Bipolar travel: going abroad without going into crisis

A couple of months ago my partner told me that he has booked us a holiday. It was hardly unexpected; we’d been talking about it for a while, and I’d left him to research options and make the big decisions. Despite this, upon hearing he’d made a booking I burst into tears – not tears of joy and gratitude, either, but ones of overwhelming anxiety. All sorts of concerns were running around in my head. For a start, there was the money issue. With my sick pay running out soon, and no benefits as yet awarded, why were we even going on holiday? And with those benefits claims in progress, would I end up on the TV news being judged “not really sick/disabled” for going abroad? How could I brave the beach with all the medication-related weight I’d put on during the past year? And – most significantly – wasn’t long haul travel really bad news for anyone with bipolar?

I’ve got more a grip now (thankfully!). I’ve remembered that the flights are being paid for with “use them or lose them” Airmiles. I’ve got some perspective on the fact that Mr Persuasion has been very stressed and overworked lately, and as the main income-earner has every right to spend some of that income on holiday accommodation if he wishes. I’ve discussed it at length with my Consultant, who believes the benefits of going away outweigh the risks, and therefore supports the idea. My concerns about travel, however, continue to niggle on. The one thing all the books and websites about bipolar seem uniformly agreed upon is that long-distance travel is bad news. It’s taken me a lot of internet searches to feel that I have a good understanding of the situation, and a workable plan to minimise the risks of our holiday being ruined by an acute episode. I’ve therefore tried to pull all my learning together below, in the hope that it might save a fellow bipolar bear some legwork in the future.

  • What exactly is the deal with long haul flights?

Most sources agree that long-distance air travel is an issue, and that this is connected with crossing time zones and disrupting circadian rhythms – although north/south travel within a time zone or two can still be problematic for those who find flying stressful. The general view is that flying west to east – which usually causes people far worse jet lag symptoms – is particularly tricky. The always useful psycheducation site cites two studies suggesting that symptoms of mania are more common when travelling east, while depression in more common travelling west. So for British bipolar people travelling to the Americas or the Caribbean, this means we may more likely to be depressed on our holidays, but (hypo)manic on our return; and vice versa for those crossing the Atlantic to visit Europe. These studies have apparently been carried out at Heathrow airport, which suggests the effects of west-east travel can occur even while on the flight! Minimising the effect of time zone changes, and trying to prevent or reduce jet lag, therefore seems a sensible preventative measure for the bipolar traveller.

  • What about melatonin?

This was my first thought, because I know a number of frequent transatlantic flyers who swear by it for jet lag prevention. I talked it over with my psychiatrist, but after looking into the matter he was unwilling to prescribe it for me on the grounds that it’s not licensed for that use in the UK. In any event, a little internet reading reveals that despite the wide-spread belief among travellers that melatonin is very effective, few clinical studies support this, and we don’t really know enough about the safety, efficacy or optimum dose. Probably best not added into my existing medicinal cocktail, then.

  • Jet lag management

This appears to be the only medically-approved approach, and relies on gradually changing the time of your sleep/wake patterns to gently bring you into line with the time in your destination. David J Milkowitz explains it very well in The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide. “One way to combat this travel disruption is to gradually adjust your internal time clock to the new place you’re going, before you actually leave. So, over the course of the week before you travel to a later time zone, go to bed an hour earlier than usual,  then an hour and a half, then 2 hours earlier, and so forth… This procedure usually works best if you’ll be in the new time zone for more than a few days.” To travel east to west to somewhere with an earlier time zone requires going to bed progressively later over several days. Being somewhat mathematically challenged, I’ve downloaded the JetLag Genie app which calculates this for you, based on your home and destination time zones. For anyone who relies on antipsychotics or hypnotics to get to sleep, this of course entails changing the time that they take their medication. I know that my quetiapine has a 3-4 hour window between swallowing it and sleep descending upon me, so I plan to use the drug as the mechanism for adjusting my sleep pattern. This will mean using the JetLag Genie bedtime as my reference point, and putting a reminder in my phone 4 hours before the Genie’s recommended bedtime.

Many sites also suggest limiting/changing exposure to sunlight and food. I’ve decided I won’t be doing any of the food solutions, because making major changes in diet in the lead up to travel and on the flight is probably inadvisable for someone with a mood disorder, especially if they are on lithium. Light exposure seems more promising: for east to west travel, it is recommended that you expose yourself to light in the late afternoon and evening if you can, whilst avoiding light in the morning as much as possible (that’s assuming we have any actual sunlight in London in March; clearly I won’t be able to get evening sunlight, although if you had a SAD light box you could do this quite easily). The reverse (unsurprisingly) holds true for flying west to east, when you should try to expose yourself to light in the morning and avoid light in the evening as much as possible. JetLag Genie will also provides advice on this, which seems helpful.

