People with bipolar disorder are at great risk for suicide if they are not getting treatment. The National Mental Health Association reports that 30%-70% of suicide victims have suffered from a form of depression. Men commit almost 75% of suicides, even though twice as many women attempt it.
Psychotherapy, or "talk" therapy, is an important part of treatment for bipolar disorder. During therapy, you can discuss feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that cause you problems. Talk therapy can help you understand and hopefully master any problems that hurt your ability to function well in your life and career. It also helps you stay on your medication. It can help you maintain a positive self-image.
The types of psychotherapy used to treat bipolar disorder include:
Family history of mental or substance abuse disorders
Having attempted suicide previously
Having a family history of physical or sexual abuse
Having family members or friends who have attempted suicide
Keeping a firearm in the home
If you or someone you know is at risk for suicide -- and has shown warning signs -- do not leave them alone. Seek the help of a health care professional right away. People often talk about suicide before they attempt it, so pay close attention to what they are saying and take them seriously.
Some warning signs of suicide include:
Talking about suicide
Always talking or thinking about death
Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
Saying things like "It would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
A sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, like driving through red lights
Losing interest in things one used to care about
Visiting or calling people one cares about
Putting affairs in order, tying up lose ends, changing a will
Call 911 if You:
Think you cannot stop from harming yourself
Want to commit suicide
You know someone who has mentioned wanting to commit suicide
WebMD Medical Reference: "Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder)."
WebMD Assess Plus: Bipolar Disorder Assessment. National Institute for Mental Health: "Step-BD Womens Studies."Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic & Research Program.
MedicineNet.com: "Bipolar Disorder (Mania)."
WebMD Medical Reference: "Effects of Untreated Depression."
American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder."