In the absence of a cure for bipolar disorder and lacking bias-free information around medications and other therapies, it becomes increasingly important for the person with bipolar disorder and her practitioner(s) to have an open and honest communication about what’s working, what’s not working, and everything in between.
We refer to this as an empiric approach, where observation and experimentation guide the treatment. This doesn’t mean we’re throwing out what the literature is telling us, just that it is another information stream. Ultimately it is the individual’s response to a given treatment that is of the utmost importance.
An example of an empiric recommendation might be, “I’m going to prescribe compound ‘X’ to help you sleep; let me know if it was useful or not. Start with a single pill; if you’re not asleep in thirty minutes, take a second, and then let me know if it worked.”