Care Team Members You Should Have When You Struggle With Bipolar Disorder

When you have bipolar disorder, waking up every day can be a giant question mark. Will you be manic today? Will today be the start of a depressive episode? Or will you have a rare day of stability? It is an unpredictable and sometimes scary mental health disorder. Because your moods can be so extremely high or so extremely low, it is important that you have a care team in place that can help you when you experience these mood episodes. These care team members will also try to keep you as stable and functional as possible. Get to know what care team members you should have helping you with your bipolar disorder. Then, you can be sure you have the best care team possible going forward. 

A Counselor for Talk Therapy

Counseling services are an important part of the bipolar management process. Talk therapy can help you with your mental health disorder in a variety of ways. Having a safe and judgement-free space to speak your mind and express your feelings can be extremely beneficial in and of itself. 

On top of that, certain therapy modalities like cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical-behavioral therapy, and family focused therapy (among others) are highly beneficial for managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder as well as the other issues that can occur because of the disease (such as poor communication and interpersonal skills).

Counseling can help you build your self-awareness so you can better see when your moods are shifting as well as give you coping strategies to use when your moods become too high or too low. In this way, counseling can vastly improve your quality of life. 

A Psychiatric Practitioner for Medication Management

While a counselor can provide you with many benefits, they cannot prescribe you medications nor advise you on your medication management. For that, you need to have either a psychiatrist or a psychiatric nurse practitioner to provide you with medication management services.

Both psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners can prescribe your medications and manage them. They also do psychiatric evaluations that are used to diagnose your condition or conditions as well as assess your current mood state and stability. You will often meet with a psychiatric care practitioner only once a month or even less frequently if you are stable. If your moods are not at all stable, you will likely need more frequent appointments. 

Medications play a key role in the management and treatment of bipolar disorder. As such psychiatric care is a vital part of your care team. 

A Social Worker for Additional Resources

A therapist or counselor may focus on a specific approach to managing your bipolar disorder. Social workers tend to provide more broad and extensive services for mental health condition. They can provide talk therapy as well, but the focus is often different than with other mental health counselors. Social workers often focus the goals of therapy on integrating the person into society better, improving interpersonal skills, encouraging participation in support groups or other group activities, and in learning to deal with and overcome the stigma that having bipolar disorder can carry. 

If you need access to community resources such as disability services, housing services, or other public assistance programs, it is a social worker you will want to work with. They will help you connect with the right resources and can even guide you in the application process. Social workers provide a wide variety of services and help to support the individual with bipolar disorder in the context of society at large. 

Now that you know some of the important care team members that you should have when you struggle with bipolar disorder, you can find your care providers as soon as possible, such as at Front Street Clinic.