Bipolar disorder - Risks
Risks associated with bipolar disorder
Suicide and self-harm risk
If you have an illness where you experience psychosis, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, your risk of suicide is estimated to be between 5% and 6% higher than someone without a psychotic condition.
The risk of suicide is most high during your first year of contact with the mental health team. It is 10%.
You are more likely to try to take your own life if you have a history of attempted suicide and depression. It is important that you get the right treatment for your symptoms of depression and have an up to date crisis plan.
There is also research that suggests you are 30% - 40% more likely to self-harm if you suffer from bipolar disorder.
If you have mania or hypomania you may struggle to manage your finances. You may spend lots of money without thinking about the effect that it may have on your life. You could make a ‘Lasting Power of Attorney.’ This is a legal process. This means that you pick someone that you trust to manage your finances if you lack mental capacity to manage them by yourself.
Physical health risk
People with bipolar disorder have a higher rate of physical illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. You should have a physical health check at least once every year.
Alcohol and drugs risk
Just over 30% of people with bipolar disorder are abusing drugs or alcohol. Drinking alcohol, smoking or taking other drugs while taking medication could stop your medication working properly and make your symptoms worse.
You must tell the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) that you have bipolar disorder. You must stop driving if you have an episode of severe depression, hypomania, mania or psychosis.
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