DBT- Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Program™

Who We Help

DBT for Bipolar Disorders

DBT helps people with emotion regulation challenges to build mastery over the ups and downs of everyday life. With Bipolar I and II, many people struggle with the lows of depression and the highs of hypomania and mania. 2.6% of the adult population have Bipolar Disorder (NIMH). DBT skills help people learn about emotions and how they work, and provide tools to help people build resiliency to negative emotions and to shift out of emotions or be successful in riding out emotions.

DBT has been researched with people who have bipolar disorders. The sample sizes of the research studies have not been large enough to be statistically significant. There is preliminary evidence however, that DBT skills reduce depressive symptoms, improve affective control, and improve mindfulness self-efficacy in bipolar disorders. Its application warrants further evaluation in larger studies. (Journal of Affective Disorders, Van Dijk, Jeffry, Katz, 2013).

At Awake DBT, we have seen first-hand many individuals with bipolar disorders benefit from treatment.

People having a manic episode may: People having a depressive episode may:
  • Feel very “up,” “high,” or elated
  • Have a lot of energy
  • Have increased activity levels
  • Feel “jumpy” or “wired”
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Become more active than usual
  • Talk really fast about a lot of different things
  • Be agitated, irritable, or “touchy”
  • Feel like their thoughts are going very fast
  • Think they can do a lot of things at once
  • Do risky things, like spend a lot of money or have reckless sex
  • Feel very sad, down, empty, or hopeless
  • Have very little energy
  • Have decreased activity levels
  • Have trouble sleeping, they may sleep too little or too much
  • Feel like they can’t enjoy anything
  • Feel worried and empty
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Forget things a lot
  • Eat too much or too little
  • Feel tired or “slowed down”
  • Think about death or suicide

Source National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

“If you are patient and open-minded, you will see [that] it really works.”