If your loved one has bipolar disorder and goes into manic episodes, one of the symptoms they may exhibit is excessive spending.  If you plan for this in advance, however, you may be able to protect your finances.

 

When your loved one is in a manic episode, they can max out your credit cards, use up all the money in your checking, savings, and investment accounts, and do all this behind your back.

 

In some cases, people in a manic episode have even been known to steal money from their supporter, even though they would normally never do this.  Unfortunately, one of the symptoms of a bipolar manic episode is to act impulsively with no thought to the consequences and, if your loved one should run out of money during a spending spree, they may even steal any cash you have on hand.

 

Following are some suggestions of things you may want to consider doing to insure your financial stability should your loved one go into a manic episode (for more suggestions, visit my website devoted to bipolar disorder. :

 

·         Limit yourself to one credit card during an episode

If you have multiple credit cards already, get rid of all of them but one. 

In fact, if your loved one has gotten you into a lot of problems with credit,

you may want to put all of them away.  Credit cards are the easiest way

to ruin your finances during an episode, so removing them from the picture

is a major step in the right direction.

 

·         Shut down all credit cards for the duration of the episode

Another choice would be to contact the credit card company or companies

and ask them to shut down the credit card(s) temporarily.  They don't need

a long explanation; you can just tell them that you're worried about excess

spending levels and that you might not be able to afford them, and they'll

close them down for you.  After your loved one's episode, you can start

them back up again.

 

·         Keep a separate checking account

Let your loved one have their own checking account, but only keep a small

amount of money in it.  Do not let them be a signer on your account.  Talk

to your local bank if you have to, and make sure that your loved one has no

access to your account.  Use as many safeguards as the bank permits.

 

·         Do not keep large amounts of cash at hand

As stated earlier, some people in a manic episode will do anything to raise

the money for their spending sprees.  If you keep large amounts of cash in

the house (and they know about it), they may steal this money.  You may

even want to open up a safe deposit box in which to keep the money. 

You can also keep the credit cards and checking account book in the safe

deposit box as well during an episode.  Just make sure that the box is in

your name only and that your loved one has no access to it.