Bipolar Disorder Treatment in London & Online

Emotional instability, episodes of depression, and periods of elevated mood are some of the core characteristics of bipolar disorder, or manic depression, as it was once referred to. The symptoms of this mental issue affect all aspects of life and ultimately lead to a general worsening of well-being and life stability. When you consider that around 1.3% of the UK population has bipolar disorder and that in the UK alone and the financial toll of £6.43 billion for the 2018–2019 period, it becomes obvious how important it is to address this issue.

At Therapy Central, our bipolar disorder specialists will help you understand and alleviate the symptoms of bipolar disorder. With the help of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), EMDR therapy, and other treatment approaches, you can learn to cope better with depressive or manic episodes while also learning how to prevent them from happening again.

If you experience any bipolar symptoms, don’t hesitate – contact us for a free 15-minute consultation and schedule an in-person or online therapy session.

Discover Bipolar Therapy

What is Bipolar Disorder?

The core of bipolar disorder are oscillations between episodes of mania and depression. Symptoms of mania and depression can interchange in a relatively short period (e.g. one day), referred to as a mixed mood episode.

Typically, a person who suffers from BD will experience longer episodes of depression, separated by shorter manic episodes [1]. Periods of apparent well-being are also possible, but without treatment, they usually end up in a new mood episode (either depressive or manic).

Some people mainly suffer from mania, with shorter intervals of depression. Others experience intense depression, with relatively rare manic outbursts. Certain individuals mainly suffer from severe depressive episodes while occasionally experiencing hypomania (less extreme mania). There’s also the so-called “rapid cycling” bipolar, when a person experiences more than four mood episodes per year [1].

In the most severe cases, people with bipolar disorder may become psychotic – experiencing symptoms like hallucinations, bizarre thinking, disorganised behaviour, or intense suicidal tendencies. These can occur in both depressive and manic modalities.

What are the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder?

The main signs of bipolar disorder relate to depression and mania (or hypomania). Let’s have a look at their signs separately:

What are the main symptoms of mania?

The essence of mania is positive mood and euphoria. Still, it can also take over more irritable and less positive vibes. Here are the main signs of mania:

  • Inflated self-esteem (sometimes to the extent of grandiosity)
  • Increased sociability and talkativeness
  • Distractibility
  • Risky and reckless behaviour (e.g. indulging in risky business endeavours; sexual promiscuousness)
  • Racing thoughts and flight of ideas (e.g. feeling struck by a stream of thoughts you cannot “catch”; being unable to stick with one train of thought)

Grandiosity is practically synonymous with mania. If you are experiencing a manic episode, you may seem arrogant, pompous, and narcissistic to others.

Increased sociability means that you become more extroverted than usual. So it’s all about the change compared to your personal “average”.

A manic episode lasts at least one week. While the manic episode lasts, individuals rarely sleep or sleep very little. Sometimes they become very motivated and commit to goal-directed activities (e.g. solving a challenging problem; writing a book).

If you are experiencing a manic episode, you might feel “on the top of the world”, very optimistic about the future and your abilities, with an increased sexual drive. At social gatherings, you might feel like “the life of the party”, engaging in contact with numerous people.

What is the difference between mania and hypomania?

While a manic episode lasts at least one week, a hypomanic episode can be somewhat shorter-lasting at least four days but less than a week. Hypomania is a less intense version of mania. Also, mania results in a greater general impairment (i.e. cognitive, emotional, behavioural) when compared to hypomania.

What are the main symptoms of depression?

An episode of depression lasts at least two weeks. If you’re experiencing one, you might notice symptoms such as chronic fatigue, lack of motivation, and lack of interest.

Depression within BD can differ from persistent unipolar depression (i.e. when there are no intermittent episodes of mania or hypomania). Suppose you experience depression as part of bipolar disorder. In that case, this mood episode might also include some symptoms of mania, even though your general mood is melancholic. These are the mixed mood episodes we mentioned before.

How is Bipolar Different from Depression?

