How to Find the Right Bipolar Disorder Support Group for Spouses
If you have a spouse who has bipolar disorder, finding the right support group can be a huge help. These communities can also be fantastic places to gather suggestions from those who have lived with someone who has bipolar disorder.
The DBSA is a national organization that offers free peer-led support groups in various cities across the United States. These groups are led by peers with bipolar disorder and are a great place to share your experiences and find support.
Look for a free group.
A bipolar disorder support groups for spouses can provide tremendous support and help you understand your partner’s experiences. A mental health professional usually facilitates these groups, but many are peer-led. These can be found online or in your local area; some are specifically for spouses of individuals with bipolar disorder.
Look for a local group.
Support groups can be a valuable part of a treatment plan for bipolar disorder. They can help you feel connected and motivate you to stick with your treatment plan. But they can’t replace professional therapy or medication.
You should seek out a therapist who has experience with mood disorders like bipolar disorder and has been trained to treat them. Ask your doctor for recommendations or contact a professional organization like the National Alliance on Mental Illness or Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
Some mental health providers offer telehealth services, which are therapist-led support groups in person or online. These can be a great option when you can’t attend in-person groups due to travel or distance.
Another good option is Inspire, an online support community through Mental Health America. The service features 24/7 moderated chatrooms where you can chat with others. These are mediated by patient advocacy partners and only allow people with a positive attitude. They’re also free and can help you connect with people who understand your struggles.
LifeStance Health offers therapist-led group therapy in person or remotely (virtually). The groups are usually 5 to 20 people and typically have more than one therapist. This type of group works well with most insurance plans.
DailyStrength is a social network with various support groups, including one specifically for bipolar disorder. This forum is a popular place for members to discuss their symptoms, treatments, and other resources.
Look for an online group.
Feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anxiety often accompany bipolar disorder. Joining a support group can help people who are experiencing these symptoms feel understood and learn from others how to cope with them.
A support group can also effectively share information about bipolar disorder and find helpful resources. It can also give you a place to discuss medication side effects, treatment options, and self-care strategies.
Both offline gatherings and online bipolar support groups are offered by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) at various chapters spread across America. These groups are peer-led, meaning someone with a mood disorder facilitates them.
One popular online mental health forum, Psych Central, has a bipolar section where members can post their stories and read others. The free website has volunteer listeners who can provide emotional support and persuade you to consult a mental health specialist.
Users report that the site can be confusing initially, but they say it helps them emotionally and makes them feel supported. It’s moderated and won’t replace professional help, but it can be an excellent place to start.
The Mood Disorders Support Group-NY (MDSG-NY) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) self-help, peer-led mental health organization that has been enhancing and saving lives since 1981. Their trained facilitators have experience and training in supporting individuals with bipolar, as well as their families and loved ones.
Look for a group that’s specific to bipolar disorder.
If your spouse has bipolar disorder, you’ll want to look for a group specific to the mental health condition. It is crucial because it will help you understand the illness better and support your spouse during the treatment process.
A support group provides a secure setting for members to express their feelings. It’s also a place where they can share information about their medications, therapy, self-care, and coping strategies.
Some groups are facilitated by a qualified expert like a social worker or psychologist, while volunteers lead others. Both groups can be helpful, too, but you’ll want to choose the type that works best for your loved one.
Couples, families, and friends of persons with bipolar disease can participate in various free in-person and online support groups offered by the Depression and Bipolar Alliance (DBSA). These peer-led groups are a great way to learn more about the condition and how to support your loved one.
Another good option is Mental Health America’s Inspire, which offers 24/7 moderated online support groups. Members can connect with other members and chat with a volunteer listener. This service won’t replace professional help, but it can be helpful for those unable to attend meetings.
The bottom line is that your spouse with bipolar disorder needs a supportive environment where they can express themselves without feeling shame or fear. Creating a healthy, safe environment in which they can do this will help them cope with their symptoms and keep their relationship strong.
Find a Therapist to Work With
A therapist can be a critical partner for your spouse with bipolar disorder, especially during the early stages of treatment. It is because a good therapist will know how to guide your spouse through the various phases of treatment. They’ll also be able to offer advice on medication and therapy techniques that will be most effective for your spouse.
You can start by looking for a reputable therapist in your area who has experience with treating individuals with bipolar disorder. Most states require therapists to have at least a master’s degree in psychology or social work and a certain amount of supervised clinical hours.
Generally, a therapist must take several courses in human development, cognitive psychology, and therapy. It will help you understand how to apply your knowledge to a client’s unique situation and create a customized treatment plan.