Getting Help for Bipolar Disorder, Manic Depression
If you feel that you have Bipolar Disorder and you would like to seek treatment the first thing you will need to do is talk to your regular doctor and ask him/her to refer you to a psychiatrist skilled in the diagnosis and treatment if Bipolar Disorder. The first step is always the hardest and the most frustrating, but once you start the process, you will begin to see results.
If you do not have a regular doctor that can recommend someone to you, or refer you, there are other avenues to take. Psychologists and social workers can assist in providing the patient and family members with additional approaches to treatment.
People with Bipolar Disorder sometimes have a problem with seeking help and need assistance from family members and friends. There are often times when someone with this mentally-crippling disorder that will blame the problems on a cause other than Bipolar, and they do not realize how impaired they are.
People who suffer from Bipolar Disorder are in need of support from family and friends and they will be more likely to get the help they need. The family doctor can play an important role in such support and refer them to someone that can be helpful in getting a proper diagnosis. If this is not the case, a family member may be forced to take the person to a mental health facility to receive a proper evaluation and treatment.
There are HIPPA laws now that prevent a family member from getting too involved in the care of a loved one, but if the patient is having a severe episode and in need of emergency treatment and if they are a danger to him or her self and/or others, the doctor can discuss with you the rules and regulations to the HIPPA laws.
If your loved one is considering suicide, they are in need of immediate attention and they need to talk to a mental health professional, and if that isn't possible, you may be able to get them to call an emergency line to seek support. If that is of no help, then being taken to the hospital for emergency treatment is the only option. This decision is sometimes a hard one, but for the sake of the patient's safety it is sometimes the only option. With appropriate treatment, it is possible to overcome suicidal tendencies, but proper care and intervention is important to getting the patient the care they need.
It is important for patients to understand that Bipolar Disorder is recurrent and it will not just go away. Continued treatment is needed to keep this disorder under control. It is important for family members and friends to give support to the survivors of Bipolar. It is important that they are reminded of doctor's appointments, and how important staying with the medication is for keeping control. Treatment for Bipolar Disorder is sometimes stressful, and it does take some time to figure out what the right medication for each individual is, and the encouragement of loved ones is so important in making sure the patient stays with it.
Many people surviving Bipolar Disorder can receive a lot of help through local community support groups, and even on-line support groups help. When someone is having a hard time dealing with symptoms, or have questions they would like to ask, it is sometimes beneficial to the survivor of Bipolar Disorder to talk to others that have gone through the same difficulties and overcame them.
It is also beneficial to the families of the survivors of Bipolar Disorder to do research and even get involved in support groups with the survivor of this disorder. You can learn a lot through people with experience. There are even chat rooms on the net for supporters.
Supporters of patients with Bipolar Disorder need help coping with the stress they are under as well. It is helpful to have someone that understands what you are going through as a supporter by talking to someone with experience. Get involved in local groups if you can, and if you cannot find something in your local area, search the net, it can be a valuable tool for support and information. You can learn from others on important issues like how to approach someone with Bipolar when you feel they aren't taking the medication as they were told to, or how to tell them that the medication isn't working and they may need to try something else, and you can also vent with someone that understands without hurting feelings.
You can find some very helpful information by looking at this website: National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association (NDMDA), or the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), and also the National Mental Health Association.
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
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
National Institute of Mental Health
Information Resources and Inquiries Branch
6001 Executive Boulevard
Room 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
National Foundation for Depressive Illness, Inc.
P.O. Box 2257
New York, NY 10116
Telephone: 212-268-4260; 1-800-239-1265
National Mental Health Association
1021 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-2971
Telephone: 703-684-7722; 1-800-969-NMHA (6642)
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