Experience of living with a family member with bipolar disorder.
Journal article, 2011
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a severe illness that has a serious impact on the lives of those affected and on their families. The aim of this study was to elucidate what it means for family members to live with an adult person who has BD, with reference to their views concerning the condition of the person affected and the future. During 2005, 17 family members of people with the disorder were interviewed, and the data obtained were subjected to a qualitative content analysis. The findings showed that family members felt alone with their experiences and struggled to make sense of and to maintain normality, as their life was encroached on by the condition. Bearing the burden of responsibility and control made it difficult for family members to focus on their own future. To build hope, they needed opportunities to share their experiences with others, increased understanding of the condition, and relief from the burden they bore. This study underlines the importance of strengthening support holistically for family members living with an adult person with BD. Support and interventions concerning these families' needs have to be developed and should be provided by all mental health-care services.