You should know that you need to take medication in order to treat your bipolar disorder. But the real key to success is in finding the right "Triangle of Professionals."
Triangle of Professionals is a term I use on my website devoted to bipolar disorder to describe your treatment team. Without the right Triangle of Professionals, and their performing their duties the best they can to take care of you and your needs, you will not receive the right care.
On the other hand, if you can find the right Triangle of Professionals (the best for you) – along with proper medication, of course -- you will be able to find success with your bipolar disorder.
Let's look at the duties of each person who makes up your treatment team:
Your doctor may have been the one who diagnosed your bipolar disorder in the first place; however, he may not be the one to follow up with you – he may turn those duties over to a psychiatrist.
He will still have other duties, though. Just as any other person who doesn't have bipolar disorder, you will still see your doctor for yearly physical examinations, flu shots, etc. In addition, some people have physical symptoms when they go into a bipolar depressive episode; such as: headaches, body aches; stomach aches, and the like.
Your doctor may help you with these physical symptoms. He may also help you by prescribing medication for other bipolar-related symptoms; such as: anxiety, stress, and insomnia.
In addition, there are some bipolar medications which require regular blood work to determine levels of the medication in your bloodstream, liver function, etc., and your doctor's office can help you in this area.
Your psychiatrist may have diagnosed you or you may have been referred to him by your doctor. He is the one who will follow your bipolar disorder, as well as diagnose your bipolar medications.
Usually, you will see your psychiatrist every two to three months.
If you go into a bipolar episode, it is your psychiatrist to whom you should turn, either by phone call or by visit.
Should you need to be hospitalized, your psychiatrist should be able to assist with this as well.
It is the therapist's job to help you deal with the issues surrounding daily living with bipolar disorder.
The therapist might use different types of therapy, depending on which type of therapist you choose: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Family Therapy, etc.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an attempt to re-correct the thoughts of someone with the disorder. For example, a depressed person might think, "I'm worthless," and suffer from problems with self-esteem. On the other hand, someone with mania would be just the opposite.
Family Therapy uses strategies to reduce the level of distress within the family that may either contribute to or result from the symptoms of the person's disorder.
Other therapies use other techniques to achieve the same ends; to help you be successful with your bipolar disorder.