Information for the public

Your care team

A range of professionals who specialise in different areas of treatment or support may be involved in your care. These could include psychiatrists, psychologists, GPs, specialist nurses and social workers.

Assessment and treatment for bipolar disorder should be given by professionals who are specially trained in bipolar disorder. They may work in a specialist bipolar disorder team or in a service called 'early intervention in psychosis'. If you are aged 17 or under the professionals you see may work in a 'child and adolescent mental health service', often called CAMHS (pronounced 'KAMS') for short.

If you are having a crisis, you may be offered a specialist crisis service. For more information about crisis services, see our guidance on psychosis and schizophrenia in adults (see other NICE guidance for details).

Working with you

Your care team should talk with you about bipolar disorder. They should explain any assessments, treatments or support you are offered so that you can decide together what is best for you. Your family, parent or carer may be involved in helping to make decisions, depending on your age. See questions to ask about bipolar disorder for a list of questions you can use to help you talk with your care team.

You may also like to read NICE's information for the public on patient experience in adult NHS services and service user experience in adult mental health. These set out what adults should be able to expect when they use the NHS. We also have more information on the NICE website about using health and social care services.

Some treatments or care described here may not be suitable for you. If you think that your treatment does not match this advice, talk to your care team.

Planning your care

During a period when you're well, your care team may suggest that you think about the treatment you would want if you ever became so unwell that you weren't able to decide things for yourself or tell people what you wanted. You can ask your family, partner or carer to help you think about this, if you wish. You may decide to make:

  • an 'advance statement' about your preferences for treatment and care

  • a 'lasting power of attorney' that lets you choose who will make decisions for you.

Your care team can explain more about these and how to make them.

At the start of your care and from time to time afterwards, your care team should talk with you, and your family member or carer if they are involved in your care, about who should be able to see information about you and the treatment you are having. For example, they should talk about whether your information can be shared with your family members, carers and healthcare professionals outside your care team.

  • Information Standard