Question: What do I do if a friend or family member with possible bipolar disorder resists being evaluated and diagnosed?
Answer: Well, it's really not an easy thing to help a person who has bipolar disorder to see a psychiatrist for the first time.
People with bipolar disorder very often are not aware that they have the illness, or if they do, they feel threatened because of the stigma of the mental illness.
So one of the things that you can do convince them is to, for instance, tell them that this is really a biological illness, just like any other illness like diabetes.
That four percent of the population in the United States have this illness in some kind of form, that it's very common, that it's very well-managed with medications.
That, in fact, going to a psychiatrist will help them to straighten out either their family lives, or their work situations.
It would be very important to pay attention to the family situation, because 80 to 90 percent of people who have bipolar illness, actually have it run in the family.
So, they have relatives, siblings, parents who have it, and it would be important to point out that they really need to take care of themselves because they're at risk.
And what they inherit is the vulnerability to the illness, not the illness itself. And the illness is treatable, and they should get some help.
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