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?

Treatments

  • 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?

Medication

  • 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