Because the onset of bipolar disorder so frequently occurs in the late teens and twenties, it’s common for parents to find themselves with a child who was leaving the nest, or had left the nest, who is now dealing with a serious mood episode. Their son or daughter’s ability to pay the rent and maintain a household may be seriously impaired. If your finances are such that you can step in and help out, it can seriously diminish the overall level of stress the person with bipolar disorder is facing.
A common and complex question then needs to get answered: Do you help support your child in his own place, or would it be better if he returned home for a while? The answer will depend on several factors, including finances, how well you and your child get along, the physical layout of your home, and how he is functioning overall.
In general, you may want to overestimate the amount of time your child will need financial support. Some will bounce back fast, others will have a slower and more-protracted return, and for some, who have frequent and serious mood episodes with little or no periods that are symptom-free, longer-range planning will be needed.
If the decision is for your adult child to return home, it will be important to remember that he is in fact no longer a child. Whatever can be done to arrange the home so that his independence, autonomy, and dignity are maintained is recommended. Approaches that might be more supportive include in-law suites, basement, over the-garage or attic apartments, or a room with its own bath and outer door. Clearly not everyone has such set-ups, but whatever can be done to make the space suitable for an adult will be a help.