treatment for unipolar depression (depression that’s not part of bipolar disorder) 

You should be helped with: 

  • building consistent daily routines 
  • self-monitoring and coping and/or emotion management skills 
  • reducing negative thoughts (for example through mindfulness techniques to raise awareness of negative thinking) and managing feelings of guilt about things that happened during episodes of mania 
  • developing a balanced lifestyle 
  • self-esteem and social skills. 

Family help includes: 

  • social and communication training 
  • strengthening support networks for families 
  • improved parental self-care, self-esteem, and confidence in coping and therapeutic strategies. 

Treatments outlined on these webpages may not be available in every local area. It’s important that you discuss with your GP or mental health professional the treatment options available to you. You can also search for services near you on our Youth Wellbeing Directory and find out more about referral processes here.


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