How can I manage my finances if I have bipolar disorder?

Ruth White, MPH
Social Work
Many people living with bipolar disorder end up with credit problems because of the shopping sprees that can accompany mania and the lack of attention to bills that can come with depression. You may need to explain your situation to your creditors so you can have time to rebuild a good credit rating now that you're working toward becoming more stable. You can start with the billing department and say, "I've been ill, and these charges are a result of my illness. I'd like to repay my debt and wonder if I can have my payments or interest reduced for the next six months until I can get back on my feet." If they can't help you, ask to speak to a supervisor. If the supervisor can't help you, ask if there's someone else you can speak with or write to who may be able to help you with your request.

If you're in a lot of debt and can't see your way out, consider contacting a nonprofit, free, credit counseling service, such as Consumer Credit Counseling Service (which has local branches across the country), to help you make a budget and pay your bills. If you have a shopping problem when depressed or manic, proactive financial decision making may include having only one credit card and leaving it at home when you go out, reserving it only for emergencies. If you feel you're not the best person to take care of your finances, you can have your spouse, partner, or someone else you trust help you write a budget, keep track of your finances, or pay your bills.
Bipolar 101: A Practical Guide to Identifying Triggers, Managing Medications, Coping with Symptoms, and More

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Bipolar 101: A Practical Guide to Identifying Triggers, Managing Medications, Coping with Symptoms, and More

After receiving a bipolar diagnosis, you need clear answers. Bipolar 101 is a straightforward guide to understanding bipolar disorder. It includes all the information you need to control your...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.