Talking to a Professional About Bipolar Disorder
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor or health care provider about your personal risk factors and/or experience with bipolar disorder. By talking openly and regularly with your health care provider, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your health care provider:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don’t forget them.
- Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Health Care Provider
About Bipolar Disorder
- What can I do to keep these symptoms from interfering with my ability to function in my relationships, and work and home life?
About Treatment Options
- What treatment options are available for me?
- What medications might help me and how long will they take to work?
- What side effects can I expect from my medications and what can I do about them?
- Do you treat people with bipolar disorder?
- If not, can you provide me with the names of mental health professionals who help people with bipolar disorder?
- What are my chances of successfully managing bipolar disorder?
- How can I prevent a recurrence of symptoms?
If you decide to try counseling, interview counselors, social workers, psychologists, and/or family therapists who specialize in working with people (and their families) who have bipolar disorder. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the mental health professional. Some questions you may want to ask are: