How do Support Groups Help?

When you are newly diagnosed, it’s helpful to have reliable, knowledgeable people around you who know what you are going through. DBSA group participants are people with mood disorders and their families who share experience, discuss coping skills and offer hope to one another in a safe and confidential environment. People who go to DBSA groups say that the groups:

  • Provide a safe and welcoming place for mutual acceptance, understanding and self-discovery.
  • Give them the opportunity to reach out to others and benefit from the experience of those who have “been there.”
  • Motivate them to follow their treatment plans.
  • Help them to understand that mood disorders do not define who they are.
  • Help them rediscover their strengths and humor.

People who had been attending DBSA groups for more than a year were also less likely to have been hospitalized for their mood disorder during that year, according to a DBSA survey.

How do I talk to others about my illness?

Telling others about your mood disorder is completely your choice. Some of your close friends and family members may have already become concerned about mood swings you’ve had, so they might be glad to hear you’re getting help. Other people in your life might have wrong or hurtful beliefs about mental illness and you may choose not to tell them.

Sharing your illness with employers or co-workers can also be difficult. Sometimes it may be best to say nothing about your illness, unless you need special accommodations such as reduced hours or extended time off.

Some people have a hard time accepting a mood disorder diagnosis. They may believe that a person should be able to control mood swings, or just “snap out of it”. Do your best to educate your family and friends by giving them information about mood disorders. Even if they do not change their beliefs, keep reminding yourself that getting treatment is the best thing you can do for yourself. Encourage your loved ones to get help and

There is help. There is hope.

Patience is a great help when adjusting to the effects of a new treatment, getting to know a new group of people, or waiting for your mind and body to feel better. If you’ve lived with symptoms of a mood disorder for years, you may have already developed patience from holding on and waiting for depression or mania to pass.

Always remember, you are not alone, there is help and there is hope. With treatment and support, you can feel better.