How to Help a Loved One with Bipolar Disorder When They Refuse Treatment

Do you have a friend or family member who is declining care or treatment for their bipolar disorder? Read through this guide to learn more about what this mental health condition is, why your loved one may be refusing treatment, and what you can do to help them.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

As a significant mental health condition, bipolar disorder is when a person has constant chronic mood swings. Also known as manic depression, these feelings show up as either manic, hyperactive behavior or symptoms that are often associated with depression.

Bipolar disorder can lead to reactions and severe sadness numerous times in a year. The manic side of the disorder tends to show up with feelings of elation and overexcitement. In some cases, the individual may even have delusions or hallucinations that cause them to make irrational decisions.

In other instances, someone with bipolar disorder could end up on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum. They may have episodes of major depression and overwhelming sadness or even a lack of interest in their life.

There are multiple forms of bipolar disorder, which all have different symptoms and ways they show up. The three main types of bipolar disorder are Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, and Cyclothymic Disorder.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Each of these bipolar disorder types is diagnosable by a professional. There are a handful of signs and symptoms that could be evidence of bipolar disorder, including:

  • Speaking quickly and skipping between topics
  • Getting less sleep than usual
  • Overexcitement
  • Poor, impulsive decision making
  • Distracted easily
  • Inability to focus
  • Depression/intense sadness
  • Lethargic
  • Poor self-esteem

Reasons Why Someone with Bipolar Disorder May Refuse Treatment

There are several reasons that could keep a person who has bipolar disorder from going to get professional help or treatment.

The most common reason that people with bipolar disorder refuse treatment is that they don’t believe they have a problem in the first place. This lack of awareness regarding their mental condition is known as anosognosia.

In other cases, individuals who have bipolar disorder may deny treatment because they have a substance use disorder. They may struggle with alcohol, drugs, or something else that may lead to additional care on their behalf.

Sometimes people that are bipolar don’t want to get assistance with their condition because they have an inability to pay for help. They may also turn down the treatment simply because they don’t like their psychiatrist and don’t want to move forward in the process.

How to Help Your Loved One with Bipolar Disorder

If you know someone who has bipolar disorder, there are many ways you can offer support.

Listen to What They have to Say

Oftentimes, your friend or family member with bipolar disorder may just need you to be there for them and to listen to what they have to say. Lend an ear and let them share their thoughts with you whether they’re going through a manic episode or have feelings of depression.

Show Them the Benefits of Getting Help

Whether your loved one is willing to get professional assistance or not, take the time to share the advantages of talking to someone.

Always Move Forward

Do what is necessary to ensure your loved one is making progress and moving in a positive direction. This could mean providing support during a major episode or simply being around when they need you.

Have a Mental Health Intervention

When a person with bipolar disorder won’t take steps toward getting the help they need, an intervention from friends and family may help. Make sure you plan this process with a mental health professional to ensure proper processes are followed.

Consider Hospitalization

As a last case effort, it may be essential to push your loved one into an inpatient hospitalization program. This becomes necessary if your loved one is a physical threat to themselves or others.

Getting Professional Bipolar Disorder Treatment

It can be overwhelming to have bipolar disorder but also to see a loved one go through life with this mental health condition. At Orange County Behavioral Health, we have bipolar disorder treatment options to help your loved one. Get in touch with our team today by calling Orange County Behavioral Health at 949-900-8426 or 877-467-2223.

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