The greatest difficulty with getting good information on bipolar disorder is not knowing where to get it. When your loved one is first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, their doctor or psychiatrist may give them a brochure or pamphlet that describes bipolar disorder in general. Usually that’s all they will get, unless he/she gives them samples of medication and, in that case, they might receive an additional brochure or pamphlet put out by the drug company that makes that particular medication. Generally speaking, however, that’s it. You are on your own after that, to try to understand this new and confusing diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
So where can you turn for good information on bipolar disorder? There are four places: 1) Brochures/Pamphlets; 2) Books/Reference Material; 3) Support Groups; and 4) the Internet. However, as you begin your search, you will very quickly become frustrated as you encounter the difficulties outlined below:
1. Lack of knowledge of where to get the brochures or pamphlets.
2. Information is more like advertising (from drug company).
3. Information is outdated.
4. Information doesn’t answer your questions.
5. Information is too general.
6. Information doesn’t apply to you.
7. Information is too technical.
8. Information is too confusing.
B. Books/Reference Materials
1. Library resources are scarce.
2. Library resources are outdated.
3. It can be embarrassing to tell the librarian your loved one has bipolar disorder, or even that you are researching articles or looking for books on the subject.
4. You cannot keep library books and it is sometimes difficult, time-consuming and takes money to copy the information in them.
5. Research articles are too difficult to find.
6. Research articles are too difficult to understand.
7. Many articles are on microfilm, which is difficult to operate without asking for assistance (which, again, may be embarrassing).
8. New books are expensive.
9. Books take too long to be published.
10. Books do not have current material.
11. Books tend to be too technical and are more for the clinician than for the patient.
12. There are too few books out there and, of those that are, there are few (if any) that are written for the bipolar supporter.
C. Support Groups
1. They don't always have free literature to hand out.
2. If they do have free literature, it is usually not the most up-to-date.
3. They are usually disorganized.
4. They are usually more of a “gripe session” than they are informative.
5. They are more concerned with people’s problems with bipolar disorder (like a group therapy session) than they are with getting out good information to the bipolar supporter.
D. The Internet
1. The Internet has too much advertising, which is distracting.
2. Website pop-up ads are annoying.
3. The bipolar disorder ads on the Internet can be misleading.
4. It’s hard to know which ads you can trust.
5. It’s hard to find websites on bipolar disorder in particular, rather than lumped with other topics you are not interested in.
6. It’s time-consuming to surf through all the different websites, trying to find a good one.
7. It’s time-consuming to find good information even if you do find good bipolar disorder websites.
8. Most websites have you jumping from link to link to find what you are looking for.
9. It’s hard to know which websites you can trust.
10. Many websites do not have up-to-date material.
11. Most bipolar disorder websites do not inform you of the most recent bipolar disorder research and developments.
12. Most bipolar disorder websites do not inform you of breaking bipolar disorder news or share success stories, tips, tricks, lessons, etc.
13. Most bipolar websites are directed toward the person with bipolar disorder and not the supporter.