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Bipolar - what kind of support should you get?

(11 Posts)
McPheeNicks Mon 29-Feb-16 10:14:44

I support someone who's been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, type 2. He also suffer from a lot of anxiety. He's been seeing a psychiatrist as a part of getting the diagnosis and have reviews with them about every three or four months. I'm a bit confused that he's not been offered any other kind of support or involvement from the MH services.

Before the diagnosis, when he "only" had a depression diagnosis he had c. six sessions of CBT, but didn't find it helpful and wasn't offered anything else. Now he's just left to get on with just medication and a self-help book recommendation for the anxiety. He's really finding things quite hard...

Is this common or okay? What kind of support does someone with bipolar usually get? It feels odd to me if there's no further help available, unless he gets unwell enough to need hospitalisation.

McPheeNicks Mon 29-Feb-16 10:15:24

Ugh, please excuse the weird grammar... hmm

dontrunwithscissors Mon 29-Feb-16 15:06:07

Unfortunately, this seems common in many parts of the country--shouting and stamping feet sometims works (I mean metaphorically--the squeaky wheel and all that). It seems that those who are unwell, but not in crisis enough for hospital are just left.

Thankfully, there are also some good parts. I have bipolar. I see a CPN every 1-2 weeks generally, there's a good crisis team for when things get bad & there are usually beds available on the ward if things get bad. I see my pdoc anywhere between 6 weeks to 3 months, depending on how things are. It's my CPN that makes all the difference, she's been a life saver.

McPheeNicks Mon 29-Feb-16 15:56:47

Thanks for answering. Good to hear you have better support in place. I think I might suggest I could go with him to his next appointment (if he wants me to obviously) to ask the psychiatrist why he's not being allocated a CPN, since he admits he's not very comfortable questioning things himself. Maybe having someone else there to tell the dr that he's struggling would help.

cosamangiare Mon 29-Feb-16 16:58:35

I have an OT to coordinate care and see/speak to my cpn regularly. Like dontrun above I also have help from crisis/home treatment when needed and this almost always keeps me out of hospital but it means having a different psychiatrist temporarily. Usually wouldn't see my psych too often but changing meds at the moment so it's about every other week I think. Otherwise it could be several months it just varies according to mood?

In the past I had a support worker, direct payments, day hospital and around 9 months of weekly cbt type psychotherapy but that was before all the budget cuts. It seems unusual not to have a cpn. Good luck.

Mrsleighdelamare Fri 04-Mar-16 17:07:29

Hi, I also have DH with bipolar type 2, a long history of mental illness and a very long story since!

Despite hospital stays, overdoses etc, he's been left to his own devices, bar regular but infrequent appts with a psychiatrist for meds.

He's no longer on meds however. As I said, long story. He's now about to start some more CBT. Who knows what will happen. But getting support and help is really really hard.

In fact I was searching through threads to see if I could find one for partners of bipolar people as I do find it a real struggle.

Tabsicle Sat 05-Mar-16 09:58:30

I have a CPN I see monthly and pdoc every two months. I'm quite stable atm but when I was bad before I got taken into hospital and they found a bed near home. I've also had support from the home treatment team.

Surprised he doesn't have a CPN. Could he raise this with his pdoc? Say he needs more help.

Tabsicle Sat 05-Mar-16 10:00:17

Also, I found therapy really useless. They gave me CBT when I wasn't having an episode and I didn't have much to talk about. Then I got sick again and forgot it all because it had been so long ago. I am really not sure what the point was.

BeautyGoesToBenidorm Sat 05-Mar-16 10:11:28

I'm bipolar type 1, with a long documented history. In my area, accessing the crisis team is a longwinded and tricky process unless you want to sit in A&E for 5 hours+. DH had to stamp his feet and kick up a huge stink before we could get a home visit when I was suicidal and completely unable to be left on my own. Eventually I was voluntarily admitted to the psych ward, with the help of my social worker. Another rare occurrence around here - they avoid hospitalisation at all costs.

I see a psychiatrist every 6 weeks or so to assess meds. I don't have a CPN - the single one that works my area is on long term sick leave. They haven't assigned a replacement. I was told I didn't meet the criteria for CBT or psychotherapy. The only other support I receive is through the local alcohol advisory service, and to be frank they're far better than any care I've received via the mental health services.

coldporridge Sat 05-Mar-16 14:19:02

I have bipolar type 2. I have a CPN who I see monthly, an OT and a psychiatrist I see every couple of months. I've had various types of therapy over the years - psychotherapy, CBT, CAT, art therapy, and there are also activities through my CMHT - art classes, sports, gardening which I've dipped in and out of. I had social services support when I lived elsewhere but dropped out of the system when I moved, and didn't chase it up as I found them a bit too intrusive.

McPheeNicks Sun 06-Mar-16 18:14:05

Thanks everyone who has answered. It's interesting to see the variation, but very sad to hear of others who are also more or less left to their own. It's good that's not the universal experience, though!

I have had MH issues myself, and had a CPN in the past, but with a different diagnosis and well before the cut backs started, so it was a whole different situation. It just seems so odd to see someone who I think is doing worse than I was back then having so much less help.

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