At any given time in the United States and Canada, there may be a dozen or more clinical trials going on that have to do with bipolar disorder and new treatment options. These are usually conducted at University Hospitals and conducted under strictly supervised conditions.

If you haven't considered being involved in a clinical trial, you should think about it. There are several benefits of clinical trials for treating bipolar disorder that can be very alluring.

  • Bipolar clinical trials are nearly always done at University or teaching hospitals that provide some of the best, most advanced care in the world. You will have the most enlightened doctors taking care of you, and they will be up on the most advanced psychiatric and medical research available.
  • When you are enrolled in a clinical trial, your treatment is free, including your medications and all doctors' visits. This can ease the financial burden during the duration of the study.
  • You'll often get the chance to try new, cutting edge therapies before the general public and in a controlled, safe environment.
  • You have the opportunity to help others who are bipolar and move research forward, perhaps advancing the search for new treatments or even an eventual cure.
  • Careful monitoring and controls are the nature of any clinical study, so the onset of any episode is sure to be caught earlier and treated sooner.

With so many advantages to being in a clinical trial, you're probably thinking you'd like to check a few out but aren't sure how to find them. Your first step is to call your local teaching hospital, which is usually associated with a university or college. In most large cities there will be a University hospital that is a research center. Call them and ask who you should contact about psychiatric clinical trials information. They should give you a phone number or website information. Your county and state mental health offices are also good sources of information.

On the internet, doing a search for 'bipolar clinical trials' will give you plenty of leads, but a few good places to start include:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/studies/index.cfm This links directly to the National Institutes of Mental Health's government sponsored studies, including at least one currently recruiting for a new bipolar clinical trial.

http://www.clinicaltrials.com/ A pharmaceutical sponsored website that allows you to register for specific trials of interest and a newsletter with information on new trial results.

https://www.clinicalconnection.com/ A nationwide registry of a variety of clinical trials that matches your information with research groups and hospitals nationwide that are looking for clinical trial participants that match their criteria.

http://www.dbsalliance.org/info/ClinicalTrialsList.html This page at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance lists several ongoing clinical trials with detailed descriptions and contact information. These aren't connected to or endorsed by the Alliance, but are posted there independently with links and email addresses so that you can contact the sponsors directly.

As with any new venture, discuss the pros and cons carefully with your own doctor and therapist before enrolling in any clinical trial. If you decide to proceed, you may discover some amazing benefits, so get out there and do the research to find the one that's right for you.