Welcome to Bipolar in Focus. I'm Jane Pauley. Bipolar is treatable. It can be managed. People can live productive lives but there may be times when the hospital is the right place to be.
Dr. Megan Poe from Bellevue Hospital in New York City is with us. Being in the hospital can be a really good place to be. It's important that people get over their idea that it's the last resort.
In the hospital setting, there are people to monitor what's going on 24 hours a day, seven days a week
so there is a kind of witnessing that could never take place in the office one on one between a person and their "treater".
Adjusting medications can happen over a long period of time but in the hospital, it can be done more quickly and safely.
That's true. It can be done in a much more concentrated matter in the hospital setting because you have 24-hour monitoring,
you can look at how a person is responding, is it helpful, is it not, what are the side effects and respond to those immediately and tweak and make those changes right away.
And so what may take months or even years outside the hospital can be done very quickly within.
What happens to the patients' sense of themselves and the disease in the hospital that wouldn't happen outside?
Well, it's a great question. I think one thing that happens is a person has the experience of being lifted out and separate from their daily lives
and they have a chance to look at it from a far and see what's going on and have a reflective space to integrate what's been happening day to day especially in the wake of the crisis.
They also just get a break, a break from work, a break from stressors, a break from their families,
a break from all of the things that have probably contributed to them feeling stressed and maybe becoming manic or depressed or suicidal.
As you may know, I've been there and I know how it is to feel safe because people are looking after you 24 hours a day. But there are a lot of benefits to hospitalization for the family too.
Yes, that's true. For one, the family also gets a break and has a chance to kind of step back and look at what's been happening.
And integrate it and get some rest because likely they've just been on the hills of a very intense crisis with their loved one.
Secondly, it's an amazing opportunity for them to get education in depth in a setting where it's available to them all the time.
They can ask questions about the nature of what's going on with their loved one, they can talk to the psychiatrist about what bipolar is,
how do you recognize it, what are the symptoms, getting things put in place. It can be tremendously valuable if they take the time to go and ask.
There's also an interesting element of before and after that that period of hospitalization provides.
Yes. I think it is a turning point for many people, both the patient and their families in terms of their relationship to the illness.
In other words, when you go into the hospital, you're taking this seriously. You're saying, "My mental health is important."
This is something that deserves my time and it deserves to be addressed fully and wholly for however long that takes."
Absolutely. Dr. Poe, thank you very much.
And thank you for watching Bipolar in Focus.