In a nutshell, BD involves episodes of depression and mania (or hypomania), while depression is unipolar, so to say. In other words, unipolar depression doesn’t go to the other extreme – mania.

What is the difference between Bipolar I and Bipolar II?

To be diagnosed with bipolar I, an individual only meets the criteria for a manic episode. Episodes of hypomania and depression both have to occur for bipolar II diagnosis. Nevertheless, depression is very prevalent among people who have bipolar I.

What are the early signs of bipolar?

Early signs of bipolar can appear up to seven years before the subsequent development of full bipolar [2]. However, the early onset period is usually shorter (e.g. around two years).

It is essential to discuss these early signs, as they can help us prevent the full onset of the disorder. If you experience some of these early signs of bipolar, don’t hesitate to contact a mental health professional:

    • Irritability
    • Aggressiveness
    • Hyperactivity
    • Heightened mood/elation
    • Mood swings
    • Sleep disturbances

You probably noticed that these signs are very unspecific, meaning that they can also “announce” other mental disorders. The most important thing will be not to self-diagnose if you notice any of them but to seek help and act pre-emptively.

How is Bipolar Disorder Maintained?

Like other mental disorders, bipolar will maintain itself by starting a vicious cycle of euphoria and melancholia. After a relatively long period of depression, you will start feeling better, sometimes a lot better, to the point of slipping into a manic episode, which often ends with a complete breakdown. The neurophysiology of manic episodes is such that a breakdown is inevitable. Sooner or later, the brain and the body simply shut down, which is when depression ensues.

Moreover, it is not unusual for people to be ashamed of what they did while in a manic episode. Needless to say, this only fosters depression and lack of confidence. For instance, even if you usually are shy and introverted, you might become very extroverted and promiscuous during the manic episode. When the euphoria and high energy eventually subside, you may remember the things you did with deep regret, guilt, and shame.

Finally, the vicious circle is made worse by associated issues such as substance use. You might feel tempted to resort to self-medication, especially with depression symptoms. Mania will make you more impulsive and irrational, leading to excessive alcohol and drug consumption.

Bipolar disorder - Viciou Cycle

What Causes Bipolar?

As is the case with practically all mental disorders, there are many factors to consider if we want to find proper explanations.

Genetics and Bipolar

BD has a strong genetic component, and a family history of bipolar is a significant risk factor [3]. Many people who suffer from this disorder have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, child) who also has it. However, a sizable group of people suffer from bipolar without having any family history of BD.

Non-genetic Factors and Bipolar

Here’s a list of the most critical non-genetic risk factors for bipolar:

      • Stressful life events
      • Unemployment
      • Single marital status
      • Low income
      • Dysfunctional relationship between parents
      • Traumatic brain injury
      • Postnatal period in women
      • Epilepsy

These factors only increase the risk and most likely don’t cause the disorder, at least not on their own. We still don’t have a complete picture of what causes the disorder. So even if you have a family history of BD or suffered a traumatic brain injury, there is no reason to diagnose yourself with bipolar. It would be much better to act pre-emptively if you notice some of the early signs of bipolar we mentioned and to generally pay attention to your mental health.

How is Bipolar treated?

There are many ways to treat bipolar. Nowadays, the medication for bipolar is fairly accessible and effective in treating certain symptoms. Bipolar medication is also crucial in the most severe cases when there is a high risk of suicide. However, research has shown that mood stabilisers, on their own, are not enough and that a combination of mood stabilisers and psychotherapy for bipolar is much more effective [4].

CBT for Bipolar

CBT for bipolar is perhaps one of the most effective ways to treat BD [5]. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for bipolar disorder specifically focuses on:

      • Collaborative goal setting
      • Therapeutic alliance
      • Cognitive restructuring
      • Problem-solving techniques
      • Psychoeducation and self-monitoring

One of the trademarks of CBT is collaborative goal setting – you will discuss therapeutic goals and the type of goals you’d like to achieve with your therapist. These usually involve alleviating symptoms or replacing old coping mechanisms with new, more functional coping strategies. For example, substance use is a frequent unhelpful coping strategy that can be replaced with a more functional one. A CBT therapist will offer many ways to manage stress, such as breathing relaxation techniques, muscle relaxation, or meditation.

