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What Help is Available for Families of Manic Depressives?

written by: Joy Lynskey • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 10/24/2010

Are you looking for support for families of manic depressives? If someone in your life is suffering from this mental illness you may be searching for available options in treatment or therapies to help them cope with this often confusing mental illness.

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    With manic depression or bipolar disorder becoming such a commonly diagnosed mental illness, there is an ever greater need for outlets and support for families of manic depressives. This sometimes confusing mental illness can leave families of those who are suffering from it in a state of confusion and panic themselves. In order to most effectively treat the manic depressive, it helps enormously for the families to be educated and counseled as well.

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    Support for Families of Manic Depressives: What Should My Family Do?

    If you have just found out that one of your loved ones is suffering from manic depression it is very important to regain or to maintain a structured lifestyle. It is also very important to take an important first few steps to extend your consideration of this mental illness by:

    • Understanding the person affected is ill
    • Learning about manic depressive disorder
    • Maintaining and show respect and dignity for the mentally ill person
    • Loving them
    • Never making fun of them, even if they are making fun of themselves

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    Group Counseling

    Group counseling can be a great means of support for families of manic depressives. Not only does it get the entire family actively learning about the illness and its effects, but it also gives them the chance to voice their concerns openly for their loved one in a controlled environment.

    Group therapy for a manic depressive can often involve types of role playing where each family member gets to play the role of another. This type of group therapy can achieve great breakthrough moments when family members begin to fully understand the nature of this mental illness.

    Just being involved in group therapy, regardless of the reaction of the suffering family member, will also serve to show them their importance and reinforce their own need to find healthy ways to treat their disorder.

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    Support Groups

    There are vast numbers of support groups for most mental health disorders online, although it is always important never to give too much personal information to strangers. The internet has given a lot of those who prefer to remain faceless an incredible outlet in sharing the stark realities of living with those who are manic depressive.

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    Online Research and Knowledge

    There are some very helpful websites that offer support for families of manic depressives. BPSO, Bipolar Significant Other is a great site with resources that offer free downloadable eBooks as well as forums open to only those who have a significant other who is suffering from this mental illness. It is not for those who suffer from bipolar disorder themselves. Significant others can include a spouse, child, parent, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner or even siblings.

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    Local Mental Health Departments and Resources

    Most fairly populated cities will have a means of public mental health support. If you are unsure of where to start, contacting your local Department of Social Services.