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Management of bipolar disorder is based upon the type and/or subtype and falls under specific criteria outlined within the DSM-IV-TR and the ICD-10. There are different types of management techniques used to treat and monitor bipolar disorder.

The techniques range from pharmacological to psychotherapeutic. Individuals also use self-help to pursue recovery. Hospitalization is typically required for bipolar I. Hospitalization may be voluntary or involuntary. Long-term inpatient residence is less common in comparison to deinstitutionalization.

Psychotherapy helps to alleviate core symptoms, recognize episode triggers, reduce negative emotions, recognize symptoms before recurrence, and encourage the practice of factors that lead to remission. Cognitive behavioral therapy, family-focused therapy, and psychoeducation are the most common and effective psychotherapies used to treat bipolar disorder.

The administering of medication helps to treat bipolar disorder for the purpose of stabilizing mood. Medication works best by reversing manic and/or depressive episodes and aids in preventing relapses.

The gold standard for treating bipolar disorder is lithium, which helps to stabilize mood, treat acute manic episodes, and prevent relapses. Treatment with lithium has been linked to reducing the risk of suicide and death in people with bipolar disorder. In addition, short courses of benzodiazepine may be used to support mood stabilizing objectives.