People with bipolar disorder can influence their future moods through positive thinking and behaviour according to research published by psychologists from the Universities of Manchester and Lancaster last week.
The results of the study, which involved following 50 people with bipolar disorder for a month, demonstrate that talking therapies, like cognitive behavioural therapy, could prove effective treatments for the condition.
Psychologists found people who believed extreme things about their moods, for example that their moods were completely out of their own control, fared badly in a months time.
Conversely people who managed their moods or viewed them as a normal reaction to stress fared well a month later.
Dr. Andrew Leahy, a consultant psychiatrist in the NHS, said the findings are of good practical use to people suffering from bipolar disorder.
He added: “This is unequivocally good news.
“It holds out hope that people suffering a severe mental illness can be given useful tools to decrease their symptoms and have more control over their illness.
“A good evidence base for this exists in number of severe mental illnesses and I look forward to the results of a longer period of follow up.”
The study’s results support a new approach being developed at the University of Manchester, which encourages patients to accept and manage a range of normal emotions such as joy, anger and fear.
And the researchers will follow up their current findings with a larger study that identifies who relapses and who heads towards recovery in the long term.
Gabrielle Blackman Sheppard, a bipolar patient and author of Bi-Polar Girl, said: “The findings are extremely important because they talk about a very important aspect of bipolar, the management of emotions.
“However they are not addressing the two other crucial aspects, the management of energy and medication and its side effects.
“The absolute place people with bipolar need to arrive at and stay at is accepting their limits without defining themselves by their limitations.
“But lots of people aren’t prepared to accept that condition.”
To find out more about Bi-Polar Girl go to www.bi-polargirl.com