Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) to prevent further episodes

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

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) aims to help you understand the triggers for self-harm and suicidal thinking, and to learn different ways of coping. DBT has been adapted for young people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and shows some promise as a treatment.

Standard dialectical behaviour therapy for adolescents includes:

  • weekly skills training groups
  • weekly individual therapy
  • parent groups
  • telephone coaching to help you use the skills learnt in therapy in day-to-day situations
  • weekly consultation team for DBT therapists

There is greater focus on mood changes, including monitoring of mood-changes using diary cards. Your family should usually also be involved. As part of your treatment, you should also receive psychoeducation about bipolar disorder.

As bipolar disorder in young people is relatively rare, there may not be sufficient numbers of young people with bipolar disorder in any one area to run group-based skills training or parent groups. In this case, skills training and work with your parents or carers may be offered on an individual level instead.

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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