The Ultimate Cost Guide to Bipolar Treatment Singapore (2022)

Updated: Jan 12


Are there subsidies available for bipolar disorder? Find out about the cost of bipolar treatments and alternatives in this article.

In This Article

  1. What is bipolar disorder?

  2. What are the types of bipolar treatments?

  3. What is the breakdown of the costs of bipolar treatments?

  4. What is the difference in costs of bipolar treatments between public and private institutions?

  5. Are there any subsidies available for bipolar treatment?

  6. Are bipolar treatments Medisave claimable?

  7. What other factors should I consider apart from the costs?

  8. Where can I seek help?


What is Bipolar disorder?


Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression is characterised by the unusual shifts in an individual’s mood, energy and activity levels [1].


Individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder observe that their mood shifts from periods of elation and happiness (manic episodes) to periods of sadness and helplessness (depressive episodes). These episodes can be so debilitating that it interferes with his or her daily routine.


Read on to find out more about bipolar treatments and their costs.


What are the types of bipolar treatments?


Pharmacotherapy

Medications have shown to be effective in treating bipolar disorder and are often used as first-line treatments [2]. Common medications used in treating bipolar disorder include [3]:


  • Selective Serotonin Receptor Inhibitor (SSRIs) e.g. Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac and Zoloft

  • Serotonin-Norepinephrine Receptor Inhibitor (SNRIs) e.g. Cymbalta, Effexor and Pristiq

  • Tricyclic antidepressants e.g. Elavil, Pamelor and Tofranil

  • Antipsychotics e.g. Olanzapine (Zyprexa), Risperidone (Risperdal), Quetiapine (Seroquel) and Aripiprazole (Abilify)

  • Antidepressants-antipsychotics e.g.

  • Mood stabilisers e.g. lithium (Lithobid) and valproic acid (Depakene)

  • Anti-anxiety medications e.g. benzodiazepine


Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy encourages the patient to talk to a mental health professional such as a therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist. Psychotherapy can reduce, eliminate or control troubling symptoms experienced so as to improve the patient’s well being.


Methods that can help with bipolar disorders include [4], [5]:


  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps people identify and change the negative thought patterns that result in negative behaviours or emotions. CBT typically involves learning new skills, goal setting and problem-solving. [6]


  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT)

IPSRT aims to prevent the recurrence of new affective episodes by stabilising the patients’ routine. This includes patients’ sleep cycles, meal times and rest times. [7]


  • Family therapy

Family therapy is a type of therapy that helps family members improve communication amongst them and resolve conflicts. These sessions also help family members strengthen their bonds and encourage them to overcome stressful times together [8].


Here are some tips on how to manage your stress.


  • Psychoeducation

Psychoeducation is a form of therapy whereby the patient and his/her family are educated on the illness, with the goal of improving the illness in the long run. This can be done by providing information about bipolar disorder and teaching them self-management skills [9]. Psychoeducation has been proven to reduce the relapse rate for bipolar disorder as well as improve social functioning of the patient [10].


Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive therapy is an invasive procedure done under general anaesthesia whereby small electric currents are passed through the brain, triggering a small seizure. ECT is thought to change the brain’s chemistry, which results in cessation of symptoms of certain mental health disorders. [11]


ECT is usually utilised as a last resort treatment when patients are not responsive to medications and has been proven to be a safe and effective treatment for this group of people [12].


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. This usually results in improvement of symptoms of certain mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder. [13], [14]


What is the breakdown of the costs of bipolar treatments?

The average costs of bipolar treatments range from $50 to more than $10,000.


Factors that affect the costs of bipolar treatments include:

  • Consultation fees

  • Medication fees

  • Therapy fees

  • Electroconvulsive therapy (if required)

  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (if required)

  • Hospitalisation (if required)

What is the difference in costs of bipolar treatments between public and private institutions?


Public

Private

Consultation

$20 - $50

$160 - $856

Meditation

$30 - $100 per month

$30 - $100 per month​

Therapy

Free - $182 per session

$180 - $200 per session

Electroconvulsive Therapy

Not indicated

Not indicated

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Not indicated

$350 per session (typically requires 20-30 sessions)

​Hospitalisation

B2 ward: $79 - $83 daily

C ward: $35 - $43 daily


4 bedded ward: $223 - $291 daily



Are there any subsidies available for bipolar treatments?


