• bipolar disorder;
  • misdiagnosis;
  • patient empowerment;
  • therapeutic alliance

Objective:  To compare the needs of patients and with those cited by psychiatrists in the current physician study to provide a more balanced view of the scope of unmet needs.

Methods:  A US-based consensus panel categorized unmet needs according to their relevance to patients, providers, or health systems.

Results:  Patients need medications that are quicker acting, have less troublesome side-effects, are more effective, and are significantly less expensive, and they need access to medications most likely to help them by not being at the mercy of restricted formularies. To improve communication with patients, physicians must not only listen more effectively but must also ask patients more direct and targeted questions, particularly regarding all symptoms the patient might be experiencing. Patients gave a high priority to making treatment decisions jointly with their physicians and being partners in their wellness plan. Peer support can also be extremely helpful to people who have bipolar disorder.

Conclusions:  By making efficacious, affordable medications available, improving communications, jointly creating wellness strategies and goals, and equally participating as active partners, patients and physicians can work together to achieve optimal wellness not just remission of symptoms.