When  the first incidence of bipolar disorder happens, it leaves the patient bewildered and helpless.  An isolated feeling envelops the person.  If the incident or episode of mania or depression occurred at home or when with family and friends, the patient may not feel as vulnerable as when it were to happen at work.  The sense of embarrassment and humiliation would be unbearable.  It is in such situations that bipolar support groups play a vital role.

Bipolar disorder is not an illness that is physiologically diagnosed like other ailments such as hypertension and diabetes.  This is because it is a disorder that is caused in the brain of the person and the abnormality or defect is not visible to the naked eye.  Hence, it is very difficult for the people interacting with the patient to realize that the person is unstable. Moreover, it is very difficult to predict the next occurrence of the manic-depressive episode and this is where bipolar support groups are necessary.

So, what are these support groups?  These are groups of bipolar disorder afflicted persons who meet at any specified place at a particular time to talk about and share their experiences and raise issues which the group will try to resolve by finding the most relevant answers.   These are called primary support groups.  There are several types of bipolar support groups.  The family of the affected persons can enroll with a support group specific for family and care-givers and seek information and methods to handle the patients.

Generally , these types of support groups will discuss the pre-conditions that will trigger the manic-depressive outbursts, and come up with the specific steps or procedures the family or friend/s need to take during the period of the episodes.  The members of such groups will share their experience on how not  to get into an argument during the episode or being unobtrusive during periods of outbursts. 

 Sometimes tips  such as how a small gesture such as holding the afflicted spouse’s hand while he or she is  going through the bout can help them lend moral support, are shared among group members.  This strengthens and enlightens the care-givers as they see that they are not the only ones who are suffering and that probably, they are much better off than the family of patients who are severely afflicted.

 Bipolar support groups at the primary level will help the patient when he uses them as a sounding board even as he undergoes treatment with a mental health professional.  The advantage of these groups is their informal setting.  The group provides an open platform for the afflicted to be able to express their innermost angst and frustrations.

 Reference

http://www.healthcentral.com/bipolar/support-group-1330-43_2.html

http://knowingbipolardisorder.com/2009/01/bipolar-support-groups/