Family Therapy for Bipolar Disorder

by | Sep 4, 2023 | Therapy

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic mental health condition characterized by extreme shifts in mood and energy levels. It was initially referred to as “manic depression.” Bipolar disorder includes episodes of mania, hypomania, and depression.

Family therapy for bipolar disorder can assist you in gaining control over mood episodes by addressing the psychosocial setting in which your symptoms occur.

To support the work of the people working on, we may receive compensation if you sign up for online counseling through the links provided.

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How to Recognize Bipolar Disorder?

If you have bipolar disorder, you can experience mood swings that range from highly energetic and euphoric behavior, known as manic episodes, to deeply sad, hopeless, and despairing phases, known as depressive episodes.

You may have increased energy, feel overjoyed, and be particularly chatty during a hypomanic or manic episode. You may also struggle to make sound decisions and engage in risky behavior. In contrast, during a depressive episode, you may feel depressed, useless, hopeless, constantly tired, and unable to sleep.

Bipolar disorder’s dramatic mood fluctuations can impact your well-being, family life, relationships, productivity, and every other aspect of your life.

What Is the Cause of Bipolar Disorder?

The exact causes of bipolar disorder are unknown. However, it is believed that genetics and family history, environmental factors, and the brain may increase the likelihood of developing BD.

The Role of Family Therapy in Treating Bipolar Disorder?

Extreme alternations between episodes of depressive lows and manic highs in bipolar disorder can be devastating not just to you but also to your loved ones.

Your family members may struggle to understand and manage your sudden and extreme mood swings, risky behaviors, and substance abuse. These challenges may create tension, conflict, and strained relationships within the family.

Family therapy for bipolar disorder can provide a safe setting where family members can improve communication, better understand the condition, establish appropriate boundaries, and support a member in need.

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Benefits of Family Therapy for Bipolar Disorder

Family therapy, or family-focused therapy, is based on the premise that problems should be addressed with the entire family rather than individually.

Having a family member with bipolar disorder is a problem that cannot be treated independently, as bipolar disorder is likely to have a detrimental impact on the rest of the family. Family therapy offers support, psychoeducation, and coping strategies to people affected by BD and their families.

Family Therapy Leads to Improved Communication

Family counseling can help improve communication and reduce tensions among family members. Your therapist can help you learn communication skills that promote active listening, openness, and a non-judgmental atmosphere. They can help you identify the ways that each member of the family contributes to the family’s issues and come up with positive solutions.

Family Therapy Provides Education

Family therapy for bipolar disorder can be a great place to understand this condition better, identify its triggers, and recognize the symptoms. This increased knowledge can reduce stigma and misconceptions, promote empathy, and foster support within your family.

Family Therapy Offers Coping Strategies

Family therapy for bipolar disorder can provide you and your family with helpful coping strategies for managing stress, mood fluctuations, and challenging behaviors.

For example, self-care strategies such as keeping track of their symptoms, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, relaxing, practicing meditation, and staying away from alcohol and drugs have been shown to help people with BD.


Getting the right therapy can help you control your symptoms and have a meaningful life. However, bipolar disorder impacts not just you but your entire family as well. While it does not replace individual treatment, family therapy can be a valuable complement, supporting you and your loved ones.


To support the work of the people working on, we may receive compensation if you sign up for online counseling through the links provided.

Looking for a therapist? Get matched with a therapist today.


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