Bipolar Disorder Medical ID Bracelets

ID Bracelets Are Not Just for Life Threatening Illnesses

Close-up of female patient hands with medical identity bracelet

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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 which might affect one's cognition—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 Wear Medical Alert Jewelry for Bipolar Disorder

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

  • In the event of an emergency, when 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 may reduce the likelihood of 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.

Types of Medical IDs

Anyone can find the perfect medical ID piece for their tastes in an array of bracelets, charms and emblems, necklaces and dog tags, sports bands, cuffs, anklets, and even watches. However, it is important to remember that first responders cannot use medical ID pieces that they don't find, so make sure your medical ID jewelry can be easily located and that it is visibly different from everyday jewelry.

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 to Include

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
    • 888.555.1234
    • 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, and 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 You Can't Afford Medical Alert Jewelry?

Most of the companies that sell these pieces of jewelry have very inexpensive versions available. You can also look online for templates to print your own wallet card. In addition, MedicAlert offers sponsored memberships.

1 Source
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. English BA, Dortch M, Ereshefsky L, Jhee S. Clinically significant psychotropid drug-drug interactions in the primary care setting. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2012;14(4):376-390. doi:10.1007/s11920-012-0284-9

Additional Reading

By Marcia Purse
Marcia Purse is a mental health writer and bipolar disorder advocate who brings strong research skills and personal experiences to her writing.