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What to do if you have a friend with Bipolar Disorder and signs of Paranoia

Updated on February 3, 2010  Image Image

Bipolar Disorder - formerly known as Manic-Depressive Disorder

Bipolar Disorder, formerly known as Manic-Depressive Disorder, is one of those illnesses where, if you know a patient fairly well, you can often tell, or suspect, that they are "off their meds" and are beginning to show some signs of Paranoia.

Chances are that you probably know one or two people in your circle of family and friends that suffers from Bipolar Disorder.

When the person who suffers from Bipolar Disorder is being medicated properly, they will appear to be perfectly “normal.” They will be able to laugh and carry on with family, friends and co-workers in an everyday manner.

Missing doses is a problem I have run into frequently. It is usually due to a patient feeling like they are "fine," when they have had a long run, with few or no perceivable symptoms. The statement they usually make is "I felt so good that I didn't think I needed my medicine any more." Commonly they are looking for an excuse to cut back. Sometimes the problem is due to expense. Other times, it may be due to an often wrongfully perceived notion of a social stigma associated with having to take “drugs” in the first place.

Click on this link for a general discussion of Bipolar Disorder > Understanding And Dealing With Bipolar Disorder

Paranoia is one of the first observable signs that something is wrong. They will mention people at work talking about them all of the time or about someone “from the government” stalking them. If they come up to a group of people talking, they will almost always assume that they were the topic of that conversation. If they see a parked car, with someone inside it off in the distance, to them it is proof that they are being followed.

When you engage them in conversation, after you have observed this behavior, you will frequently discover that their meds are not working like they should, because they have cut back or have quit taking them properly, for one reason or another; including forgetfulness.

If someone you know is suffering from this rather common illness, be alert to these signs and be prepared to direct them towards help any time you think it might be necessary; not just when they might be demonstrating sign of paranoia, etc.

One of my friends, that trusts me completely, will listen to me when I tell him that he is starting to act paranoid again. I will ask him if he taking his medicine like he should. He will say, “Yeah, you’re right.” That’s usually all it takes, because he knows that I am looking out for him.

I hope that what I have written is helpful to you; if you are a friend of, or a caregiver for someone that you know suffers from this disorder. If you aren’t aware of a valid diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, then you must not assume that they have it and you must completely disregard this information.


Related articles:

What Can You Do When You Don't Have Enough Money for Food and Medicine

Deadly Cocktails: The Dangers of Mixing Prescription Drugs


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    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 

      8 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      I have a close family member who has BP- I can tell when he is off his meds because his speech gets rapid. He was diagnosed about 16 years old but lives a very productive life. The right meds make all the difference. Thanks for an informative hub.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      I have lived with a severely bi-polar person for nine years and I can tell you that it is no fun. Thank you for your fine article and good advice.

    • profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 

      8 years ago

      Great information! I started out my career as a Psychiatric Nurse. I left to get my skills back as a critical care nurse. Your information is right on the money. It should help lots of people.

    • DiamondRN profile imageAUTHOR

      Bob Diamond RPh 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

      Thank you for your reinforcement, Pamela.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Diamond, Over my years of nursing I have had many patients with bipolar disorder. The regularity of the medication is definitely the key to living a good life. Good hub.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have bipolar disorder... which was later drawn down to only schizophrenia and depression... doctors confuse me ,but the only thing you can do is make sure they are on there meds and are active, happy, healthy and functioning well... if not the person should be hospitalized... i have been there .. .and im doing well now... come visit my hub if you like my work.


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