There is a very good chance that your loved one with bipolar disorder could kill themselves.  Statistics show that nearly half of the people with the disorder will attempt suicide at least once, and 1 in 5 will actually succeed.  I'm not trying to frighten you; just trying to warn you that bipolar disorder can be fatal for those who have it. You must take the threat of suicide very seriously when you're dealing with a loved one who has bipolar disorder.

 

You need to be aware of what signs may signal that your loved one has been having suicidal thoughts.  A checklist of these signs is listed below:

 

·       Beginning to discuss suicide openly

·       Talking about meeting up with dead relatives in the very near future

·       Giving away items that are personal or special to them

·       Purchasing knives, guns, or other weapons

·       Stockpiling their medications

·       Writing a will, checking on the status of life insurance policies, or finalizing funeral arrangements

·       Contacting people they haven't spoken to in a long time

·       Making statements such as “You'd all be better off if I were dead” or “I don't have anything to live for”

·       Having several accidents in a row that result in injury (these may have been suicide attempts)

 

Make sure that you know to contact your loved one's doctor, psychiatrist, and/or therapist immediately if they begin to show any of these signs.  If you wait, it may be too late.

 

Your loved one may have to have to rely on your vigilance to protect them from themselves while they are in a depressive episode.  There are some things you can do at the first signs of a bipolar depressive episode to protect them in case they begin to have these types of thoughts, though, such as the following:

 

·       Hide all medications and weapons (including kitchen knives) where your loved one cannot easily access them

·       Get rid of any medications that are no longer needed

·       Get rid of all guns and firearms in your home

·       Make arrangements to have someone be with your loved one most or all of the time

·       Keep the phone number for the suicide hotline (1-800-442-HOPE) where you and/or your loved one can find it: on your refrigerator, in your speed dial, etc.

 

Because statistics show there is a chance that your loved one might attempt suicide during their lifetime (especially during a bipolar depressive episode), being prepared in advance by knowing the signs will help.  You can also be prepared by making your house a safe place for your loved one.