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- Loving someone with bipolar disorder is not a
quick fix. You must be open and willing to try new
approaches and the ability to create a foundation
that focuses on prevention rather than crisis control.
Because of the seriousness of the disorder you must
learn to treat the bipolar disorder first with appropriate
medication and therapy (Fast & Preston, 2004).
is a serious risk for people with bipolar disorder.
As many as 1/5 of people with bipolar disorder eventually
kill themselves. Suicide completions are most associated
with depressive episodes or mixed states. Substance
abuse and bipolar disorder are often seen together.
Substance abuse may mask the symptoms of bipolar
as people self-medicate.
- Substance abuse significantly alters medication
effectiveness and potential for toxicity. More than
50% of people with bipolar abuse alcohol or drugs.
Substance abuse, psychotic features and bipolar
disorder combined may contribute to higher threats
of criminal violence or aggression.
- Manic people typically lack insight and deny that
there is anything wrong. They tend to be highly
irritable and may blame others.
- People with bipolar disorder are more likely to
become violent if they exhibit the following:
- history of recent violence
- low levels of current depression or guilt
[That said, individuals with mental illness are
much more likely to be the victim than the perpetrator
of a violent crime.]
- During the manic phase of bipolar disorder, a
calm and structured setting is best. Turn off or
shut out unnecessary stimuli (e.g., television,
music, loud people).
- Ask about-use of medications, alcohol and recreational
- What to do:
- monitor warning signs that happen before manic
or depressive episodes
- during manic episodes families should take preventive
steps to limit access to cars, credit cards, and
other opportunities to engage in reckless behavior
- take suicide warning very seriously-get help immediately
- importance of maintaining stable sleep pattern
- importance of regular day-to-day schedule
- avoidance of alcohol, caffeine and over-the-counter
- adherence to medications and physician directives
seeking support from therapy or on-line resources
- stress reduction plan