Impact on families

How does bipolar disorder impact on families?

A diagnosis of bipolar disorder can have considerable impact not only on the affected individual, but also on the people closest to them. Sometimes families experience different types of burden, particularly during acute phases of the illness. Burden is considered in terms of objective effects, such as illness severity or financial strain, but also in terms of subjective effects, such as the emotional impact of the illness on family members. As most caregivers are family members, the evidence regarding caregivers is reported in this family topic.

What is the evidence regarding impact on families?

Moderate to low quality evidence suggests caregiver burden is apparent both during the patient’s depressive and manic episodes. Patient behaviours of most concern to caregivers include; impulsive spending, over activity, lack of sleep, over talkativeness, lack of insight, and odd, aggressive or unpredictable behaviours.

Around half of all caregivers report depression symptoms, and around a third report contact with mental health services for their own symptoms.

Caregiver knowledge is increased, and short-term burden is decreased following education about bipolar disorder.

April 2019

Last updated at: 12:16 am, 10th April 2019
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Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.