Bi-polar Affective Disorder reasonable adjustments

Bi-polar Affective Disorder should be seen as a condition regardless of medication.

Although the effects of Bi-polar Affective Disorder or Manic Depression, as it used to be called, may be minimised with medication, the effect of medication on a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities must be discounted. It is the effects of the condition on a person without the stabilising benefits of medication that ought to be considered.

The illness varies greatly in duration, but is likely to occur in cycles, with sometimes significant periods of remission. It should, however, be treated as long-term in that it is recurring.

Which barriers are you likely to face at work?

Bi-polar is likely to affect many aspects of your working practice because of the incidence of depression and anxiety you are likely to experience if you are without appropriate medication.

The effects of the illness during the ‘manic’ phase may include:

  • Speeding up of thought and speech;
  • Inappropriate optimism;
  • Gross overestimation of personal ability;
  • Unrealistic plans;
  • Poor judgment;
  • Hallucinations and delusions.

The effects of the illness during the depressive phase may include:

  • Feelings of insecurity;
  • Anxiety;
  • Lack of concentration and stamina;
  • Difficulty mixing with colleagues;
  • Bad time management;
  • Responding inappropriately to negative feedback;
  • Hallucinations and delusions.

What kind of adjustments may be considered?

Bipolar UK recommends the following adjustments for people with Bi-polar Affective Disorder:

  • Occasional home working;
  • Temporary reduction or change in working hours;
  • A personal mentor/buddy;
  • Written job instructions (to aid memory);
  • Positive as well as negative feedback during appraisals;
  • Time-off for specialist appointments;
  • Time-off to adjust to new or changing medication.

Further information:

Bipolar UK

Reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments are primarily concerned with enabling disabled workers to remain in or return to work.

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