This year, bipolar disorder will affect approximately 2.8 percent of the United States population, while up to 4.4% of all Americans have experienced bipolar disorder at some point in their lives.1
If you suspect this disorder in yourself or someone you love, you might be concerned about the costs of bipolar treatment. It’s true, the cost of treating bipolar disorder can range wildly, depending on where one’s condition falls along the bipolar spectrum, the presence of concurrent disorders, the coverage and deductibles of one’s insurance policy and the type of program selected in a patient’s treatment regimen.
Don’t let frustration stop you from treatment. It is possible to get clear answers and find a way to make treatment affordable for you and your family. By all means, avoiding bipolar disorder treatment will cost more in the long run, no matter what treatment options you choose. Finding affordable solutions may be easier than you think.
How Much Does Bipolar Treatment Cost?
Costs for initial bipolar treatment can run high in the first year after a bipolar disorder diagnosis, especially if residential (overnight) treatment and stabilization services are needed. Unfortunately, bipolar disorder often goes unrecognized until a crisis situation occurs, and these situations often require intensive treatment. Many people choose residential or inpatient treatment when they begin their journey in bipolar recovery.
This type of treatment may seem expensive at first, but it offers a few key benefits that may save money in the long run, including:
- A safe space to stabilize mood and assess for co-occurring disorders
- Intensive treatment from a well-rounded team of treatment providers
- Assistance with follow-up care and ongoing counseling
- Empowering family counseling and information
- Time to determine the best medical treatment, and to ensure that those treatments work
- Detox from any substance use, if present
- Group counseling and peer support from other people who have experienced bipolar disorder
Once stabilized, outpatient care treatment offers a helpful step-down in treatment that allows participants to return home in the evenings and return to jobs, school, and family obligations. Intensive outpatient treatment can last several hours a week while traditional counseling sessions may last anywhere from one to three hours per week.
A significant percentage of the costs associated with treatment for those suffering from bipolar disorder can include treatment of comorbid mental health disorders. The cost of psychiatric medications, individual and group counseling sessions, substance abuse treatment, emergency intervention and treatment of physical issues (such as eating disorders, self-harm or suicide attempts) all comprise the treatment cost for bipolar individuals.
These costs largely depend on health insurance and insurance coverage. Many patients must meet an annual deductible that is determined by their health insurance plan, while others will only need to pay a standard co-payment for treatment. Inpatient treatment typically costs anywhere from $500-$3000, depending on the patient’s plan. Outpatient treatment is often significantly more affordable.
The costs of treatment can sometimes be negotiated with your healthcare provider, as some programs offer sliding-scale fees, payment plans, or financing. In most cases, treatment providers are able to work with insurance companies and other decision-makers to help a person in need.
When a Bipolar Disorder Occurs Alongside Other Conditions
When multiple conditions are present , inpatient bipolar treatment may be most appropriate. For those suffering from substance use disorders, self-harming behaviors (such as cutting), suicidal ideation, hallucinations, or trauma, inpatient stays may provide life-saving treatment. Programs that treat multiple conditions in one location can actually be quite cost-effective.
Co-occurring disorders (also known as dual diagnoses) can be difficult to treat, but when the individual is given a safe place to receive treatment for both issues in one location, the chances for recovery increase.
Many insurance companies will cover at least a 30-day treatment stay for cases of bipolar disorder that warrant inpatient care. A quality treatment program will have an experienced billing professional that can help you and advocate on your behalf by calling and communicating with your insurance provider.
How to Finance Bipolar Treatment
If someone you love is struggling with bipolar disorder, treatment is a necessity, and not an option. While the cost of treating bipolar disorder can seem daunting at first, several options exist to help finance recovery and care.
Insurance policies generally offer a host of mental health treatment options – from inpatient to outpatient care – once an official diagnosis of bipolar disorder has been given. For those with a dual diagnosis of drug or alcohol addiction in addition to bipolar disorder, many inpatient substance abuse rehabilitation facilities can offer services for both conditions that often fall under an individual’s insurance coverage.
State-funded assistance can also be sought under a variety of governmental programs, including state-run health care initiatives for those with lower incomes. Some inpatient treatment programs – and even professional clinical therapists – offer sliding scales for those with fewer financial resources.
Some individuals with bipolar disorder seek financial assistance – or even personal loans – from loved ones, recognizing treatment for the disorder as an investment towards a more functional (and generally more financially secure) future.
It’s a very good idea to make a few calls to learn more about your options. There are professionals who want to help. Finances should never stop you from life-saving treatment, and making a call today at 844-496-9429 may save the life of someone you love.
David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.
Reviewed by: Kim Chin and Marian Newton