  • Taking meds abroad

There’s lots of good general advice out there about the practicalities of taking prescribed meds abroad. One excellent suggestion which I have come across in several places is to take twice as many meds as you need, just in case you lose some, and to always make sure you have at least one batch in your hand luggage. That way if your plane is delayed, you won’t have the trauma of not being able to take your meds when needed because they are locked down in the hold. Sounds obvious, but in order to be able to take double quantities abroad, you need to order extra repeat prescriptions to pick up in the week before you go. To avoid any complications with the local authorities, most sources suggest carrying meds only in their original containers, and possible with documentary evidence from your doctor that they are prescribed for you. This is going to take a bit of getting my head around as I am totally reliant on my dossette box to take the right number of pills per day – Mr Persuasion is just going to have to supervise me to make sure I take the right number of pills at the right time.

  • Lithium on holiday

Lithium is always a big issue for travellers. Thankfully my psychiatrist feels my blood serum level is high enough for me to able to move the doses around to match my new time zone, without messing too much with the therapeutic effect. The key thing will be to remain sufficiently hydrated – both in the dryness of the aeroplane cabin and in the heat of my destination – to prevent that blood concentration from increasing too much. I have asked Mr P both to help me make sure that we have bottled water to hand at all times, and to look out for any symptoms of lithium toxicity (which is unlikely, but I’d rather he checked out any dopiness, lack of co-ordination and slurred speech with a physician, rather than just assuming I’ve been at the beachside cocktail bar).

  • Travel insurance and treatment abroad

Mr P and I have general travel insurance including medical cover, but of course as a major pre-existing condition my bipolar is not covered. Bipolar UK have found a couple of companies who will cover bipolar people for possible treatment abroad, but they are not cheap.  I asked one company how much it would cost to cover me for my 10 day trip, using the special code from the Bipolar UK website, and was quoted almost £150 – or more than £14 per day which I have decided is unaffordable. I am confident Mr Persuasion can help me self-manage any symptoms if necessary. In any event, I have seen a fairly recent World Health Organisation survey into mental health in the country I am visiting, which found that there is no psychiatric hospital available, very limited training in mental health for medical staff, and no concept of human rights in mental health treatment. So all in all, I’m not sure what I would be paying for, given that I am not sure I would want to avail myself of treatment locally anyway. (Although if I do start to exhibit symptoms of lithium poisoning, Mr P is under instruction to get me to a hospital, and forget the money.) I would suggest that it’s worth checking out what medical provision is available for people with mental health disorders in your destination; most developed countries are OK, but you might be surprised about the lack of services in, for example, some Eastern European countries.

  • Sticking to routines

Another common piece of advice is that bipolar travellers should as much as possible keep up with normal routines. Not just medications, but activities that support their mental health and promote recovery, such as exercise and bedtimes. To be honest, I’m not sure how realistic this is – isn’t part of the therapeutic benefit of holidays that people get a break from their routines and come back refreshed? As long as I get some exercise – and I plan on getting plenty of swimming done as well as some hiking – that should be plenty. I’ll be aiming to get to bed around the same time each night, but again I won’t hesitate to stay up later or get up earlier if that facilitates going on a once-in-a-lifetime day trip.

So what have I missed? Does anyone have any other useful suggestions? No pressure, but I’m almost ready to pack my suitcase….

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About purplepersuasion

40 something service user, activist, writer and mother living with bipolar disorder. Proud winner of the Mark Hanson Prize for Digital Media at the Mind Media Awards #VMGMindAwards 2013. Winner of the World in Mentalists Mood Disorder blog 2012. Regular guest blogger for the International Bipolar Foundation http://www.internationalbipolarfoundation.org/ Expert by Experience working with Mind training department. Working on The Incoming Tide, a bipolar memoir. Find me on Twitter @BipolarBlogger or at my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/BipolarBlogger
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30 Responses to Bipolar travel: going abroad without going into crisis

  1. user_me_33 says:

    Hi Charlotte,

    Once again an excellent, well written post.

