Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, so it requires lifelong treatment, even when the affected person feels fine. Treatment is usually guided by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional skilled in treating bipolar disorder. Treatment may include a combination of medication, therapy, and other treatments that may be necessary, such as rehabilitation from substance abuse.

Psychiatrists typically recommend medications as initial treatment to balance moods and control symptoms as quickly as possible. Once symptoms are under control, maintenance treatment is needed to manage bipolar disorder in the long term. Maintenance treatment is very important; without it, risk of relapse is higher, and there’s a greater chance that minor mood swings can turn into full-blown mania or depression.