People with bipolar disorder sometimes choose not to treat their condition or choose to stop treatment already in progress, which can lead to a worsening of symptoms. Open communication with your doctor or therapist can often resolve your concerns about treatment.
Will treatment change me?
It’s a common question but it shouldn’t keep you from getting help. Many people with bipolar disorder end up sicker than they need to be. This is often because they choose not to take their medicine or choose not to follow their doctor’s advice. Here are some reasons why.
- People with bipolar disorder may experience serious side effects from a medication
- People who are in the high of a mania state may not want a bipolar disorder medication to “bring them down,” because they like the way they are feeling and don’t recognize the problems mania is causing
- People with bipolar disorder may not see themselves as ill or they may not think they are sick enough to need medicine or to seek therapy
If you are concerned that medication may change you in ways you’re not comfortable with, talk to your doctor or therapist openly and honestly about your feelings. By working closely together, ideally you and your doctor can find a treatment option that allows you to still “feel like you” but also to function better and more consistently in your everyday life.
If you are taking medication for bipolar disorder and have concerns about side effects, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to change your medication or dose to try to reduce the impact of these side effects.
Similarly, if you have concerns about the affordability of your care, talk with your doctor. He or she may be able to suggest support organizations that can help.
It’s important to see your doctor regularly. If you need help keeping up with your doctor’s appointments, this calendar (PDF) may be useful.