    With regards to your medications and your dossette box, I’m also lost without mine. On the day I travel I put that day’s tablets in the box as usual and carry that with me. As soon as I arrive, I reload my box for the week so all of my meds are laid out as normal. So far that has always worked for me and because all of the rest of my meds are in their boxes in my hand luggage so if anyone wanted to check they could confirm that it’s the same tablets. I have never encountered any problems although I can recommend taking an extra week’s supply and always carrying it in your hand luggage.

    With regards to staying hydrated, don’t forget you can’t take bottles of water through security. You have to buy it (at rip off prices) on the other side.

    With regards to taking my medication on time, on the day of my departure I take my morning tablets as usual. If I’m travelling to America (an 8 hour time difference), I’ll take my afternoon tablets 4 hours later than normal. I’ll then take my night time tablets at the right time (local time).

    Coming home is usually more of a problem as due to the time difference a 10 hour flight covers 18 hours. I’ll take my morning (and if possible) all of my tablets at the right time local time. As soon as I wake up on the plane, I take my morning tablets and try and take the rest of that day’s tablets on time based on the time at home.

    I found it interesting to hear your psychiatrist’s thoughts on melatonin. Although I generally don’t suffer from jet lag, I do on occasions use melatonin to help me to sleep if my normal mediation hasn’t worked for a few days. This is with the blessing of my psychiatrist who is more than happy with its effects as it is (allegedly) the body’s natural sleep hormone.

    Some research suggests that people with bipolar have lower than normal levels of melatonin. My psychiatrist was unable to prescribe it to me as it is not licensed for insomnia in adults under 60. I was fortunate to stock up the last time I was in America (the American products tend to be more pure). I found the right dose for me by starting very low and gradually increasing it. It would be interesting to hear if anyone else has had any experience of melatonin.

    Anyway, all that remains to be said is I hope you have a fantastic holiday.

  2. cameronlawton says:

    I don’t have any suggestions, even as a fellow Bippy – except that taking your medication in double lots and stashed in two places within your luggage – some in hand, some in hold is invaluable.

    When we were travelling in Eastern Europe we got robbed. My pills were OK but husband’s half a ton of medication a day got stolen by kids and we had to high-tail it for home for him to get some more.

    If you are going to knock yourself out on the plance (which I did when we went to the USA) make sure you give yourself time to walk around a bit or do leg exercises. I didn’t and I’m sure our medication makes circulation a problem because I had such bad cramp for a week that I was worried I might have a DVT (natural Bippy over-worry). Limping around on your “fabulous holiday” is not the best way to start! xxx

    • Thanks for stopping by – so nice to see you! I plan to double up on meds and keep one lot in suitcase/hotel and the other in handbag. So if suitcase ends up in Antartica or handbag gets stolen, I should still be OK. That is a very good point about DVT – for at least some part of each flight I will be sedated by my quetiapine. Must do exercises – and might invest in some flight socks too! xxxx

  3. lost1234 says:

    I travel reguarly to the USA, 2 or 3 times a month. I have found that the most important thing for myself is to make sure I get sleep. Forcing myself into a set routine because that is what is recommended did not work for me. I have learnt to listen to my body if I am so tired that I want to sleep then I do even if it is not bedtime in the new time zone. I use sleeping tablets to stretch out the amount of time that i do sleep. I take a short nap in the middle of the day if I need one.
    I have also found that jet lag really kicks in about 24 hours after you have landed, I try not to plan too much for the first couple of days and just malnly try to listen to my own body and what it is telling me. Personally I find that on a flight to the USA not sleeping is preferable to sleeping and on the return from USA to UK, get as much sleep as you can especially if it is a night flight. Whatever you do don’t drink alcohol on the plane especially if you are going to take medication.
    I think the main thing is to relax and enjoy your holiday and try not to worry about what might happen too much. Immigration and customs are used to seeing people travel with medication and I have never experienced any problems so long as my medication is in its original prescription boxes.
    I hope you have an amazing time. :).

  4. showard76 says:

    Great post, I know we discussed this a bit on twitter. I hope you manage to have a great holiday and that all your fears and anxiety end up being just that and do not grow into real situations that take the enjoyment out of your break. I have everything crossed and sending positive thoughts for a lovely time. xx

  5. Happy holidays! It is as rarely as bad as we worry for so just make the most of the time away to recharge your batteries and have a change of scene. 🙂

  6. My husband is bi polar and Lorne – daughter – has emigtated to NZ!!!! Are there any bi polars out there who have flown to NZ!!!! i MAY HAVE TO DO IT ON MY OWN!!!!!!