CHAS subsidies

Yes, there are government subsidies available for bipolar treatments. The Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) offers subsidised rates for bipolar treatments at CHAS clinics. The amount of subsidies given depends on the type of CHAS card that the patient holds. [15]

CHAS Green

CHAS Orange

CHAS Blue

Merdeka Generation

Pioneer Generation

Household monthly income per person (for households with income)

> $2,000

$1,201 - $2,000

$1,200 and below

All Merdeka Generation card holders receive CHAS subsidies regardless of household income or annual value of home

All Pioneer Generation card holders receive CHAS subsidies regardless of household income or annual value of home

Annual value of home (for households with no income)

Above $21,000

$13,001 - $21,000

$13,000 and below

/

/

Simple Chronic Condition (one chronic condition only)

Up to $28 per visit, capped at $112 per year

Up to $50 per visit, capped at $200 per year

Up to $80 per visit, capped at $320 per year

Up to $85 per visit, capped at $340 per year

Up to $95 per visit, capped at $360 per year

Complex Chronic Condition (multiple chronic conditions or one condition with complications)

Up to $40 per visit, capped at $160 per year

Up to $80 per visit, capped at $320 per year

Up to $125 per visit, capped at $500 per year

Up to $130 per visit, capped at $520 per year

Up to $135 per visit, capped at $540 per year


Singapore citizens who are on public assistance will receive full subsidies for the treatment of bipolar disorder. They will have to produce their public assistance card and their NRIC during the visit at CHAS clinics.


Subsidies for bipolar treatments are only claimable in selected clinics. You may call the CHAS hotline for more information at 1800-275-2427 (1800-ASK-CHAS).


MediShield Life

MediShield Life is a basic insurance plan that all Singaporean citizens and permanent residents are automatically enrolled in. Under this scheme, Singaporean can claim $160 per day for inpatient psychiatric treatment, up to 60 days per policy year [16].


MediFund

For patients who still have difficulties paying their medical expenses after government subsidies, MediSave, MediShield Life and cash, additional assistance may be given from MediFund [17]. To be eligible, the patient must:

  • Be a Singaporean citizen

  • Be a subsidised patient

  • Have received or required treatment from a MediFund-approved institution

  • Having difficulties paying for their healthcare bills after government subsidies and other means including MediSave, MediShield and cash.

Are bipolar treatments Medisave claimable?

Yes, bipolar treatments are Medisave claimable under the Chronic Disease Management Programme. Patients can withdraw up to $500 from their Medisave per year to help with their treatment costs. [17] Patients who are 60 years old and above may withdraw an additional $200 ($700 in total) from their Medisave to pay for their bipolar treatments.


If patients are required to be warded, they will be covered by Medishield Life. Patients can also utilise Medisave to pay for their hospitalisation. They can withdraw up to $150 per day for daily hospital charges which will be capped at $5,000 per year. [18]


choosing a therapist for bipolar singapore

What other factors should I consider apart from the costs?

Some factors that you may want to consider while choosing a therapist include [19]:

  • Location of the clinic: As therapy usually takes months or even years, it can be time-consuming and inconvenient to travel to clinics or therapists that are far from your house.

  • Experience of therapist: Therapists who have more experience in treating patients with the same condition as you can provide some reassurances that he or she can help you get better.

  • Credentials of therapist: Ensure your therapist has relevant certifications and licenses to offer therapy services.

  • Comfort with therapist: As you will need to open up about certain topics, it is important to be comfortable with your therapist and trust that your therapy sessions will be a safe space. Some factors that you can consider include your therapist’s gender, age and religion.

Where can I seek help?

You can seek help for your bipolar disorder at various places in Singapore such as hospitals, clinics, counselling centres as well as help hotlines.


Hospitals

Hospitals which have a psychiatric ward for bipolar disorder treatments are listed in the table below.

