A Mental Health Intervention
When someone you care about continues to refuse treatment, when their mental health issues are causing serious problems, or if they cant see or admit that they have bipolar disorder, a more drastic push may be useful. Interventions are well known in the cases of substance use disorders and can be effective. Loved ones come together to show support but to insist on treatment. If the person in question refuses, there are consequences such as taking away financial support.
If you choose to try an intervention, there are some risks. It is best to work with a mental health professional to plan, practice, and initiate this strategy. An intervention for a mental illness like bipolar disorder can be riskier than that for an addict. Take care and be prepared for denial, hostility, even aggression. Have a plan in place and dont try to do this without professional assistance.
Beyond Treatment: Things You Can Do
Regular Exercise: Regular aerobic exercise, such as jogging, brisk walking, swimming, or bicycling, helps with depression and anxiety, promotes better sleep, and is healthy for your heart and brain. There is also some evidence that anaerobic exercise such as weightlifting, yoga, and Pilates can be helpful. Check with your health care provider before you start a new exercise regimen.
Keeping a Life Chart: Even with proper treatment, mood changes can occur. Treatment is more effective when a patient and health care provider work together and talk openly about concerns and choices. Keeping a life chart that records daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events can help patients and health care providers track and treat bipolar disorder over time. Patients can easily share data collected via smartphone apps including self-reports, self- ratings, and activity data with their health care providers and therapists.
Living With Bipolar Disorder Tip : Get Involved In Your Treatment
Be a full and active participant in your own treatment. Learn everything you can about bipolar disorder. Become an expert on the illness. Study up on the symptoms, so you can recognize them in yourself, and research all your available treatment options. The more informed you are, the better prepared youll be to deal with symptoms and make good choices for yourself.
Using what youve learned about bipolar disorder, collaborate with your doctor or therapist in the treatment planning process. Dont be afraid to voice your opinions or questions. The most beneficial relationships between patient and healthcare provider work as a partnership. You may find it helpful to draw up a treatment contract outlining the goals you and your provider have agreed upon.
Improve your treatment by:
Being patient. Dont expect an immediate and total cure. Have patience with the treatment process. It can take time to find the right program that works for you.
Communicating with your treatment provider. Your treatment program will change over time, so keep in close contact with your doctor or therapist. Talk to your provider if your condition or needs change and be honest about your symptoms and any medication side effects.
Taking your medication as instructed. If youre taking medication, follow all instructions and take it faithfully. Dont skip or change your dose without first talking with your doctor.
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Some Mood Episodes Can Cause Behavior That Is Out Of Character And Difficult To Tolerate We Can Help Loved Ones Recognize And Prevent These Shifts Before They Damage Our Relationship
Many people believe that bipolar disorder comes with only sad depression or euphoric mania. In reality, this is just 50% of bipolar disorder. The other side of bipolar includes symptoms of irritation, anger, restlessness, and a mean and nasty mood. This mood swing can be from either agitated depression, or an episode with mixed features, which I call dysphoric mania.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms
A person with bipolar disorder will go through episodes of mania and at other times experience episodes of depression . These aren’t the normal periods of happiness and sadness that everyone experiences from time to time. Instead, the episodes are intense or severe mood swings, like a pendulum that keeps arcing higher and higher.
Symptoms of mania include:
- anger, worry, and anxiety
- thoughts of death or suicide
In adults, episodes of mania or depression usually last for weeks or months, although they can be shorter in length. In children and adolescents, though, these episodes can be much shorter, and a kid or teen can even go back and forth between mania and depression throughout the day.
Episodes of mania or depression may happen irregularly and follow an unpredictable pattern or they may be linked, with a manic episode always following a period of depression, or vice versa. Sometimes episodes have a seasonal pattern. Mania in the spring, for example, may be followed by depression in the winter.
Between episodes, someone with bipolar disorder usually returns to normal functioning. For some people, though, there is little or no “break period” between their cycles. These mood swing cycles can change slowly or rapidly, with rapid cycling between mania and depression being much more common in women, children, and adolescents.
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How To Help Yourself When You Have A Mean And Nasty Episode
Write down what you think, say, and do during one of these episodes . Documenting what you think, say, and do can help you determine if its agitated depression or dysphoric mania. You can also use this list in the future to prevent the mood swing from going too far. I call this being a bipolar detective.