    Any advice – be fantastic – thankyou – Loraine

    • Hi Loraine, where are you flying from? UK or USA? Let me know and now I am back from my trip I’ll put it out there on Twitter and see what my 1000+ followers have to suggest. C

      • Hi there, I am flying from Scotland to AUCKLAND!!!! My husband has read recently about long haul flights and his bi polar illness plus insurance and has made up his mind he is not going to NZ.

        I will go on my own.

        We married 2 years ago – both 2nd marriages. I was married 24 years ago to a Church of Scotland Minister – it went horribly wrong – abusive.

        It has taken me a long time to trust again – my husband did tell me he was Bi polar but I NEVER SAW ANYTHING IN THE 5 YEARS BEFORE WE MARRIED TO MAKE ME QUESTION.

        Since we married 2 years ago almost – I have had to suffer verbal bi polar epeisodes – felt frightened and controlled by my husband. He drank 2 lagers daily – I did not know he used drink as a crutch.

        He is coming off his 2 lagers BUT I am left frightened, on edge, weary and my trust and feelings have gone. I did not know the man I married.

        I lost my parents within 10 months of each other and nursed my beautiful mum at home until she passed away with me. My dad was a retired Bank Manager and they were so loving and supportive – I miss them but in a way I am glad they do not know this 2nd marriage is as it is.
        It is 2 years since I lost my mum.

        My daughter Lorne is an Assistant Editor our in NZ – I have a grand daughter out there too – she is 3 months.

        I have felt so isolated BUT have now opened up to both families and friends about what has been happening.

        My husband says he has been stable since being diagnosed 23 years ago with BI Polar – so is it me setting them off???? My gp and professionals say drink and lithium are a toxic mix.

        I am weary of put downs and this way of living on the edge.

        Is there anyone out there going through a similiar bi polar partner shock???? I know it is a cruel illness. How do partners live with a parner who has it and changes into a stranger and not a very nice stranger???

        Loraine

      • Hi again,

        This is the second time today I have made this point to someone, but – if you are frightened of and feel controlled by your husband, this is *not* because he is bipolar. Bipolar does not make people cruel or abusive, they choose to behave like that. Yes, my bipolar can predispose me to feel more irritable than others or feel like acting in inconsiderate ways. But I choose not to give in to my tendencies as much as possible. You do not suffer “verbal bipolar episodes”, you suffer verbal abuse. You most certainly did not “set him off” – I had 8 years’ complete remission and relapsed in 2010. There was no one reason that I relpased – maybe is what just my time. Bipolar people are just as sensitive and loving as any other people, in fact maybe more empathic than some people because of what we have been through. I don’t believe for one minute that there is such as thing as “bipolar partner shock” and it makes me sad that I am having to point out to you that the problem here isn’t bipolar disorder. The problem is that you have an abusive partner. It must be very distressing to think that this can have happened to you for a second time, but looking to blame bipolar is just denial or excuse making on his part. You should not have to live with being put down and feeling on edge all the time. No-one chooses to have a mental illness, but each one of us with a MH diagnosis can choose to comply with treatment and to try to miminise the effects of the illness on ourselves and on those around us. If he’s not doing that, he’s not taking adult responsibility for his behaviour OR his illness. This relationship does not sound good for you, and unless he accepts that his bad behaviour towards you is HIM behaving badly, not bipolar “making” him do something, it’s hard to see what will change.

        Best of luck to you xxx

  7. Thank you for your wise words – I must think carefully. My husband who has Bi Polar cannot remember any of the verbal abuse put down episodes he has.

    I am at a loss to understand them?? I can only describe them in this way –
    it is as if my husband suddenly uses a fast machine gun of words of a put down nature and seems to get excited and enjoy being controlling and speaking in an aggressive way. This occurs at its worst when he has had 2 lagers – which he is now – with the help of his GP coming off.

    I cannot reason with him when he is in this verbal put down mode. They leave me very frightened and I am going to attend a Bi Polar group in Edinburgh to see if anyone else has come up against this.

    One Morning he leant over me and demanded who I had, had in the house, he saw the Bodum Coffee jug out when he came in and wanted to make sure I had not had a visitor.
    He demanded again and again what game was I playing and who had been in house.
    Afterwards I said he had frightened me so very much and he explained his behaviour by saying he thought my brother had visited and was advising me to go and stay with him until I worked out if I could live in this marriage. I find that does not excuse this paranoid behaviour or the fact that he chooses to frighten me? My husband say it is his illness???

