Do Not Focus Solely On Your Partners Illness
Loving someone with bipolar disorder is difficult, but your relationship is so much more than your loved ones disorder. It is easy to forget this when it feels like their illness is consuming your lives, especially when he or she is first diagnosed. If you are married, it is important to remember that you fell in love with this person for a reason, and it wasnt because of their disorder.
Bipolar Disorder And Ptsd
A review published in 2017 concluded that up to 40% of people with bipolar disorder also meet criteria for PTSD. It is not entirely surprising that high rates of PTSD are found among people with bipolar disorder, as many people with bipolar also have a history of traumatic exposure.
Traumatic exposure may be more likely to occur during a manic episode when a person with bipolar disorder is more likely to make risky or impulsive decisions.
In addition to being a risk factor for the development of PTSD, traumatic exposure during childhood, such as childhood physical or sexual abuse, may also be risk factors for the development of bipolar disorder.
The Risks Of Untreated Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder tends to get worse the longer it goes untreated. Delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to personal, social and financial problems that make the disorder more difficult to deal with for those who have it and for those around them.
Dangers of untreated bipolar disorder include:
Loss of ability to work. Bipolar disorder is the sixth leading cause of disability in the world.
Stress on personal relationships. This can result in unemployment, divorce, and legal problems.
Substance abuse issues. Delayed diagnosis may contribute to people with bipolar disorder abusing drugs and alcohol. Studies show that 56% abuse drugs and 44% abuse alcohol.
Suicide. Thirty percent of people with untreated bipolar disorder commit suicide.
Read Also: How To Ground Someone Having A Panic Attack
Get Involved With Treatment
Ask if you can be involved with your partners treatment, which may include occasionally going to the psychiatrist together. Being a part of your partners treatment has multiple benefits, including:
- Gaining a better understanding of the illness.
- Providing additional insight for the psychiatrist.
- Learning to spot signs of impending episodes.
- Alerting the psychiatrist about mood changes.
Even if your partner hasnt signed off on you exchanging information with their psychiatrist, you can still report worrisome signs . This gives the doctor a chance to make quick medication changes that may help your partner avoid being hospitalized.
What Are The Long
Bipolar disorder is a life-long and often recurring illness. You may need long term support to help manage your condition.
What medication options are there?
Your doctor will look at what medication worked for you during episodes of mania or depression. They should ask you whether you want to continue this treatment or if you want to change to lithium.
Lithium usually works better than other types of medication for long-term treatment. Your doctor should give you information about how to take lithium safely. If lithium doesn’t work well enough or causes you problems, you may be offered:
- Olanzapine, or
Your doctor should monitor your health. Physical health checks should be done at least once a year. These checks will include:
- measuring your weight,
- checking your liver and heart, and
- checking your pulse and blood pressure.
What psychological treatments are recommended?
You should be offered a psychological therapy that is specially designed for bipolar disorder. You could have individual or group therapy.
The aim of your therapy is to stop you from becoming unwell again. This is known as relapse. Your therapy should help you to:
If you live with your family or are in close contact with them, you should also be offered family intervention.
Family intervention is where you and your family work with mental health professionals to help to manage relationships. This should be offered to people who you live with or who you are in close contact with.
You May Like: What It’s Like To Have Bpd And Bipolar
Trigger #4: Seasonal Changes
Seasonal changes are most commonly associated with unipolar depression, but they can also have a significant impact on experiences of bipolar disorder. In fact, according to some research, seasonal fluctuations are more common in people with bipolar disorder than in those with unipolar depression. For those whose mood episodes are triggered by these seasonal changes, winter is typically associated with depressive episodes and manic or hypomanic episodes are more prevalent in the spring and summer, possibly due to both the effects of sunlight and seasonal behavioral differences. However, mood episodes do not necessarily follow these patterns. For some, summer triggers depressive episodes and winter triggers mania or hypomania.
How Do I Get Help If I Think I Have Bipolar Disorder
The usual first step to getting help is to speak to your GP.
It can help to keep a record of your moods. This can help you and your GP to understand your mood swings. Bipolar UK have a mood diary and a mood scale on their website. You can find their details in the Useful contacts section at the bottom of this page.
Your GP cant diagnose bipolar disorder. Only a psychiatrist can make a formal diagnosis. Your GP may arrange an appointment with a psychiatrist if you have:
- depression, and
- ever felt very excited or not in control of your mood or behaviour for at least 4 days in a row.
They might refer you to a psychiatrist at your local NHS community mental health team .
