Letters Bipolar disorder

Self or partnership management of bipolar disorder

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f510 (Published 30 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f510
  1. Peter Draper, public health consultant (retired)1
  1. 1Guy’s Hospital Medical School, London, UK
  1. peterdraper2{at}virginmedia.com

In their comprehensive review of managing bipolar disorder Anderson and colleagues did not discuss what is commonly but misleadingly called “self management” (“partnership management” is more accurate).1

They did, however, include contact details for five organisations, including Bipolar UK. Having attended one of its courses and participated in self help group meetings, I can say that the focus is on developing “expert patients,” although this is not the term usually used.

In the three day courses, about 12 patients and a moderator discuss the assessment of moods and key features of hypomania, mania, and depression, with a view to helping patients quickly recognise their current mood and status. Also discussed are triggers for elevated or depressed states, and how to avoid or reduce them. A fundamental aim is to recognise change early and act promptly to recover equilibrium.

Self medication is also discussed. This is typically of great interest but is rarely practised because it depends on the collaboration of GPs and psychiatrists.

Given current NHS policies and financial pressures to maximise treatment in the community, more courses may become available to help suitable patients with bipolar disease become expert patients.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f510


  • Competing interests: None declared.