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How to Help a Loved One with Bipolar Disorder Who Refuses Treatment

A loved one can struggle with both mental health issues and addiction at the same time. This is known as a co-occurring disorder. There are many reasons a loved one will refuse treatment or support. Having bipolar disorder causes depression and mania. Without properly managed psychologically or psychiatric care, they are not likely to trust or be willing to open up to treatment for the condition. Getting help for them can be a challenge, but is not impossible with the right tools.

Be Supportive

When a loved one resists treatment or getting help for their mental health diagnosis, it is okay to walk a mile in their shoes for a moment. Think about what they may be dealing with that is ‘invisible,’ as in, most of what is going on is happening in their brain. This is still a loved one that is a child, partner, or other family member who is struggling. When you sit back and listen to them, it is easier to offer support. They may open up as well and make seeking treatment easier.

Lay Out a Plan

Being unable to lay out a plan can create havoc for the person as you try to plan to help them. As long as the loved one is in a position to have a rational conversation, try to engage them in dialogue. Talk about the benefits of treatment and ask what their goals are. If the loved one is struggling and is not safe, then that should be dealt with differently. However, if the person is coherent and can rationalize their thoughts, look at specific things with them. Try to focus on:

  • What goals they have moving forward
  • What has not been working in the past
  • Look at employment goals and how they might work on those to find healing in their work-life
  • Talk about social life and what they desire
  • Look at untreated bipolar disorder and how it might get in the way of achieving a healthy relationship and career
  • Have a plan ready that encapsulates their goals and crystallizes what they can achieve

Bipolar disorder is complex, but so is an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Outpatient care can help but pushing for residential care may not work for them. It depends on what they are open to doing, but they may need lots of types of therapies, alternative therapies, life skills, and job training only provided at an inpatient facility. If they are safer going there, present the options and let them know you found a place or two that are open to having them right that minute. 

Healthy Intervention

When a loved one refuses treatment, their mental health issues may cause serious problems. It is not about pushing, but about listening and being present to ask what they need. Loved ones who come together can often bring healing and hope. If a person in question refuses to get help, then boundaries need to be set and laid out for them. One thing that can be done is an intervention by a professional who understands co-occurring illness and addiction. This may help mitigate challenges in getting them help. Interventions with a mental health professional often work because they are planned and practiced. Having a plan can greatly increase the odds a person will attend rehab and get the help they need.

Guest House provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. Our goal is to provide you with the best professional service you need to help your loved one fight addiction. For more information on sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call 855-483-7800.