Individuals who have BD often start to feel as if their diagnosis determines their whole being. Your CBT therapist will help you gain a more realistic stance towards bipolar by separating you as a person from the disorder.

Bipolar affects all aspects of one’s life, so CBT for BD also includes concrete problem-solving techniques adapted to individual needs. Unemployment, for instance, can be a problem for those who have BD. In this case, the therapist and client will develop a specific plan that would include the following elements: searching for relevant jobs, writing a list of the best jobs; writing a CV; writing proposal letters; role-playing a job interview; applying for jobs.

DBT for Bipolar

DBT was developed from CBT by introducing elements of mindfulness and meditative practices to treat people who have borderline personality disorder. DBT is also an efficient way to treat BD, as it focuses on the following aspects:

      • Self-care
      • Emotion regulation and distress tolerance
      • Interpersonal effectiveness

EMDR for Bipolar

EMDR stands for eye movement desensitisation reprocessing. EMDR addresses unprocessed memories, which must be reprocessed to improve one’s well-being. EMDR has two crucial components: recollecting distressing images and memories; while engaging in a completely unrelated activity (e.g. eye movement).

There is evidence that EMDR can be helpful for bipolar patients who also suffered intense trauma. At our clinic, you can work with an EMDR therapy specialist.

Psychodynamic approaches for treating Bipolar

It is possible to treat BD with various psychodynamic approaches (classical psychoanalysis, self psychology, group psychodynamic therapy, to mention only a few).

Psychodynamic therapy involves uncovering unconscious personality dynamics, often by analysing the early life experiences.

What’s the best therapy approach for Bipolar?

CBT for bipolar and related approaches (i.e. DBT, mindfulness-based therapy) are the most researched and have the most evidence behind them [5]. Numerous studies point to positive effects of CBT in individuals who suffer from BD, such as reducing symptoms and diminished risk of relapse.

How long does Treatment for Bipolar last?

Full recovery from bipolar can be a long process. It may take a lot of time to learn how to manage the symptoms of bipolar. However, with concentrated work on this issue, progress can become visible relatively quickly.

For instance, with 14 sessions of individual CBT for bipolar, you’re likely to see significant reductions in the intensity of symptoms [5]. Similarly, 12 weekly sessions of DBT for bipolar can reduce depression and emergency room visits in individuals with BD.

The exact length of treatment for bipolar depends on numerous factors. Severe cases of BD usually necessitate longer treatment.

Does online therapy work for Bipolar?

It is also possible to treat bipolar disorder with online therapy. Preliminary results show that this intervention can improve the overall quality of life of BD patients [6]. In other words, online therapy is an effective way to treat BD. It’s especially useful if you’re otherwise unable or simply don’t want to attend in-person therapy, for instance, due to COVID-19 concerns, or if you want to complement in-person therapy with occasional online sessions.

Online bipolar psychoeducation interventions are also available. They are instrumental in providing reliable and helpful information to those in need.

What are the benefits of Therapy for Bipolar?

There are many ways in which burnout therapy can improve your well-being:

At Therapy Central, our therapists draw upon therapy approaches that are shown to be effective for treating GAD, the most popular being CBT. After the initial assessment, your therapist will discuss with you the approach that they think will be the most helpful to you. You can also request a specific therapy approach you would like your therapist to use.

      • Reduced frequency of depressive and manic episodes
      • Increased awareness of the triggers of mood episodes
      • Faster recovery from depression and mania when they do occur
      • Less fear about mania and depression
      • Improved professional functioning
      • Higher quality and stability of intimate relationships
      • Self-acceptance and mindfulness

Tips to get you started Managing Bipolar

Finding professional help for bipolar is the best way to manage this disorder. To start managing bipolar, it’s helpful to be aware of the main signs of BD – mood swings, intense euphoria, depression that doesn’t go away, to mention only a few.

