Bipolar disorder - NHS
What treatment should I be offered?
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) writes guidelines on how the NHS should treat bipolar disorder. Local services do not have to follow this guidance but it is best practice if they do.
Knowing about the guidelines can help you make sure you get the right treatment. Some key recommendations are:
Your doctor should ask the Community Mental Health Team to see you if any of the following apply.
- You have had mania for four days or three depressive episodes in a row with a history of being overactive or impulsive.
- You are a danger to yourself or others when experiencing mania or depression.
- Your symptoms are getting worse even though you are getting treatment from primary care services (your GP).
- You have become unwell many times.
- You find it hard to work with doctors or other health professionals to treat your bipolar disorder.
Your mental health team should consider admitting you to hospital if you might hurt yourself or other people. If your depressive symptoms keep coming back your mental health team should consider structured psychological therapy. They should also give you information about exercise, healthy sleep, diet and what activities might help you.
Your symptoms may be stable but you still have mild to moderate symptoms. In this case your team should consider arranging one to one psychological therapy for you.
Your GP should review your physical health every year.
Your mental health team should offer you support to help with training or returning to work. Your mental health team should also think about other activities you are interested in or would help you if you can’t work at the moment.
You should have some help to identify early warning signs and triggers of relapse. This could be included in your care plan.
You could be assessed under the Care Programme Approach (CPA), if referred by your medical professionals. This will be appropriate if you have complex needs or if you are vulnerable.
The CPA involves having a full care plan written up. This identifies your needs. You would get a care co-ordinator who manages your treatment and puts services in place, to meet your needs. Your carers can be involved in care plan, as long as you are consenting for them to be involved.
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