Bipolar and Violence

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It seems as though when someone is diagnosed with a mental illness, one of the first things that others wonder is…”Are they going to be violent towards other people?” This thought can be very appropriate when it comes to other mental illnesses like Schizophrenia, (a topic for another day).  But as it relates to those with bipolar disease, what are the risks and facts relating to violence?

I’m happy to report that when patients are in treatment, taking their medication there is no difference in them becoming violent compared to someone without the diagnosis.

That being said, when a Bp patient has chosen to self medicate with illegal drugs, there can be a tendency for them to become violent.  But, yet again, the same goes for someone without the diagnosis, taking the same illegal drugs, (spice comes to mind).

Things that you might find helpful though.  While in a Manic phase, it is quite common for the patient to become irritable, and at times somewhat aggressive.  Family members should understand these changes or symptoms.  This is not the best time to push for them to clean their room, or work to get their grades up. If aggression is witnessed, remember, it’s part of the disease… and it’s not to be taken personal.

On the flip side, when the patient has entered the phase of depression, this is the period when “self-harm” might occur.  Self harm can involve, cutting, burning, punching ones self, and any other form of them hurting themselves.  Unlikely… Yes, but as it relates to this topic of violence, this would be the time in which self harm would occur.

These are both extreme examples.  Bp patients can live a very happy, productive life… free of violence or harm.  Treatment is important to pursue, but once a therapy plan has been implemented, they can live a life undetected of  being Bipolar.

Understanding one another helps us in our relationships.  It is common nature to judge others based upon how we feel about things.  But, we are all different… Some of us have been wired differently than the norm.  When others understand why we do some of the things that we do, relationships aren’t set back due to feelings of being hurt by a characteristic of the disease, and not the personal intent of the patient.


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