Is there a cure for bipolar depression?

There is no cure that does not require ongoing treatment. However, many people do very well on mood stabilizing medications and may go for decades with few symptoms. Often it takes trying many different medications before the right medication is found for an individual patient. But be patient, usually an effective medication is found and someone may be relatively symptom free for many years. Many people live normal lives with the help of the right mood stabilizing medication. But almost everyone with bipolar I will require medication for much of their lives.
Sheri Van Dijk

While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, there are medications that can help to alleviate or even get rid of symptoms of depression. There are also psychological treatments that can help you learn to manage your emotions more effectively so that sadness doesn't turn into depression; and that can teach you to reduce symptoms of depression when they do arise.

The most common psychotherapies used to treat bipolar disorder are cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) and interpersonal social rhythm therapy (IPSRT). Both emphasize self-care (healthy eating and sleeping habits, exercise, avoiding mood-altering drugs and alcohol, taking medications as prescribed, etc.). CBT looks at the connection between your thoughts, emotions and feelings, and emphasizes how changing one of these can change the others. IPSRT focuses more on the relationships in your life and how these and the roles you have in your life influence your mood.

Recently, I have done research on a therapy called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which has demonstrated that DBT for bipolar disorder reduces symptoms of depression, improves self-awareness and self-efficacy, and improves one's ability to manage emotions (you can learn more about this treatment in my book, The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bipolar Disorder).

So, while there is no cure for bipolar depression, there are certainly many things you can do to treat the depression when it arises, and to make future episodes less likely.

There is no cure for bipolar depression. The imbalances in the brain cannot be permanently reversed and people who do not effectively treat their symptoms go on to have more episodes. A regimen of medication and preventative measures like adequate sleep and regular exercise can keep manic bipolar depressive episodes to a minimum. A combination of medication including mood balancers, a healthy lifestyle that avoids non-medical drugs and alcohol, and cognitive and behavioral therapy is the most effective form of lifelong bipolar treatment.

Continue Learning about Bipolar Depression (Manic Depression)

Bipolar Depression (Manic Depression)

Bipolar Depression (Manic Depression)

Bipolar depression (or manic depression) is another name for bipolar disorder, a psychiatric condition that causes severe mood swings. Symptoms of bipolar depression include severe sadness lasting two or more weeks, having little ...

energy and interest in activities. During manic episodes or mania, the person with bipolar depression has periods of high energy, extreme productivity, happiness, excitement and possible engagement in risky behaviors. Treatment for bipolar depression can vary and often includes a combination of therapy and medication.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.