Since you were recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ask your doctor these questions at your next visit.
1. What causes bipolar disorder?
2. What’s the difference between Bipolar I and Bipolar II? Which do I have?
3. What medicines can help me, and how do they work?
4. What should I do if I forget to take my medication for bipolar disorder?
5. What should I do if I have a manic episode?
6. What happens if I quit taking the medication?
7. Why do I need psychotherapy in addition to medication?
Talking, writing, or drawing about death, including
writing suicide notes and speaking of items that can cause physical harm, such
as pills, guns, or knives.
Spending long periods of time
Giving away possessions.
Acting aggressive or
suddenly appearing calm.
Watchful waiting may be enough if a mood episode
has just started and you are taking proper medicines. If your mood episode has
not improved within 2 weeks, call your doctor.
If you have a
loved one who is experiencing a
manic episode and is behaving irrationally, help the
person seek treatment.
Who To See
Bipolar disorder is complex and hard to diagnose
because it has many phases and symptoms. Sometimes it is misdiagnosed as only
depression (unipolar depression), because people are more likely to seek
treatment during a period of depression.
After you are diagnosed
with bipolar disorder, it is important to keep a long-term relationship with
your doctor or therapist to make sure that your treatment is consistent and
that your medicines can be adjusted as needed.
health professionals can diagnose bipolar disorder, you will probably be
referred to a
psychiatrist who specializes in treating such
disorders and can prescribe medicines and provide counseling. Other health
professionals who can diagnose bipolar disorder include:
Counseling can help you deal with mood changes and the
impact bipolar disorder can have on your work and family relationships. In
addition to psychiatrists, health professionals who can provide counseling
If a loved one has bipolar
disorder, it may be helpful for you to get counseling to deal with its impact
on your own life. Manic episodes can be particularly hard. Talk with a
psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or licensed professional counselor
for your own therapy.
Therapy can also be helpful for a child who
has a bipolar parent. The parent's mood swings may negatively affect the child,
causing tearfulness, anger, depression, or rebellious behavior.