On October 7th 2014 the UK celebrated Bipolar Awareness Day in the UK.
To coincide with this annual event, NICE issued recommendations for mental health services to provide more support to carers of people with bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression).
Bipolar disorder – a condition characterised by episodes of mania and depression – is a complex condition, and it can be very challenging caring for people who suffer from it.
During episodes of illness, sufferers can display unpredictable behaviour and unusual personalities, and some may even become abusive and violent.
In an update to the 2006 guideline, NICE are calling for an assessment process which will evaluate the needs, views and strengths of carers.
Based on this information, healthcare professionals will then negotiate with carers and the person with bipolar, to foster a collaborative approach that supports both parties and respects their individual needs.
This will really help carers to gain perspective of what the person with bipolar is going through and better understand the issues associated with caring for them.
The updated guidance recommendations also include:
- A stronger focus on diagnosis of children and young people and how to manage the disorder in these groups.
- Offering all adults with bipolar depression a psychological intervention such as CBT or interpersonal therapy to help them better manage the condition.
- New drug treatment options for people who develop moderate or severe bipolar depression.
Professor Mark Baker, director of the Centre for Clinical Practice, NICE, said:
“Since the publication of the previous NICE guideline in 2006, there have been some important advances in what we know about which treatment approaches are most likely to benefit people with bipolar disorder.
“The guideline has been updated to reflect this new knowledge and sets out the criteria for when patients need to be referred on for specialist psychiatric assessment and treatment. It also sets out the drug treatment options for people with bipolar disorder and emphasises the need to involve the individual patient in treatment decisions.”
Baker added that bipolar often goes unrecognised or misdiagnosed for many years, so the new guideline is an important step in raising awareness of the disorder to ensure it can be treated as early as possible.