Information for Caregivers


From the start, it's critical for you recognize that your loved one's mental illness is not your fault, nor is it their fault. They are suffering from a very real, and treatable, illness that is rooted in the chemistry of their brain. It is not a weakness or a consequence of past events, and it can't be overcome by simply "trying harder."

Remember, you are not alone.

Mood disorders are illnesses just like asthma or heart disease. And they are more common than you might think: 1 in 4 Americans has experienced a mood disorders at one time or another. With your help, your doctor can give your loved one the kind of help he or she really needs. And you can get the person you know back again.

How Can I Help?

As friends and family members, you can actively help inthe treatment of your loved one.Here are some ways they might help:

  • Learn more about their mental illness and how treatment can help
  • Know the signs when your loved one is having symptoms
  • Work with your loved one when he or she is stable to plan what to do when an episode arises
  • Help your loved one stick with their treatment
  • Encourage them to avoid alcohol and street drugs
  • Be patient during an episode
  • Call the doctor, 911, or the hospital if your loved one shows signs of wanting to hurt himself or others
  • Take any guns out of the house--to reduce the risk of suicide or violence
  • Participate in talk therapy
  • Attend a support group meeting with your loved one


The information provided on the is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

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