About Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorder is more common than you might think. In the United States alone, more than 10 million people Bipolar Disorder have the disorder. But with the right treatment, individuals can get and stay well. The Path to Wellness Managed Care Insurance Most health insurance policies cover the services of MFTs so long as the services are “medically necessary.” This typically Bipolar disorder can occur at any age, but usually begins includes coverage for face-to-face sessions for a diagnosable before age 35. It often runs in families; but even if you have mental health problem. Such coverage may be limited. Please a genetic predisposition, you may not get it. Sometimes a contact your health insurance company for detailed information about the coverage available to you and your family. stressful live event–such as a chronic illness, relationship problem, or drug use can trigger the first episode. Resources: The biggest risk of bipolar disorder is not getting treatment because symptoms typically worsen. Sometimes people The Board of Behavioral Sciences is who feel manic (with an elevated mood) won’t seek responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) in treatment because they don’t think anything is wrong. And the State of California. those who are depressed may find it hard to muster the energy. Board of Behavioral Sciences www.bbs.ca.gov • (916) 574-7830 But with courage and support, they can get better. With the right combination of medications and psychotherapy, those who suffer from bipolar disorder can learn to manage The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists is dedicated to advancing the this chronic condition—much like a person with Diabetes profession as an art and science, to maintaining does—to live a healthy, productive life. high standards of professional ethics, to upholding the qualifications for the profession and to expanding the recognition and awareness of the profession. California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists www.camft.org • (858) 292-2638 Brought to you by the California Association of ™ Marriage and Family Therapists Offering Extra Support About Marriage and Family Therapists Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are relationship experts. They work with individuals, couples, families, children, adolescents, and the elderly, providing support and perspective as patients struggle with life’s challenges. Licensed by the State of California, MFTs are psychotherapists who are uniquely trained and credentialed to assess, diagnose, and treat a wide range of issues so individuals achieve more adequate, satisfying, and productive relationships and social What is Bipolar Disorder? What You Can Do Right Now adjustment. Bipolar disorder—also known as manic depression—is a complex, Get educated. Become an expert on the disorder, as well as chronic psychiatric disorder and medical illness of the brain. Most effective medications and therapies so you are an informed The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists people with bipolar disorder experience periods of extremely consumer and supportive partner on the road to wellness. (CAMFT) is an independent statewide non-profit organization elevated mood (mania and hypomania), as well as periods of made up of nearly 30,000 practicing marriage and family Develop coping strategies. What helps protect individuals therapists. CAMFT is dedicated to advancing marriage and depression and periods of full or partial recovery. from episodes? Medication, a structured schedule (including family therapy as a healing art, science, and mental health regular sleep), and a personal support system, among other profession. In fact, CAMFT sponsors TherapistFinder.comTM During manic periods, they may feel productive, sociable, and things. Abstaining from alcohol and recreational drug use is key. so Californians can gain access to qualified local experts who self-confident (although some say they feel irritated and hostile). can help. During a depressive episode, they may feel low, sad, or disinterested Be supportive and willing to listen. If someone you love has with poor concentration and low energy. The type, severity, and bipolar disorder, they need you to listen to their feelings and help them access a support system that can help. But caregivers ™ duration of these episodes vary widely among individuals and leads also need to nourish themselves and establish a loving distance. to the diagnosis of various subtypes of the disorder. Connect with other families. Join a support group to get It’s easy, convenient, and private. Why It’s Difficult to Diagnose emotional support from others who are managing their grief Most people with bipolar disorder experience more depression and frustration while living with this disorder. Learn how to Seeking a Marriage and Family Therapist or other mental become a partner in the process of recovery. health professional to assist with life’s difficulties is a sign of than manic periods. When episodes of mood elevation are subtle or courage and a step in the right direction. Always ask about brief, professionals may not catch it. Also, those with the disorder Heed talk of suicide. Suicide is a real risk, both during periods a therapist’s special areas of expertise (i.e. anger management, typically experience other non-mood disorders such as anxiety, of mania and depression. Autism, relationship counseling) before you engage them to substance abuse, attention problems, and medical problems. ensure it’s the right fit for you. Find the right therapist. Use short telephone interviews How to Treat It with potential therapists to shop for a good fit. Ask about TherapistFinderTM is a California-wide interactive, online availability, fees, if they accept your health insurance, and how directory that is user-friendly and searchable by name, An accurate diagnosis by a qualified professional is key, particularly much experience they have treating individuals with bipolar location, and area of expertise. It’s your introduction to one or because medications that are typically used for other illnesses with disorder and their families. more qualified psychotherapists who hold a California license. overlapping symptoms can be harmful for those with bipolar disorder. Along with medication, psychotherapy focuses on learning how to cope with the illness, changing ineffective patterns, and recognizing factors that trigger episodes to prevent relapses. By learning how to take responsibility for their recovery, individuals can develop lifelong health and wellness strategies.