There are also a few things to keep in mind that might help you increase your general well-being and help you start managing bipolar:

      • Get enough rest and sleep
      • Eat healthily
      • Physical exercise

You simply can’t go wrong with these, but equally, it’s unlikely that you’ll see long-lasting results without professional help.

Our therapists specialised in Bipolar Therapy

All of our therapists are qualified psychologists, psychotherapists or counsellors registered with several professional bodies. These include the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the British Psychological Society (BPS), as well as, BACP, UKCP and BABCP.

Our therapists use CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), psychodynamic, humanistic and integrative approaches tailored around your needs to help you deal with your unique challenges and reach your goals.

Dr. Sheetal Dandgey

Clinical Director, Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Anna Hovris

Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Samantha Harris

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Karin Kihlberg

Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Yasmeen Jaina

Counselling Psychologist

Tatum Aspeling

Clinical Psychologist

Dr Gail Freedman

Counselling Psychologist

Marisa Poggioli

Counselling Psychologist

Dr. Lynelle Roberts

Counselling Psychologist

Dr Sidra Chaudhry

Counselling Psychologist

Mary O'Byrne

Psychotherapist & Supervisor

Maryam Keshavarz

Psychotherapist

Yifat Hollander

Counselling Psychologist

Stacie Hill

CBT Psychotherapist

Dr Margot Brink

Counselling Psychologist

Dr Nicholas Sarantakis

Counselling Psychologist

Imogen Hg-Johnson

Psychotherapist

Anna Orlowska

Counselling Psychologist

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Testimonials

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The Therapist l had was absolutely brilliant with me. He had patience with me and bit by bit l gained a little of confidence to try and get out and go on the buses.

He deserves an award and if l could l would in the beginning l thought how is this person going to get me back on public transport but he did he gave me the confidence l lost and now have back.

I will never forget him and what he has done for me. I wish him nothing but the best in his life.

(Patricia)

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My therapist was excellent. I highly recommend her and I am truly thankful for my sessions, I left feeling confident and positive.

The mental tools, systems and approaches I have been able to develop with her and use in my life have been hugely beneficial.

Thank you to all at Therapy Central.

(John)

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The Therapist really gave me the space to talk and express my feelings and fears in a very comforting environment.

She was there not only to listen, but challenge my thinking, guide me during the uncertainty I was experiencing and give me useful and practical tips to improve my mental health and wellbeing. Highly recommended!

(George)

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Working with the therapist has been a life-changing experience. Each session has been invaluable, helping me gain a good understanding of CBT methodology enabling me to incorporate ways to combat stress and anxiety in my daily life.

The Therapist shows that she really cares and has the ability to make you feel calm whilst discussing any personal issue. 

(Richard)

Fees & Insurances

Therapy, Counselling and CBT sessions are 50 minutes long and are usually held at regular weekly time slots.

Free
15 Minute initial
Phone consultation

£75 -£95
Psychological Therapy/
Counselling (Self-funded)

£105 - £120
Couples Therapy/
Family Therapy

Covered by
Your Private Healthcare Insurance Provider

All of our therapists are registered with several insurance providers, such as AXA PPP, Simplyhealth, Aviva, Cigna (UK/US), Vitality and WPA. If you wish to use your personal or employee private healthcare insurance to cover your sessions, please highlight this in your contact form below.

Get started with Bipolar Therapy in London & Online

Here at Therapy Central we have therapists who can help you treat bipolar disorder. They will help you learn how to manage the symptoms of BD, how to reinterpret your past experiences with the condition, and how to prevent mood episodes in the future.

Bipolar disorder is no joke. It can be one of the most severe mental disorders, and it is unlikely to go away on its own. Ultimately, it is a problem that can only be solved with professional help. In conclusion, we have to talk about bipolar disorder, and we have to do it systematically – something our therapists at Therapy Central proudly do every day.

