While the clinical care for a relative with bipolar disorder lies
in the hands of psychiatrists and health professionals, your involvement
as the caregiver is of vital importance. The caregiverís major concern
is to make sure that your loved one realizes that they have a mental
illness and that they need treatment to help themselves. Your acceptance
of the disorder and your willingness to handle the situation, can
alleviate much of the fear your loved one experiences.
Ways for you to cope with Bipolar disorder
People with the disorder are reluctant to admit
there is a problem and are resistant to seeking psychiatric help. As a
caregiver you must understand the symptoms and the ramifications of
the disorder if it goes untreated and you must help them find
treatment for their illness.
If possible, have your family support you in
seeking help for your loved one, and the right physician can lead you
to other mental health specialists.
Assist your loved one if they need rides and
someone to set up doctor appointments.
You must be willing to deal with the situation
appropriately should hospitalization be needed. Your loved one may be
reluctant to go into the hospital, but you must help him or her decide
what is best given the severity of the illness.
Constant assistance and support should always be
given, because this is not a situation that will go away overnight. It
may require several forms of treatment before any positive signs are
Ask your loved one for their advice
on how they feel and what they would
like to see happen when and if the
symptoms of disorder return.
Seek the help of your family
(spouses, siblings, children) for
support, and much needed respite time.
You must be prepared to deal with
the extreme mood swings that your loved
one demonstrates, and be understanding
throughout the behavioral changes, and
always expect the unexpected and deal
with it appropriately and sensibly.
Sources of Help Available:
• Programs at local colleges or medical
• Community health centers that specialize in
• Other referred physicians beside your
• Hospital psychiatric offices and clinical