purposes only. Any person depicted here is a model and not an
actual patient unless otherwise noted.
For Friends and Family
If your loved one has bipolar I disorder, then it may be helpful and important for you to understand as much as possible about the condition.
Warning Signs of a New Episode
Early signs of a mood episode are different for mania and depression, and they vary from person to person. At the onset of an episode, people may experience slight changes in mood, sleep, energy, self-esteem, sexual interest, concentration, and level of enthusiasm and optimism. These symptoms may become more severe. Some people may start dressing differently, or neglect their personal hygiene. Learning about symptoms and encouraging a call to the doctor are examples of ways to help your loved one get the care he or she needs.
Separating Myth From Fact
Bipolar I disorder is a biological illness that makes people who have it vulnerable to emotional and physical stresses. It is not the result of a weak or unstable personality, nor is it the “fault” of either the person who has bipolar I disorder or any of his or her
Family and Friends Can Help
There are many ways you can help your loved one with bipolar I disorder. Your involvement can be as casual as calling regularly or as involved as taking the person to appointments and helping with day-to-day activities.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Encourage your loved one to stick with treatment and regularly see his or her doctor or therapist. You can also encourage him or her to avoid harmful habits, like using alcohol or illegal street drugs
- If your loved one is not doing well or experiencing side effects, encourage him or her to talk to a doctor. People with bipolar I disorder should not stop taking their medication without first talking to a doctor
- People with bipolar I disorder have good days and bad days like everyone else. With experience and attention, you can learn to spot the difference between a good or bad day and a severe mood swing. And if help is rejected during a mood episode, it may be a symptom of the episode, not a true feeling. So it shouldn't be taken personally
- Learn the warning signs for suicide, and take them very seriously. If your loved one is “winding up” his or her affairs, talking about suicide, or exhibiting increased feelings of despair, seek help immediately. Share responsibility
- with others. This can reduce the stress that caring for someone with bipolar I disorder brings, and can prevent emotional fatigue or resentment. If he or she has suicidal thoughts, contact a healthcare professional, visit an emergency room, or call 911 to get immediate help
- While your loved one's symptoms are improving, don't expect too much or too little. Recovery should be at his or her own pace. Do things with your loved one instead of for your loved one
- Plan ahead. Take advantage of stable periods to make arrangements for the future. Discuss when to put plans into action, such as withholding credit cards, restricting bank accounts, hiding car keys, and heading
for the hospital
- Take advantage of support groups. There are several resources available for families and friends of people
with bipolar I disorder. Find a resource center, an assistance program, or the branch of a national
advocacy group near you
Where Else to Find Help
Caring for someone with bipolar I disorder can be a lot of work, and you may need a little help or guidance. Below are some resources where you can connect with other people in a similar situation and learn from their experiences:
The organizations and resources listed are not affiliated with Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. As such, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. does not adopt, endorse, opine, or make any representation as to the truth, accuracy, legality, or any other aspect of the information provided by these organizations or resources.
Important Safety Information: Medicines like
ABILIFY (aripiprazole) can impact your body’s ability
to reduce body temperature; you should avoid overheating
In Their Own Words
Meet real ABILIFY patients who got helpRead more
treating their bipolar I disorder.