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Not so, says Ellen Frank, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and director of the Depression and Manic Depression Prevention program at the medical center’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. We’re not so good at treating either bipolar I or bipolar II depression.” Cyclothymic disorder may seem milder yet, but by definition the diagnosis means that a person’s stable periods don’t last more than two months.
“If you can’t really count on whether you’re going to be excessively energetic or optimistic or excessively pessimistic and not able to get anything done—if you can’t count on that stability, it makes life extremely difficult,” Frank says.
Bipolar II is often seen as a milder or “softer” form of the illness than bipolar I. The manias of bipolar I disorder are very dramatic and get people’s attention and yes, people can do a lot of financial and interpersonal damage during mania, but we know how to treat mania quite well.
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Keep in mind that each person will respond to therapy and medications in different ways. However, there is often the need for CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), which has a focus on changing negative or angry thoughts to positive thoughts, as well as changing behaviors that promote anger.
A prescription that helps one person with bipolar disorder does not necessarily help the next. Therapy is also useful to help the client identify strengths and members of their support system.
That means they often wait 7 to 10 years for appropriate treatment.” There are some things no amount of revising can fix.