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Bipolar Parenting

Question:

If someone has been diagnosised with bipolar disease should they lose their children or can they still care for them with the right medications?

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Answer:

If bipolar disease was as simple as a light switch (being either on or off; sick or well) there would be a simple answer to your excellent question. As usual, however, the real world is complicated, and I have no simple answer to offer you. There are milder and more severe forms of bipolar disease (Bipolar I vs. Bipolar II; Cyclothymia, etc.). Someone with a relatively mild form of the illness who is medication compliant and who has reasonable social support may be quite able to function well as a primary parent – possibly better even than other ‘healthy’ parents. Another person with a more severe form of the illness and who is not medication compliant will likely be a rather inconsistant parent at best. Even very ill people may be able to function well as parents while in-between serious manic or depressive states, although such peoples ability to function as a primary caregiver may be overall fairly compromised. For these reasons, the decision as to whether an ill person should have parental responsibilities is best figured out on a case by case basis.

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