After remission from an acute episode of bipolar disorder, a person is at an especially high risk for relapse for about six months. Thus, continuation and maintenance of ongoing therapy is often recommended. After six months, there is still a lifelong risk for new episodes to occur.
Anyone who has experienced two or more manic or hypomanic episodes generally is considered to have lifetime bipolar disorder. That person should have maintenance therapy to minimize the risk for future episodes. Once your doctor has helped stabilize the moods of the acute phase of the disorder (either a manic or depressive episode), drug therapy is usually continued indefinitely — sometimes at lower doses.
Remember this: Even if you have been without bipolar symptoms for several months, do not stop taking your medications. Your doctor may lower your doses, but discontinuation of medications will put you at risk for recurrence of bipolar symptoms.