Why You Should Wear A Medical ID If You Have Bipolar Disorder

Medical alert jewelry isn't just for life threatening illnesses, and here's why

USA, Illinois, Metamora, Close-up of female patient hands with medical identity bracelet
Medical Identity Bracelet. Vstock LLC

You've probably heard of medical alert jewelry or ID cards for certain medical conditions that may cause life-threatening emergencies, such as diabetes, heart problems, and drug and food allergies. However, anyone with an ongoing medical condition—including mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression or anxiety—as well as those who take medications on a regular basis may also want to consider using medical IDs.

They can be invaluable, life-saving resources. 

Why Would I Wear Medical Alert Jewelry If I Have Bipolar Disorder? 

There are many compelling reasons to seriously consider wearing medical alert bracelets or necklaces if you have bipolar disorder or any type of mental health condition. Here are some:   

  • In the event of an emergency, where you can't speak for yourself or are unconscious, a medical ID can help medical personnel give you appropriate and swift medical care. 
  • Emergency responders are trained to look for medical IDs when they are assessing patients (say, at the site of a car accident or if you've called 911), and medical alert jewelry immediately alerts them to your health condition. 
  • Medical alert jewelry reduces treatment errors that can happen when doctors lack a patient's health records upon hospital admission. 
  • Mixing psychiatric medications with other types of medication can be dangerous; a medical ID can prevent that type of harmful medical error from happening.  

    What Kinds of Medical IDs Are Available?

    Anyone can find the perfect medical ID piece for his or her tastes in an array of bracelets, charms and emblems, necklaces and dog tags, sports-bands and cuffs, anklets, and even watches.

    There are also a number of alternatives to jewelry. The most common is the medical ID card, which can include a great deal more information than an emblem.

    Some companies offer engraved pill containers as well.

    What Should I Include On My Medical ID?

    The back of medical alert jewelry is usually where your personal information is listed or engraved. It can include information such as your medical condition, food or drug allergies, medicines, and an emergency contact number.

    Obviously the amount of space available on a jewelry emblem is limited (usually only 3-5 lines of about 15 characters each) so this information must be brief. If you need more space, one option is to include a line on a piece of medical alert jewelry that indicates you carry a medical ID card. Here are some examples:

    • Bipolar Disorder
      Lithium & Zoloft
      Penicillin Allergy

      Contact Husband
      Joe Smith

      Panic Attacks
      Bipolar Disorder
      Food Allergies
      See Wallet Card

    Whatever you can't fit on your medical alert jewelry or tag can be recorded on a medical ID card for easy reference. This usually includes: name, birth date, address, telephone numbers, emergency contacts, physicians' names and phone numbers, medical conditions, medications, food and drug allergies as well as the date it was printed.

    It may also indicate if you are an organ donor or have a living will.

    Some individuals choose to join a medical information organization as well, such as MedicAlert. The back of their medical ID carries their member identification number and a toll-free number to reach the organization, which holds an updated medical profile for them.

    What If I Can't Afford Medical Alert Jewelry?

    Most of the companies that sell these pieces of jewelry have very inexpensive versions available. MedIds has an online form for completing and printing a free wallet card. In addition, MedicAlert offers sponsored memberships. For more information on sponsored memberships, you can contact their Director of Contributions at 800-228-6222 ext. 2466.

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