Bipolar Disorder: The Caregiver’s Role


The Caregiver’s Role

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 caregiver’s 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 evident.

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 schools
• Community health centers that specialize in mental disorder
• Other referred physicians beside your primary doctor
• Hospital psychiatric offices and clinical settings