Hospital

Address/Contact number

Price

Singapore General Hospital

20 College Road, Singapore 169856

Academia, Level 3


6321 4377


Ward B2: $633 - $2,449

Ward C: $692 - $2,780


Sengkang General Hospital

110 Sengkang East Way, Singapore 544886


6930 5000


Ward C: $786 - $1,385

Institute of Mental Health

​10 Buangkok View, Singapore 539747


6389 2000


Sayang Wellness Centre

B1 4 bedded ward: $250/day

2 bedded ward: $310/day

1 bedded ward: $440/day


General Ward

B2 ward: $61/day

C ward: $32/day


National University Hospital

5 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119074


6779 5555


Ward B2: $860 - $3,091

Ward C: $804 - $2,419


Tan Tock Seng Hospital

11 Jalan Tan Tock Seng, Singapore 308433


6256 6011



Ward A: $2,960 - $8,046

Ward B2: $2,829 - $9,129

Ward C: $672 - $1,703


Changi General Hospital

2 Simei Street 3, Singapore 529889


6788 8833


Ward B2: $1,088 - $4,120

Ward C: $934 - $2,864


Ng Teng Fong Hospital

1 Jurong East Street 21, Singapore 609606


6716 5000


Ward C: $711 - $1,906

Mount Elizabeth Hospital

3 Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore 228510


6737 2666


2 bedded ward: $3,777 - $10,141


You may also visit other government or private hospitals that have a psychiatry ward to receive treatment.


General Practitioner & CHAS

You may seek help at polyclinics or General Practitioner (GP) clinics. These clinics can refer you to government hospitals for specialised mental health treatments, at a subsidised rate.


There are 18 polyclinics in Singapore located all around the island that you can seek help at. The price of consultation at polyclinics ranges from $6.90 to $24. You may also enjoy subsidies at any CHAS GP clinics if you are a CHAS cardholder.


  • Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic

  • Bedok Polyclinic

  • Bukit Batok Polyclinic

  • Bukit Merah Polyclinic

  • Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic

  • Clementi Polyclinic

  • Geylang Polyclinic

  • Hougang Polyclinic

  • Jurong Polyclinic

  • Marine Parade Polyclinic

  • Outram Polyclinic

  • Pasir Ris Polyclinic

  • Queenstown Polyclinic

  • Sengkang Polyclinic

  • Tampines Polyclinic

  • Toa Payoh Polyclinic

  • Woodlands Polyclinic

  • Yishun Polyclinic


However, subsidies for bipolar treatments are only claimable in selected CHAS clinics. You may call the CHAS hotline for more information at 1800-275-2427 (1800-ASK-CHAS).


Counselling centres & helplines

Lastly, there are also counselling centres and helplines if you need someone to listen to you

Counselling centre

Address & Contact number

Price

AWARE (for women)

​Block 5 Dover Crescent #01-22


1800-774-5935 / 67797137


$35 per session (monthly salary < $3,000)


2% of monthly salary (monthly salary > $3,000)


Care Corner

8 New Industrial Road


1800-353-5800


Not indicated

Counselling & Care Centre

Block 536 Upper Cross Street #05-241

Hong Lim Complex


65366366


$180 per hour ($40 - $150 per hour after subsidies)

Fei Yue Community Services

​Block 604 Choa Chu Kang St 62 #01-53


65631106


Not indicated

Mount Elizabeth Charter Helpline

Mount Elizabeth Hospital 3


1800-738-9595


Free

Raffles Counselling Centre

Raffles Hospital, 585 North Bridge Road


63111222


$160.50 - $856

SAGE Counselling Centre

1 Jurong West Central 2 #06-04

Jurong Point Shopping Centre


63541191


Free for Singaporeans/PR

Foreigners: $50 per hour (centre) / $100 per hour (home)


Samaritans of Singapore (SOS)

Block 10 Cantonment Close #01-01


1800-221-4444


Not indicated

Shan You Counselling Centre

Block 5 Upper Boon Keng Road #02-15


67419293


$80 per session (individual)

$100 per session (couple/family)


Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH)

Block 69 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh


1800-283-7019


Donation basis

TOUCH Community Services

5 Stadium Walk, Leisure Park Kallang, #04-05/06


67098400


From $80


Conclusion

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that can be serious enough to interfere with one’s daily life as well as their personal relationship with others. Early diagnosis and treatment can help improve the quality of the patient’s life.


 

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This editorial section solely expresses the opinion of frankie and is not endorsed nor commissioned by any external party. The list is non-exhaustive. At frankie, we believe that your best provider of medical advice is your doctor. Please consult a doctor before undergoing any treatment or procedure.

