Question: How do I know that I need medication for bipolar disorder, and can I be treated with medication alone?
Answer: Bipolar disorder is an illness which definitely requires treatment. And we know quite for sure that the best treatment is the treatment that includes not only medication but also counseling or psychotherapy.
Now what the medication does is that it prevents future episodes of depression and mania or mood swings. And that's a good start but people do much better if they get counseling or psychotherapy, and a simple way of understanding counseling is that this is what people need to help them learn how to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder that don't respond to treatment with medication.
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