Information for the public

Questions to ask about bipolar disorder

These questions may help you discuss your condition or the treatments you have been offered with your care team.

Finding out what's wrong

  • Why am I being offered an appointment for an assessment?

  • What will happen after the appointment?

  • Why do you think I'm ill? I've never felt better.

  • What could have caused my symptoms?

  • Who can I contact if I have a crisis or if my symptoms get worse?

  • Are there any support organisations in my local area?

  • Can you provide any information for my family or carers?


  • How will this treatment help me?

  • What effect will it have on my symptoms and everyday life?

  • What sort of improvements might I expect?

  • How long will it take to have an effect?

  • Will it help me to make a complete recovery?

  • How much difference will psychological therapy make compared with medication?

  • For long‑term treatment, is it generally best to have psychological therapy, or medication, or both?

  • Are there any risks associated with this treatment?

  • What are my options for treatments other than the treatment recommended?

  • What are the pros and cons of the different treatments I could have?

  • Can I write down something about what treatment I would like?

  • Are there any leaflets or other sources of information about the treatment(s) that I could have?

Psychological therapy

  • How long will I have to wait to get psychological therapy?

  • How long will psychological therapy last?

  • Where can I have the therapy?

  • Can I choose to have the therapy somewhere else?


  • How long will I have to take medication?

  • Might I have problems when I stop taking the medication?

  • Are there any serious side effects associated with this medication that are likely to affect me?

  • What should I do if I get any side effects? (For example, should I call my GP, or go to the accident and emergency department at a hospital?)

  • Are there any long‑term effects of taking this medication?

  • Even though I'm feeling better and my mood is not going up and down, I still feel low. Could this mean my medication isn't quite right and needs to be increased or changed?

Questions for family members and carers to ask

  • Can you give me some information about bipolar disorder, and the treatments for it?

  • Am I allowed to know about the treatment the person I care for is having?

  • Is there anything in particular that I can do to support them?

  • Can you give me any information about specialist support for families and carers, such as helplines?

  • What should I do if the person I care for becomes manic?

  • What should I do if they become depressed?

  • What should I do if I think they might be suicidal or thinking of harming themselves?

  • If they are very ill, how can they be prevented from taking any important decisions they might later regret?

  • Who can I contact for help during a crisis?

  • What help and support is available to me?

  • Can I have a carer's assessment? What does it involve?

  • Information Standard