    I do have a supportive family and both families know the situation BUT I am the only one who gets these verbal episodes and my husband says he cannot remember them??

    I feel I have lost the kind man I knew for 5 yrs before marriage. My husband said he did tell me he was Bi Polar when we started having stronger feelings with each other – I truly never saw anything within the 5 yrs to make me question his bi polar or that he used drink as a crutch. He now says it was up to me to have found out about it?? Yet he had not found out about it – but he says he has been stable for 20 so years and there was not the info about it back then – if I had an illness I would have found out all I could about it.

    Thank you again for replying – sorry I do not know your name – Lorainexx

    • Charlotte says:

      Hi, my name is Charlotte 🙂

      Listen, by now I don’t care what illness you husband does or does not have. His behaviour is unacceptable. If anyone in my life were behaving the way he does – even if it were my own child – I would be looking to put some distance between us. Read back your last comment. That whole thing about the coffee pot is classic abusive behaviour – controlling who you and can and can’t see and making you frightened to have friends round without his “permission”. A man being nice and lovely until has moved in and/or married the victim is a classic pattern in abusive relationships. How do I know that? I have over 6 years’ esperience working directly with perpetrators of domestic violence, and 2 years working in a women’s centre with victims. I have heard your story so, so many times.

      DO NOT go to a bipolar support group looking for answers. You will be insulting them, because this behaviour has NOTHING to do with bipolar, and you will be doing yourself a grave disservice, because it’s support for women in abusive relationships you actually need. I know it’s hard, but you need to let go of the idea that this is bipolar’s problem. You need to get help for YOU, because nothing is going to be “fixed” in your relationship unless this man changes, and I can’t see that happening any time soon. Please consider contacting http://refuge.org.uk/ for help ASAP xx

      • Hello Charlotte – Thank you for your words of wisdom and I have to think seriously about this situation. My daughter is in NZ – she emigrated last year and is an Assitant Editor out there – she is very concerned as are all my family.
        I do thank you for your input – Love Lorainex

  8. Moe says:

    Hi Loraine,

    I hope you don’t think I am speaking out of line here but as someone with bi-polar and knowing others with the illness I can honestly say that your husband’s actions have absolutely nothing to do with his illness.

    There are numerous times when I have thought (and even said) nasty things to people I care about when I am struggling or having a major manic or depressive episode but I remember everything I have said and done. Believe you me, there are times when I wish I didn’t. I have discussed this with other sufferers, my CPN, numerous psychiatrist, a good friend who is an RMN and other people I know with the illness and they all say exactly the same thing.

    Although I do not profess to be a professional by any means, I served as a Police Officer for many years before my illness presented itself to the point of leaving me unable to work. It sounds to me that your husband’s real issues are of anger, control and jealousy whilst using his illness as an excuse. His behaviour and words are typical of domestic abuse: he has the problem but makes you think you are the one with the problem and you are the one who makes him act this way. The reason he does not want to travel to New Zealand with you is that he knows he will not be able to control you when you are there as there are other people watching him and keeping him in check.

    Many people believe that domestic abuse has to be physical or sexual but it is not and from my experiences, mental torment like you are going through is the worst kind of abuse of all. If he really cared about you, he would not be paranoid about the thought of you moving to your brother’s while you consider the situation in fact it would be the opposite. He would want you to find the best solution for you.

    I could be completely wrong but I noticed that you mentioned this is his second marriage. I would not be surprised if his behaviour also happened in his previous marriage too.

    Please for your own sake, spend some time away from this man and speak to others in your position. Groups such as Women’s Aid (www.womensaid.org.uk) will be able to help you and give you someone to talk to in confidence about this horrible situation that you have found yourself in through no fault of your own.

    • Hi Moe, I have to agree with you. I also have a work history in criminal justice and like you have seen men who will use any excuse not to take responsibility for being abusive. “It’s not me, it’s the drugs” … “I can’t control myself, the anger takes over, I think I need anger management” … “she makes me do it, she should know what sets me off” and, yes, “you know I have a mental health problem, I’m not responsible for my actions.” This sounds to me like bipolar has become a convient hook on which to hang unacceptable behaviour.

