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Two sides of the same coin: caring for a person with bipolar disorder

The aim of this paper was to gain an in-depth understanding of the way the lives of individuals supporting someone diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a severe, recurrent and chronic mental disorder that has a significant impact on the lives of those who experience it and the people supporting them. It is often the subsyndromal symptoms that cause major impairment in functioning and can have financial, social, interpersonal and health impacts for carers. A qualitative thematic analysis was chosen to enable an in-depth exploration of participants' experiences. Twelve participants were interviewed using a semi-structured interview and the data were analysed to identify the themes that represented the participants' experiences. The predominant theme that emerged, two sides of the same coin, described the positive and negative aspects of being an informal carer for a person with bipolar disorder. This theme is constituted by two sub-themes: (1) ‘I am a much more compassionate person’; and (2) ‘It's tough and it's a sacrifice’. Mental health nurses could support informal caregivers more by providing care that demonstrates an understanding of the complexities associated with bipolar disorder and utilizes a collaborative approach to care that actively involves informal caregivers.

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Additional Titles
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing

Key Information

Type of Reference
1351-0126, 1351-0126
Resource Database
British nursing index bni - exported on 8/7/2016
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