ABSTRACT: Bipolar disorder is a chronic and recurrent disorder with fluctuating symptoms. Few patients with bipolar disorder experience a simple trajectory of clear-cut episodes, with recovery typically occurring slowly over time. The chronic and disabling course of the disorder has a marked impact on the person's functioning and relationships with others. The objectives of this study were to investigate the impact of bipolar disorder on the lives of people diagnosed with this disorder. The method used was a general inductive qualitative approach. Twenty-one participants were interviewed between 2008 and 2009 about how they had experienced the impact of bipolar disorder. The interviews were audio-taped and transcribed. The core theme that emerged was the participants were feeling out of control. Their own reactions and the reactions of others to the symptoms of bipolar disorder contributed to this core theme. The core theme was constituted by feeling overwhelmed, a loss of autonomy and felling flawed. Mental health nurses can help facilitate a sense of personal control for people with bipolar disorder by exploring what the symptoms mean for that person and implementing strategies to manage the symptoms, address social stigma and facilitate active involvement in treatment.
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 09/2011; 19(4):294-302. · 0.80 Impact Factor