      • Thank you for your wise words. Yes, I have some serious thinking to do – my daughter who is an Assistant Editor out in NZ is concerned as are my family here. Thank you again. Love and kind thoughts Lorainex

    • Thank you for your wise words and yes, I am thinking very carefully and deeply about this situation. Love and kind thoughts Lorainexx

  9. cameronlawton says:

    Sorry I’m coming in very late here – I’m Bipolar and I’ve been in an abusive marriage – I can tell the difference. I agree with the other Bippies who’ve said that we are over-sensitive, and often more jumpy or grumpy but YES we are also more loyal and loving – we do everything at 110%. And NO I have never “forgotten” what I’ve said, even in the worst of temper tantrums (yes I do get them but that is my personality, not my illness) that is a very convenient ruse.

    The problem with being an abused partner is that one gets used to it and eventually comes to believe the abuser, yes it really IS my fault, I really do deserve it, cause it, bring it on myself. Wake up please Madam – that is brain washing.

    You already realise you have quite a lot of support on here – and we Bipolar sufferers are siding with you – not the unforgiveable bad behaviour of your husband that risks giving us all a bad name. I wish you well and will be thinking of you. Cam xxx

    • Hi there – many thanks for your reply – I respect completely what you have said in your reply.
      Thank you again and I am thinking seriously about my situation – I have been married 2 years. Kind thoughts Loraine

  10. Sarah says:

    I am bipolar and married to a lovely man. Before this I was dating another man who seemed to be the perfect guy. About six months into the relationship he started becoming verbally abusive in much the same way as you describe your husband to be. In the morning he claimed not to remember anything. The second time it happened I called the relationship off, and have never looked back. There is no need to put up with that kind of behaviour. I really don’t think it is because of his illness. Having said that, someone who is very psychotic can ‘turn’ on you, but this is normally short-lived and of a different pattern to what you describe.

  11. Holidays have always been very stressful for me. I’m usually OK once I’m there and can relax at the hotel when I need to, it’s just the actual travelling- I panic about being on time for everything and accidents.

    The other night I dreamt I went on a dream holiday to Canada. Once we got there I realised I’d forgotten my 2 weeks supply of meds!!!!!! DISASTER!!!!!

    I can’t tell you how impressed I am with your blog- it’s fab, so informative and helpful. Thank you 🙂

    Rachel

  12. Anne Graham says:

    About to go on a two week holiday from UK to Florida and was looking for something informative online. I went to Cuba about four years ok and had terrible jet lag on my return to the UK. This along with other factors resulted I a hospital admission with mania. At least this time, I’m aware of the bipolar issue witty flying and reading your blog has helped to calm me down.

    • Nice to know – and I really hope you enjoy your trip. I got myself into a state of such anxiety before I travelled, and it all turned out much better than I had hoped. I think having a plan and so more of a sense of control really helped.

  13. Anne Graham says:

    Thanks very much for your reply, Charlotte.

  14. Pingback: vacances. vacation. holiday. | CAMHS To Adult

  15. Adam Creed says:

    Towards the.end of last year my girlfriend and I decided to make a round the world trip from the end of April to the beginning of June. My mind started churning – my illness was going to cause the trip to be a disaster. I was terrified I came across your post and it gave me the determination to at least try and be prepared. I lost confidence on numerous occasions but eventually we got on a plane, held hands and off we went. I did have a couple of lows, the second less debilitating and better managed than the first. But, overall the trip was a wonderful experience and I feel more resilient on my return. Thank you.

  16. evo says:

    Hello there could you please give me some advise. For last 3-4 years i have been going to my gp for a condition that i dont know what it could be, similar to bipolar or could be bipolar as i have been using sertraline and volporal? That i stopped using 1 year ago. I have not been diagnosed with bipolar or never been told if it is! Anyway i wonder if travel insurance will cover me as im going to thailand soon and i have not declared anything medical. Will they at least cover me for any other things like if i loose my suitcase etc or if i broke my leg etc? Please help me regarding thank you very much

    • Yes, the other bits of travel insurance like loss of luggage, theft of possessions etc are quite separate. And you would most likely be covered for anything unforeseen – such as a broken – leg, it is only things that you have already been diagnosed with and/or are being treated for (pre-existing conditions) they tend not to cover for without a hefty fee. The forms will ask you to say exactly what you have been told by doctors and exactly what meds you have been taking. A word of caution: you need to be 100% honest or you may find they don’t pay out for other things, either. A close friend ticked “no” to the box marked, “do you have asthma?” as although she had been diagnoses she had not needed treatment for some years. Anyhow, she happened to have a medical issue while visiting the US and had to stay in hospital overnight and because of the “no” answer when they went through her medical records they said she had not been truthful and would not pay any of her rather large bill!

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