What are the Benefits for Families of Bipolar Patients?
Like any other illness, bipolar disease can also be hard on family members and friends. Lack of education about the disorder can make it all the more difficult to cope with person’s manic episodes and behavioral problems.
Therefore support groups specifically for families, friends and carers can be very useful. These groups are typically established by volunteers and community members who have had experience with bipolar people.
The purpose is to have informal gatherings of family and friends to discuss and share experiences, foster a better understanding of the disorder, develop greater patience, stay positively motivated and maintain a caring relationship with the patient they are dealing with.
These support groups usually have open dialogues where techniques and tools to bridge misunderstandings are brainstormed. Members learn how to help patients when a bipolar episode occurs, for example by communicating calmy. They are also taught how to monitor the illness, and to provide emotional support, companionship and nonverbal support such as being available for listening as well as how to give the appropriate encouraging gestures. The family members are also instructed in how to deal with risky or inappropriate behavior, and to plan ahead for times when the patient may become severely ill.