Expressing Your Concerns
If someone you think is ill has come to the attention of the police but has not broken the law, the police may or may not assist in getting an involuntary psychiatric assessment. If they don't, you can still try to arrange help. One of the first things you can do in your quest to have a loved one evaluated by a professional is to express your concerns, starting with other people who care about this person.
Talk to the Family
If the person has family or loved ones, find out if any of them agree with you. Perhaps you can form an alliance to help each other and the person in need. See if together you can form a plan to help him.
Convincing other people, of course, is not always easy. For one thing, you could be wrong. But assuming that you have good reason to think someone has bipolar disorder, it will help your case if you do the following:
Make it clear that you are not judging nor blaming. Explain you are someone who cares and who is making the observation that someone needs help.
Refer to traits or symptoms of bipolar disorder. Supply examples. Clearly restate the features of mania and depression and, in a nonaccusatory manner, cite instances when he showed clear signs of mood disorder.
Avoid diagnosing bipolar disorder or other mental illness. Stick to the symptoms and say it is possible to get help and control the troubling behaviors he is showing.
Pre-empt expected doubts. For instance, you might say in advance, “It isn't that he has been working too hard or feeling happy about being divorced. This is way beyond that, and it's been going on for a long time.”
Give the other people a chance to respond. Don't dominate the conversation. Seek out the observations and feelings of the people you are trying to recruit. Let them think about what you have said. You may be telling them more than they can immediately handle.
Have a plan. If the other people agree that the person in question might benefit from seeing a psychiatrist, they might think there is nothing they can do about it. It can be helpful if you can say you talked to a doctor or clinic. Then summarize what you learned after speaking with a professional.
Talk to the Person Directly
You might decide it could help to talk to him directly about the symptoms of mood disorders and why you think he should see a doctor. By now, you know he may respond by feeling insulted, embarrassed, angry, or violated, no matter how carefully you phrase your concerns. If you are willing to risk this for the sake of your friend or loved one, there are several issues to consider.
One is whether you should approach him alone or with others. If he is a spouse or best friend with whom you are especially close, it might work if you talked one on one. In other cases, it might be helpful to talk to him in the presence of one or more of his close friends or relatives, but try to avoid the appearance of ganging up on him. Concentrate to expressing concern.
If it very important that you know your facts. Have a list of symptoms handy to help convince him that treatment might be a good idea.
The boomerang effect refers to what happens when the listener ends up thinking or doing the opposite of what the speaker intended. One of the main causes of the boomerang effect in human interactions is mistrust of the speaker. Make sure the person you are trying to convince trusts you before you sit down with him.
Consider her state of mind before you begin your discussion. Reasoning with a person in the middle of a severe manic or depressive episode is unlikely to work. When he seems capable of listening to you, be sure you have a concrete and practical plan. If he agrees to get help, conclude by saying, “I'm so glad. Here is the phone number of a good doctor. Let's call him right now.” You also could offer to give him a ride to the doctor.