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What is Bipolar Self-Help?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Bipolar self-help would be any materials, support groups, activities, and et cetera that would help people in coping with Bipolar I or II (BP I or II) disorder. Self-help of many kinds is excellent when augmenting care received by a prescribing physician and a therapist. Used alone, self-help poses extraordinary danger to the person with bipolar disorder. This is a condition in which rate of suicide and/or tendency to make risky, life-damaging decisions when manic are extremely high, and it is best managed by at least a doctor, preferably a psychiatrist. The reality of this condition is that bipolar self-help is never adequate.

Nevertheless, people are certainly encouraged to learn about their disorder via bipolar self-help materials. There are many excellent books on this topic, including Bipolar for Dummies, which can be educational not only for the BP I or II sufferer, but also for family members. The book is usually easy to obtain used, and there are many other informational books that can enhance understanding of the illness. In books, what is often most useful are guides that may help determine swings in behavior and how to address these. Many people also find validation and relief when reading first hand accounts of BP, written by those affected by it, though these may not contain as much practical information.

On the Internet, there is a wealth of bipolar self-help resources. Some of these are offered by websites that have strict quality control because mental health professionals manage them. Others do not have this, and it can certainly be said that information on websites without professional oversight has to be viewed as less reliable. As much as there is great information to find on the Internet, there is plenty of misinformation, which might complicate someone’s recovery or create confusion.

Offline, people may find bipolar self-help in their community through a variety of support groups. These may or may not be lead by mental health professionals. Sometimes they are peer-led. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it means that people should go to these groups for support and not advice on what to do about their condition.

Usually the easiest way to find community forms of bipolar self-help is through organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI operates in the US, but in other countries there may be national organizations dedicated to this cause too. Therapists and/or psychiatrists might also be a good resource for finding local support groups, as occasionally they or their colleagues start one.

As previously stated, bipolar self-help is a wonderful addition to treatment needed to manage this disorder. People certainly have a wide range of potential places to learn more about this illness, which can be a very good thing. Having information and being able to partner in the treatment of the illness can make for better care, and it’s highly advised. On the other hand, eschewing traditional treatment in favor of self-help only can be a life-threatening choice.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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