Can Bipolar Disorder Be Cured?

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Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that can cause dramatic mood swings. Someone with bipolar disorder may experience highs and lows, known as mania and depression respectively, that are far more pronounced than the ups and downs most people typically experience.

It is estimated that 4.4% of adults in the United States experience bipolar disorder at some point in their lives. If you or a loved one have bipolar disorder, you may wonder whether the condition can be cured or how you can find relief from the symptoms.

While bipolar disorder cannot be cured, the symptoms can be managed with therapy and medication.

This article explores the various treatment options for bipolar disorder that can help you achieve stability, including psychotherapy, medication, additional therapies, and lifestyle changes.

Can Bipolar Disorder Be Cured?

Right now, there’s no cure for bipolar disorder, but a lot of people are able to achieve stability with treatment, says Aimee Daramus, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and author of “Understanding Bipolar Disorder.”

"Achieving stability is possible for most people, but it can often be a long and frustrating journey of experimenting with different medications, being in supportive therapy, and redesigning your lifestyle," Dr. Daramus explains.

This process can take several months, or even years, but it is possible if you cooperate and collaborate with your healthcare providers.

Treatments for Bipolar Disorder

Below, Dr. Daramus elaborates on some of the treatment options that can help with bipolar disorder, including:

  • Therapy
  • Medication
  • Neurotherapeutics
  • Support groups


There are several forms of psychotherapy that have been shown to be helpful with bipolar disorder. Two of these include:

Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT)

This type of psychotherapy has an evidence base to strongly support its use as a form of therapy for bipolar disorder if available:

  • It provides psycho-education regarding the illness.
  • It uses mood and activity tracking to promote consistent daily routines.
  • It helps regulate sleep-wake cycles and circadian rhythms.
  • It identifies and works on resolving interpersonal problem areas, and explores grief for the loss of the healthy self.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT can also be helpful for managing bipolar disorder. It involves helping patients recognize and modify the link between maladaptive thoughts and mood symptoms, uses exercises to identify and modify maladaptive thoughts and behaviors, and helps with learning strategies to detect new mood episodes. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) are two related forms of psychotherapy that may also be helpful.

Therapy can help you identify the beginnings of a depressive, manic, or hypomanic episode and work with your therapist, prescriber, and support system so you can get the help you need.


These are some of the types of medication that can help with bipolar disorder:

  • Mood stabilizers, which are the most common type of medication for bipolar disorder. They're effective in preventing and managing mood episodes. Lithium is the most common primary mood stabilizer. Although it is often effective, it requires monitoring of blood levels as well as other functions, including your kidney and thyroid.
  • Anticonvulsants: Certain anticonvulsants, which are also called antiseizure medications, have mood stabilizing properties. Valproic acid (depakote) and lamotrigine (lamictal) are two of the most common.
  • Antidepressants, which can help with depressive episodes but often need to be used in combination with mood stabilizers or be avoided, as they can potentially trigger manic episodes.
  • Antipsychotics, which can help control symptoms of mania, depression, as well as symptoms of psychosis such as hallucinations and delusions that may accompany mood episodes.


Sometimes, patients with bipolar disorder do not adequately respond to psychotherapy and medications. Neurotherapeutic interventions are administered through devices that impact brain circuitry. There are several including:

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): ECT is a procedure in which a small amount of electricity is administered to the brain under anesthesia. This causes a brief, controlled seizure. A course of ECT can sometimes be effective for depressive or manic episodes that have been refractory to conventional treatment.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): TMS is a procedure where magnetic fields are administered to certain areas of the brain and can potentially be helpful for certain mood symptoms.

Light therapy: Sometimes, people with mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, have a seasonal pattern to their symptoms, often with depressive symptoms worsening in the shorter winter months. Bright light therapy may be helpful with seasonal depression.

Support Groups

Support groups or other mental health communities can help members provide each other with mutual support and share a common understanding of what it can be like to live with bipolar disorder. 

Aimee Daramus, PsyD

It's important to be around other people who know what it's like, so you can feel understood.

— Aimee Daramus, PsyD

Social support can always be helpful when you're managing a mental health condition. It can often be difficult to explain what having bipolar disorder feels like to someone who does not understand it.

Coping Strategies

According to Dr. Daramus, these are some strategies that can help you cope with bipolar disorder:

  • Take your medication as prescribed: It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and take your medication regularly as prescribed. Don’t stop taking it—even if you feel fine—without talking to your healthcare provider first. Stay in touch with your healthcare provider and let them know if you’re experiencing any side effects.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule: Lack of sleep or irregular sleeping habits can aggravate the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Maintain a regular sleep schedule and get adequate sleep every day.
  • Maintain healthy relationships: Having healthy relationships can be challenging. However, relationship stress, particularly with those you are intimately involved with, can be destabilizing for your illness.
  • Tell loved ones how they can support you: In addition to offering emotional support, you can also ask your loved ones for other forms of help. For instance, if you feel a manic episode coming on, you can ask a trusted friend or family member to monitor your spending, so you don’t overspend. Or, if you feel a depressive episode coming on, you can ask them to check in on you regularly.
  • Find productive outlets for your energy and emotions: You will probably have boundless amounts of energy during a manic episode. Find productive outlets that you can channel this energy toward, such as work projects or hobbies you enjoy. Exercise can also be a helpful way to use some of your energy and can have its own mood benefits. During a depressive episode, creative activities like music, art, or craft can help you express your emotions.
  • Try meditation: Meditation and mindfulness exercises can help you manage a variety of the feelings you may experience as part of your illness, such as sadness, guilt, and helplessness.
  • Avoid substances: Substances like alcohol, tobacco, and drugs can interfere with your medication and trigger mood episodes, so it’s important to stop using them and focus on treatment.

A Word From Verywell

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that unfortunately does not have a cure yet, so treatment requires consistent commitment.

While finding the right treatment for you can take some time and effort, it’s possible to achieve some degree of stability with the right combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and support.

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Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Sanjana Gupta
Sanjana is a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.