 

References:


1. National Institute of Mental Health (2020). Bipolar Disorder. [online] www.nimh.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/ [Accessed 7 Jun. 2021].


2. Kusumakar, V. (2002). Antidepressants and Antipsychotics in the Long-Term Treatment of Bipolar Disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 63(supp 10), pp.23–28.


3. Kusumakar, V. (2002). Antidepressants and Antipsychotics in the Long-Term Treatment of Bipolar Disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 63(supp 10), pp.23–28.


4. Miklowitz, D. (2019). Different Types of Therapy for Bipolar Disorder | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. [online] Nami.org. Available at: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/April-2019/Different-Types-of-Therapy-for-Bipolar-Disorder [Accessed 7 Jun. 2021].


5. Mayo Clinic (2018). Bipolar disorder - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic. [online] Mayoclinic.org. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355961 [Accessed 7 Jun. 2021].


6. Cherry, K. (2020). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. [online] Verywell Mind. Available at: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-cognitive-behavior-therapy-2795747 [Accessed 8 Jun. 2021].


7. Frank, E., Swartz, H.A. and Boland, E. (2007). Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy: an intervention addressing rhythm dysregulation in bipolar disorder. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, [online] 9(3), pp.325–332. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202498/ [Accessed 8 Jun. 2021].


8. Mayo Clinic (2017). Family therapy - Mayo Clinic. [online] Mayoclinic.org. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/family-therapy/about/pac-20385237 [Accessed 8 Jun. 2021].


9. Joas, E., Bäckman, K., Karanti, A., Sparding, T., Colom, F., Pålsson, E. and Landén, M. (2019). Psychoeducation for bipolar disorder and risk of recurrence and hospitalization – a within-individual analysis using registry data. Psychological Medicine, [online] 50(6), pp.1043–1049. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7191782/ [Accessed 8 Jun. 2021].


10. Mayo Clinic (2018). Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) - Mayo clinic. [online] Mayoclinic.org. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/electroconvulsive-therapy/about/pac-20393894 [Accessed 8 Jun. 2021].


11. Perugi, G., Medda, P., Toni, C., Mariani, M., Socci, C. and Mauri, M. (2017). The Role of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) in Bipolar Disorder: Effectiveness in 522 Patients with Bipolar Depression, Mixed-state, Mania and Catatonic Features. Current Neuropharmacology, [online] 15(3), pp.359–371. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5405614/ [Accessed 8 Jun. 2021].


12. Mayo Clinic (2018). Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation - Mayo Clinic. [online] Mayoclinic.org. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/transcranial-magnetic-stimulation/about/pac-20384625 [Accessed 8 Jun. 2021].


13. Agarkar, S., Mahgoub, N. and Young, R.C. (2011). Use of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Bipolar Disorder. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, [online] 23(2), pp.E12–E13. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4102108/ [Accessed 8 Jun. 2021].


14. Community Health Assist Scheme (2020). CHAS Subsidies. [online] Chas.sg. Available at: https://www.chas.sg/content.aspx?id=636 [Accessed 9 Jun. 2021].


15. Central Provident Fund Board (2019). CPFB Schemes - Healthcare. [online] Cpf.gov.sg. Available at: https://www.cpf.gov.sg/Members/Schemes/schemes/healthcare/medishield-life [Accessed 9 Jun. 2021].


16. Ministry of Health Singapore (2018). MOH | MediFund. [online] Moh.gov.sg. Available at: https://www.moh.gov.sg/cost-financing/healthcare-schemes-subsidies/medifund [Accessed 9 Jun. 2021].


17. Ministry of Health (2019). MOH | News Highlights. [online] www.moh.gov.sg. Available at: https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/use-of-medisave-savings-for-mental-health-therapy-and-counselling-treatment-at-public-hospitals/ [Accessed 8 Jun. 2021].


18. Ministry of Health (2019a). MediSave. [online] Moh.gov.sg. Available at: https://www.moh.gov.sg/cost-financing/healthcare-schemes-subsidies/medisave [Accessed 8 Jun. 2021].


19. Morin, A. (2020). Here’s How to Pick a Therapist You’ll Likely Work Well With. [online] Verywell Mind. Available at: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-choose-the-right-therapist-for-you-4842306 [Accessed 8 Jun. 2021].