Your GP should make an urgent referral to the CMHT if they think that you might have mania or severe depression. Or there is a chance that you are a danger to yourself or someone else.
Your GP should refer you to your local NHS early intervention team if you have an episode of psychosis and its your first one.
Bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose because it affects everyone differently. Also, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be experienced by people who have other mental illness diagnoses. It can take a long time to get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
You can find more information about:
- NHS mental health teams by clicking here.
Also Check: Is Ptsd Covered By Ada
Lack Of Impulse Control
Impulse control. If I see something and I want it, I just get it, regardless if it was in my budget or not. Hannah G.
I think the worst one would be the impulsivity control: always either doing something and regretting it or not doing something and also regretting it Emily E.
Impulses. They are so so bad. I cant tell you the amount of debt Ive gotten myself into because of it. I learned too little, too late that credit cards are one of the biggest mistakes someone with bipolar disorder can make. Cristi B.
Not Getting Enough Zs
Indeed, sleep can be one of the most important factors in your health; it can be a two-way street in that too much stress can make sleeping more difficult while at the same time, a good nights sleep can help reduce the negative effects of stress. Among other things, stress causes hyperarousal, and that changes the balance between sleep and wakefulness. Put sleep as your number one priority in combatting stress.
You May Like: Can Eating Disorders Cause Thyroid Problems
Anxiety As A Separate Condition
Now well have to be more specific about what kind of anxiety are we talking about?. There are several specific forms of anxiety which appear to be clearly separate from bipolar disorder . Heres a list, and then well look at specific symptoms that identify each one. After that well look at the treatment implications of having one of these. Jump to each by the link below.
Most of these have been shown to occur more often than you would expect in people with bipolar disorder . Well look at each one or you can use the link above to jump to the one youre interested in.
Getting A Handle On Stress When You Have Bipolar Disorder Part 2: The Connection Between Stress And Bipolar Disorder
This is the second article in a 3-part series. The blogger recommends reading the first article before reading this one.;
If youve been living with bipolar disorder for some time, youve likely noticed a connection between symptoms you experience and stressors in your life. Perhaps you can remember a specific stressor preceding your first episode. Stress plays a big role in initiating and maintaining the illness. By understanding stress and its connection to bipolar disorder, you can learn to get a handle on stressand prevent it from leading to relapses.;
The jury is still out on exactly how stress and bipolar disorder are connected, and the existing research is complex and contradictory. Ive tried to simplify this information while maintaining as much accuracy as possible. My perspective is also informed by my own personal experience observing the relationship between stress and bipolar disorder over many years.;
Why is it important to learn about stress management when you have bipolar disorder?;
As I mentioned in my last post, managing stress is important for everyonebut perhaps even more important for those of us with bipolar disorder. Here are some reasons its essential to understand and manage stress:;
What role does stress play in causing bipolar disorder?;
What role does stress play in contributing to relapses?
Why are people with bipolar disorder more prone to stress?
How does stress lead to relapses?
What is the bodys reaction to stress?
Recommended Reading: How To Cure Lift Phobia
What Does Stress Feel Like In Bipolar Disorder
Of course, different people experience stress in bipolar disorder differently, but when I’m experiencing stress, here are some of the things I notice:
And overall, my life’s progress tends to grind to a halt while I feeling like a hamster in a wheel trying to get the above under control.
What You Should Do
What do you do if you believe you have been misdiagnosed by a mental health professional? The first thing to do is not to panic. Although we look up to doctors, they are the only people with diplomas. They are fallible and sometimes make mistakes such as giving the wrong diagnosis. If you feel your doctor has made a mistake, ask for a second opinion outside of that doctors clinic. Most insurance companies allow this maneuver and even if yours does not it is worth the peace of mind.
Second, make sure to be totally upfront and honest with your clinician. A mental health professionals diagnosis is only as good as the information you give them. If you hold back facts from your childhood or other information you are hurting yourself and become more likely to be misdiagnosed.
Last, if you do not feel your mental health professional is a good fit and that your diagnosis is wrong, seek out someone else for help. Take advantage of websites that help you find specialists who deal with complex post-traumatic stress disorder to find a good match.
Misdiagnosing CPTSD as bipolar disorder is dangerous and will not help the person experiencing symptoms to heal. Definitely, reach out to a mental health professional when you need help but keep in mind that misdiagnosis can and does occur.
Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine. ~ Roy T. Bennett
Recommended Reading: How Ptsd Affects Military Families
Stress Leads To Bipolar Hypomania
Im not sure how your average person deals with stress. Bingeing? Talking? Ranting? Raging? Running? I just dont know. As far as I can see, people do all those things when theyre stressed.
But for a person with bipolar disorder, stress can lead to hypomania. And one has to deal with the stress and deal with the hypomania combined which is kind of stressful in and of itself.
How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
Most people with bipolar disorder can be helped â but a psychiatrist or psychologist must first diagnose the disorder. Sadly, many people with the condition are never diagnosed or are not diagnosed properly. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, the disorder can become worse. Some teens with undiagnosed bipolar disorder can end up in a psychiatric hospital or residential treatment center, in the juvenile justice system, abusing drugs, or committing suicide.
Because children and teens with bipolar disorder do not usually show the same patterns of behavior as adults who have the condition, a mental health professional will observe a teen’s behavior carefully before making a diagnosis. This includes getting a complete history of the person’s past and present experiences. Family members and friends can also provide helpful insights into the person’s behavior. The doctor may also want a teen to have a medical exam to rule out other conditions.
Diagnosing bipolar disorder can be difficult. As yet, there aren’t any laboratory tests like a brain scan or blood test that will diagnose it. In teens, bipolar disorder can sometimes be mistaken for illnesses like schizophrenia and posttraumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , and other depressive disorders. That’s why a complete, detailed history is so important.
Don’t Miss: What Does A Ptsd Flashback Look Like
Recognizing Bipolar Disorder In Yourself Or Others
Just like each person looks different, the condition can vary from person to person.
It is important to understand how bipolar disorder tends to present. Its not like a light switch of emotions, as many believe it to be. Symptoms of mania or depression may appear over the span of days, weeks, or even longer.
Some episodes may last for a day or two while others may last for a week or longer.
To understand BD, its important to understand the signs of manic and depressive episodes.
Some signs that someone is experiencing a manic episode include:
- Feeling elated, high, or up
- Feeling extremely irritable
- A decreased need for sleep, sometimes going several days without sleep at all without feeling tired
- Changes in appetite
- Bouncing quickly between thoughts
- Risky behavior and poor judgment, such as spending large amounts of money, drinking excessively, or risky sexual behavior
- Grandiose ideas where the person feels exceptionally talented, important, or powerful
Since a manic episode can involve feelings of euphoria, its not unusual for people experiencing mania to want the feeling to last forever. This also explains why many who are experiencing episodes of mania may not ask for help. However, the feeling of mania will end.
Some people with BD will also experience one or more depressive episodes. They may have symptoms similar to major depressive disorder . Some of the most common symptoms include:
Symptoms Of A Mixed Episode
A mixed episode of bipolar disorder features symptoms of both mania or hypomania and depression. Common signs of a mixed episode include depression combined with agitation, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, distractibility, and racing thoughts. This combination of high energy and low mood makes for a particularly high risk of suicide.
You May Like: How To Help Your Partner With Depression
How To Love Someone With Bipolar Disorder: A Helpful Guide
Can a bipolar person love someone? Absolutely. Can someone with bipolar disorder have a normal relationship? With work from both you and your partner, yes. When someone you love has bipolar disorder, their symptoms can be overwhelming at times. But it is possible to work past this mental health condition in your relationship. Although we provide drug and alcohol detox in Boca, we also work with those people who struggle with mental illness and are sharing some tips on dealing with a loved one who has bipolar disorder.
The Keys To Bipolar Disorder Self
Get educated. Learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder. The more you know, the better youll be at assisting your own recovery.
Get moving. Exercise has a beneficial impact on mood;and may reduce the number of bipolar episodes you experience. Aerobic exercise that activates arm and leg movement such as running, walking, swimming, dancing, climbing or drumming may be especially beneficial to your brain and nervous system.
Keep stress in check. Avoid high-stress situations, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and try relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
Seek support. Its important to have people you can turn to for help and encouragement. Try joining a support group or talking to a trusted friend. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it wont mean youre a burden to others. In fact, most friends will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your relationship.
Stay closely connected to friends and family. Nothing is as calming to the nervous system as face-to-face contact with caring supportive people who can just listen to you talk about what youre experiencing.
Make healthy choices. Healthy sleeping and eating habits can help stabilize your moods. Keeping a regular sleep schedule is particularly important.
Monitor your moods. Keep track of your symptoms and watch for signs that your moods are swinging out of control so you can stop the problem before it starts.
Recommended Reading: What Age Group Is Most Affected By Ptsd