Getting Help for Bipolar Disorder

National Institute of Mental Health
25 Nov 2001; Reviewed: 24 Oct 2004


Anyone with bipolar disorder should be under the care of a psychiatrist skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

Other mental health professionals, such as psychologists and psychiatric social workers, can assist in providing the patient and his or her family with additional approaches to treatment.

Help can be found at:

  • University or medical school affiliated programs
  • Hospital departments of psychiatry
  • Private psychiatric offices and clinics
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Offices of family physicians, internists and pediatricians
  • People with manic-depressive illness often need help to get help.

Often people with this disorder do not recognize how impaired they are or blame their problems on some cause other than mental illness. People with bipolar disorder need strong encouragement from family and friends to seek treatment. Family physicians can play an important role for such referral. If this does not work, loved ones must take the patient for proper mental health evaluation and treatment.

If the person is in the midst of a severe episode, he or she may have to be committed to a hospital for his or her own protection and for much needed treatment.

Anyone who is considering suicide needs immediate attention, preferably from a mental health professional or a physician; school counselors and members of the clergy can also assist in detecting suicidal tendencies and/or making a referral for more definitive assessment or treatment. With appropriate help and treatment, it is possible to overcome suicidal tendencies.

It is important for patients to understand that bipolar disorder will not go away, and that continued compliance with treatment is needed to keep the disease under control.

Ongoing encouragement and support are needed after the person obtains treatment because it may take a while to discover what therapeutic regimen is best for that particular patient.

Many people receiving treatment also benefit from joining mutual support groups such as those sponsored by the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association (NDMDA) the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and the National Mental Health Association. Families and friends of people with bipolar disorder can also benefit from mutual support groups such as those sponsored by NDMDA and NAMI.

Reprinted with permission.

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Oct 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

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