A Support Group in Your Treatment Plan
A support group can be a fantastic component to your overall treatment plan.
There are many different types of groups to join. Some focus only on those with Bipolar Disorder. Others are specifically for family and friends. Still, others are a combination of those with the illness, family, and friends together.
Most individuals prefer to participate in a group that is solely for people with Bipolar Disorder. The support groups I went to and ran were for individuals with Bipolar Disorder.
It is easy to find support groups in your area. There are national groups in support of Bipolar Disorder. You can call them or visit their website to find the location of your nearest support group.
NAMI or National Alliance on Mental Illness. CLICK HERE to find a local support group by NAMI.
DBSA or The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. CLICK HERE to find a local support group by the DBSA.
If you would like to know more about Bipolar Disorder or are newly diagnosed, please CLICK HERE.
2 Main Types of Support Groups
1) In-person Support Group
If you prefer person-to-person contact, an in-person support group is your best bet. I have been both a participant and a group facilitator for a support group that ran at a brick and mortar location.
The fun part about going to a support group in-person, you get the social interaction that some do not get otherwise. It is a great way to make some friends and find further support.
The only down part to going to a support group is the commitment to the schedule of the group. If you want to be an attendee, you need to make sure to be there at the specified time and place.
These groups can be once a week, every other week or even once a month. When I attended a group, I went once a week. During my time as a group facilitator, I ran my group every other week.
Times and locations completely vary.
2) Online Support Group
You do not need to pledge much of a commitment when it comes to an online support group. When I say this, I mean that you can enter and leave a support group whenever you want to with internet access.
Some online support groups do have a predetermined time to interact, but many have much more flexibility.
You can also have somewhat of a degree of anonymity if that bothers you too.
It is a little bit more difficult to interact online because there is always a time delay in posting your statement to the group. If that does not bother you, then you are golden.
When you are trying to decide which type of group to be a part of, I suggest checking them both out. You may have a preconceived notion how you will respond to either type of group, but feel differently when you try them out.
Also, I think you need to decide the reason why you want to join a support group in the first place.
Do you want positive support with your illness?
Learning coping skills may be important to you.
Having human interaction could be a big driver to join.
For some individuals, it is difficult to leave their home. Maybe going to a brick-and-mortar group is the best option. I know many people who had this issue and going to an actual group helped them get over their fear of leaving the house.
Participating in a support group can have both a positive and enriching aspect to your overall treatment. I suggest you decide which type of group to join and try it out.
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