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6 Bipolar Disorders Nursing Care Plans

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental condition characterized by extreme moods and emotional fluctuations.

The illness includes both mania and depression, which cause bipolar patients to have trouble with cognitive functioning. This may negatively impact their professional or academic performance and even their social life.

Global statistics show that bipolar disorder is one of the top causes of concern when it comes to mental healthcare. It has affected nearly 46 million people in the world, out of which 2.8% of patients are Americans.

It is, therefore, important to approach treatment for bipolar disorder with an open and optimistic mindset. In this article, we will talk about the different effective nursing care plans to confront and control the signs or symptoms in the best possible way.

How Devastating Can Bipolar Disorder Be?

The drastic changes in mood conditions marked by recurrent and extended periods of mania and depression could be dangerous to the point that it can also lead to suicidal tendencies.

The complicated and abrupt mood swings can leave patients feeling frustrated and lonely. The sudden outbursts when they snap can affect their social interactions and relationships to a great extent.

Millions of people diagnosed with mental illness suffer from one of three types of bipolar disorder, and most of them are struggling to alleviate the symptoms. However, refusal to take appropriate treatment or misdiagnosis can increase the severity of the condition.

Is There a Suicide Risk?

Is there a Suicide Risk

Unfortunately, the answer to the above question is YES if bipolar disorder is knowingly or unknowingly left unaddressed. Suicides are more likely to occur in people with bipolar illness due to the condition’s association with feelings of loneliness and sadness.

Over 50% of people suffering from bipolar disorder advance to a stage where they experience severe depression and attempt suicide. The successful suicide rate among bipolar patients is around 11%.

The development of suicidal thoughts is a real possibility for those with bipolar disorder, but it can and should be mitigated with the right kind of care using proven clinical methods.

Signs of Bipolar Disorder

Signs of Bipolar Disorder

Before we get to the nursing plans for managing bipolar disorder, we should first understand what to look for in terms of behavior, emotional impact, and physical changes to the body. Here is the list of major symptoms:

  • Erratic sleeping, eating, and thinking patterns
  • Poor judgment and decision-making
  • Abrupt phases of irritability and elevated moods
  • Constant agitation and fidgety behavior
  • Careless and reckless behavior
  • Acts of impulsivity
  • Uncontrolled spending and mindlessly taking financial decisions
  • Intolerance of certain aspects of life
  • Delusional thoughts
  • Paranoid behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • A high risk of self-harm and violence against others
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Loss of appetite

6 Nursing Plans for Bipolar Disorder

In this section, we will discuss the best professional nursing care plans for treating bipolar disorder.

People affected by bipolar disorder have a very high chance of developing other problems such as anxiety, physiological issues, depression, and drug addiction.

Therefore, nursing helps provide therapy and can support primary treatment involving the alleviation of symptoms using prescription antidepressants and mood stabilizers.

Nursing plans can help to control the associated mental illnesses or any comorbidities that might be caused due to bipolar disorder.

1. Talk Therapy

Talk Therapy

If you are grappling with severe symptoms of bipolar disorder, your negative behavioral patterns and major stressors can be identified and addressed adequately using different forms of effective talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy.

There are multiple approaches available, and the best one can be chosen based on your environment and the severity of bipolar disorder.

You can engage your family members in the counseling sessions to understand their frustrations and help them know about your problems, too, so you can work together to develop the best treatment protocol.

This helps with rebuilding your broken relationships, if any, fostering trust, and creating a nurturing atmosphere for you to change your behavior proactively.

2. Watch Out for Substance Abuse

Another mandatory action is to keep a watchful eye on drug addictions. The nursing care team must find out if a bipolar patient is struggling with substance abuse problems.

Substance abuse, including alcohol addiction, can exacerbate the effects of bipolar disorder triggering a chain of undesirable episodes.

Drugs or alcohol magnify the risk of violence, including self-harm or suicide.

3. Encourage Patients to Take Breaks

Encourage patients to take breaks

One of the most distressing problems in bipolar disorder is the frequent bouts of fatigue and exhaustion, causing immense mental frustration. Therefore, consistent break periods punctuated by well-rested sleep are crucial.

A bipolar disorder nursing plan should always ensure the patient is not deprived of sleep, as less sleep can lead to poor eating and low energy levels. So, plenty of extended breaks are advisable.

4. Keep an Eye out for Negative Physical Symptoms

Keep an Eye out for Negative Physical Symptoms

Treatment for bipolar disorder requires a combination of therapy and prescription management. Stimulants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety drugs might also be recommended.

But since, bipolar patients have the possibility of engaging in reckless behavior as their mental state can abruptly swing from sanity to full-blown madness. They take lethal amounts or dosages of these drugs, assuming it would give them temporary relief.

The nursing care team should keep track of drug consumption and look for symptoms such as diarrhea, hearing loss, unclear vision, tremors, etc.

5. Focus on the Patient’s Ability to Remember and Make Decisions

Focus on the patient’s ability to remember and make decisions

Nursing care providers must examine a bipolar patient’s cognitive abilities as any deficiencies might put them at risk of serious harm to themselves or others.

Symptoms may include impulsive behavior, hallucinations, delusions, extreme anger, agitation, and difficulty concentrating.

Nursing interventions are necessary to control violent actions triggered by bipolar disorder. This can be particularly life-threatening for others as bipolar patients may get dangerously barbarous under the influence of self-created illusions.

6. Promoting Self-Awareness

Promoting self-awareness

This is also one of the top priorities covered by most bipolar nursing plans. Care providers should encourage the proactive participation of patients throughout the entire duration of treatment.

For better treatment results, the patients must be made aware of the symptoms, its consequences, and causes to understand the effective management options for bipolar disorder.

A good bipolar nursing plan should also emphasize providing supportive therapeutic and psychosocial assistance to help patients develop healthier coping methods, thereby improving treatment outcomes in the long run.


It is a tough job nursing bipolar disorder patients, given how complex the mental illness is.

So, nursing care for bipolar disorder must create a relaxing environment for the patients. The team must not only help patients to focus and get moving but also set firm limitations for them to prevent them from going overboard with disruptive behavior.

Being calm and patient is key to dealing with an aggressive bipolar disorder case. The team must also closely monitor their patients’ mood and sleeping and eating habits.

If you are experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder or if you live with someone who is severely bipolar, make sure they get the right treatment and support from a qualified mental health professional. It is important to have conversations with them openly and even involve their loved ones so you are aware of the major triggers of mood changes and inappropriate actions.

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