Developing a support system

Bipolar disorder can be challenging and having someone to talk to whom you can trust or joining a peer support group can make it easier to cope. Keep in mind that different people may be able to help in different ways and it can be useful to build up a support network.

There are some links to caregiver support organizations and programs in the resources section. Some organizations run peer support programs for caregivers such as the Well ways program run by the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia, or Family to family education program run by the National Alliance on Mental Illness in the US.

Caregivers may also benefit from counseling to assist with the changes and problems that sometimes arise from dealing with bipolar disorder. Besides individual counseling group information sessions or ‘psychoeducation’ for caregivers run by trained health professionals can be useful and help to reduce some of the stress involved in caregiving. 1

References

1. Reinares M, Vieta E, Colom F, et al. Impact of psychoeducational family interventions on caregivers of stabilized bipolar patients. Psychoth Psychosom 2004; 73(5): 312-9.

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