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How to Travel Safely with a Serious Mental Illness

Posted on 19 July 2021 by (0)

Traveling comes with additional health risks for people with severe mental conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In most people, travel is an anxiety trigger. In some cases, travel can cause a psychotic episode.

Travel that involves crossing time zones can be risky for a person with a severe mental illness. A standard theory is that people who have mental illness experience altered circadian rhythms. And this makes it harder for them to adjust to jet lag. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t prevent you from traveling. If you’re a mental illness patient, here are valuable tips to help you travel safely.

Understand the Impact of Travel on Your Mental Health

Your physical and mental health before and during the trip should determine your ability to cope with things that can happen when traveling. Therefore, consider these factors and then discuss them with your physician.

  • Current and expected sleep levels during the trip
  • Why you’re traveling, whether business, leisure, or family responsibility
  • Life events like divorce, death, or birth
  • Work or professional situations like job changes, projects, and promotions
  • Financial events like purchasing or selling a house
  • Length and type of your travel
  • Medications
  • Travel destination
  • Culture shock

Each of these factors will affect you differently when traveling. Therefore, talk to your physician about them before leaving.


Anybody with a pre-existing condition might be fit for travel. However, your doctor should assess and advise you accordingly. That way, the doctor can determine the best medication for you. They can also recommend the mental health services that you might need while away from home.

Carry Everything You’ll Need While Away

In addition to travel documents, carry sufficient medication. And this includes your passport and a doctor’s note explaining your condition. That way, you won’t have trouble with security at the airport or even getting medication if your stock runs out.

In addition to these tips for safe travel with a severe mental illness, buy insurance that covers you for loss that could result from a mental, nervous, or psychological disorder. Also, know your triggers and risks to ensure a smooth trip.