Get professional help and bipolar treatment in London & Online today. Contact us for a free 15 min consultation with a therapist to see if our help would fit your needs. You can also get in touch via email at info@therapy-central.com or call us at (+44) 020 348 82797.

COVID-19 notice: Online and Telephone bipolar counselling and CBT is also provided for continued care, support and safety. We’re here to help. No matter what.

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    FAQ

    What happens after I make an enquiry?

    After receiving your enquiry, we’ll contact you to organise a FREE phone consultation. You will tell us more about your specific circumstances and needs and ask any questions you have. Then, if you want to proceed with therapy or counselling, we’ll match you with the therapist(s) with the best expertise to help you with your challenges and send you a list of their available appointment slots. If you’re satisfied with one of these, we can then go ahead and book your first appointment. You can also request to work with a specific practitioner, and, depending on availability, we’ll try to accommodate this.

    What happens at my first appointment with the therapist?

    Your first session will likely be different from future appointments. You and your therapist will get to know each other and will begin to build a working alliance. It will be a chance to have the confidential space to express your circumstances, feelings and thoughts and being listened to with depth, attention, empathy and without judgement. Your therapist will likely ask you more about your reasons for seeking therapy and any symptoms you’re experiencing. You may also be asked questions about your past and the history of your issues, as well as how they currently impact your life in the present. Finally, your first session may be a powerful place to discuss what you would like to achieve with therapy and agree on the length, methods, and treatment approaches.

    Is online therapy effective?

    If you choose online over in-person therapy, rest assured that this has been proven to be just as effective as regular face to face therapy, and in some cases, even more effective. Also, choosing online therapy brings additional benefits, for example, avoiding long waiting times, greater flexibility with appointments, and you won’t need to travel to our practice. You can enjoy online therapy from the comfort of your home.

    How long the Therapy/counselling sessions last?

    Therapy/counselling sessions last 50 minutes and are held at regular weekly time slots. On occasions, we can allow some flexibility. You can discuss this with your therapist.

    Do you offer reduced rates/concessions?

    We offer low-cost rates at £60 per session to people with a low income, unemployed, students and NHS workers. Please highlight in your enquiry if you would like a concession rate and how you qualify for this. Depending on the availability of our therapists, we’ll do our best to accommodate your request.

    Do you have a cancellation policy?

    We have a 48 hours no-fee cancellation policy. However, you will be charged for sessions missed without giving the full notice.

    Our Practice in Central London

    Our comfortable and confidential therapy rooms are conveniently located 3 min walk from Oxford Circus station, in Central London (see map below). Change starts with Talking!

    References

    [1]Suppes, T., Dennehy, E. B., & Gibbons, E. W. (2000). The longitudinal course of bipolar disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61, 23-30.

    [2]Skjelstad, D. V., Malt, U. F., & Holte, A. (2010). Symptoms and signs of the initial prodrome of bipolar disorder: a systematic review. Journal of affective disorders, 126(1-2), 1-13.

    [3]Keck, P. E., Jr, McElroy, S. L., & Arnold, L. M. (2001). Bipolar disorder. The Medical clinics of North America, 85(3), 645–ix. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0025-7125(05)70334-5

    [4]Lam, D. H., McCRONE, P. A. U. L., Wright, K., & Kerr, N. (2005). Cost-effectiveness of relapse-prevention cognitive therapy for bipolar disorder: 30-month study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 186(6), 500-506.

    [5]Zaretsky, A., Lancee, W., Miller, C., Harris, A., & Parikh, S. V. (2008). Is cognitive-behavioural therapy more effective than psychoeducation in bipolar disorder?. The Canadian journal of psychiatry, 53(7), 441-448.

    [6]Murray, G., Leitan, N. D., Berk, M., Thomas, N., Michalak, E., Berk, L., … & Kyrios, M. (2015). Online mindfulness-based intervention for late-stage bipolar disorder: pilot evidence for feasibility and effectiveness. Journal of Affective Disorders, 178, 46-51.

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