Here is an example of my think, says, does list from my last agitated depression:
What I said to others and wrote in my journal:
- The government where I live is so fing stupid. They are incompetent and I HATE them. They should all be fired! They lied to the press and caused enormous distress for all of us!
- I cant believe how dumb everyone is! People are sheep and they are stupid! They are blind and I cant figure out how they can be so dumb!
- This life is too hard. Its ridiculous that my life is so hard. I cant find peace anywhere.
I do NOT think like this at all when Im stable. Im not a mean or unkind person. This is a downswing.
How I Ended the Agitated Depression
Writing my thoughts and behaviors down in my journal really helped me recognize that I was sick and I needed to help myself so that I wouldnt ruin any relationships:
- I stopped talking about politics and world events.
- I tried to be nice to myself and remind myself that I have bipolar and this is simply a symptom. What matters is that I caught itand that is a positive.
- I apologized.
Understand And Learn About Bipolar Disorder
Trying to understand and learn about the symptoms and treatment options can help you in handling the person better. The more you know the better.
Encouraging the Person to Get Help:
Bipolar disorder is the type of condition which can be treated more effectively when identified the earliest. If you think your loved one has a bipolar issue, encourage them to take expert advice, do not wait for them to treat themselves or get better with time.
People with bipolar disorder or in fact any kind of depression issue hate being criticized or advice they earn for someone to listen, the best thing you can do is lend a sympathetic ear, encouragement, or assistance with treatment. People with bipolar disorder are often reluctant to seek help because they dont want to feel like a burden to others, make sure you keep reminding them that they are important and that you need them.
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Patience is the key to handling people with bipolar disorder. Even if the person is following the treatment procedure correctly, it still takes time to get better. Under physical issues, mental issues take time to heal. Be patient with the person during the recovery period. Be prepared to get setbacks and challenges because this is along with battle but something that going to be worth it in the end.
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Helping Someone Living With Depression Or Bipolar
Your loved ones condition is not your fault . You cant make your loved one well, but you can offer support, understanding, and hope. Each person experiences a mood disorder differently, with different symptoms. Depression may cause someone to have feelings of unbearable sadness, guilt, worthlessness, and hopelessness. The person does not want to feel this way but cant control it. The best way to find out what your loved one needs from you is by asking direct questions, but also respecting the individuals personal space when they dont want to talk.
Accept What You Cannot Control
Loving someone with bipolar disorder can cause you to feel powerless. Although bipolar disorder symptoms can be managed, it is a condition that cannot be entirely controlled. Understand that mood swings and changes come with the territory of manic depression, and calling your partner crazy or telling them to brush it off wont help. Unfortunately, bipolar disorder is a part of your new reality and with this reality comes a little bit less control. Bipolar disorder isnt anyones fault, and the sooner you are able to relinquish this control and adjust, the easier it will be to accept the diagnosis and move forward.
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Take Care Of Yourself And Set Boundaries
Loving someone with bipolar disorder is trying, but you can’t rescue your loved one with bipolar disorder. You cannot control them or make them take responsibility for getting better. You can offer support, but ultimately recovery is in the hands of the person with the illness. Because you too are coping with the effects of this disorder and are focused on your loved one, it is easy to forget about your own health. Take time for yourself and take care of your health. Join a support group or dedicate an hour each week to doing something you enjoy. If not, you could become depressed and even turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. Before you know it, you will require our addiction treatment in Boca as well.
Is It Agitated Depression Or Dysphoric Mania
Judging from my own experiences with these episodes, as well as with my clients, its not difficult to tell the difference between agitated depression and mixed episodes, which I call dysphoric mania.
Dysphoric mania comes with very obvious manic changes in energy: The person will sleep less and not be tired. You will see changes in spending, sexuality, volume and speed of talking an inability to let others have opinions aggression, and/or risk-taking behaviors.
If its agitated depression, the person will still sleep or will be very tired if sleep is disrupted. Agitated depression isnt as physically energized as dysphoric mania. It doesnt have an increase in spending or sexuality, and the person will not be as physically aggressive as a person who is in a mixed state.
Another way to tell the difference is to look at the intensity of the symptoms. The symptoms themselves will be the same in each type of mood swing, but the intensity of the behavior will be much stronger in dysphoric mania than in agitated depression.
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With Communication And Care Bipolar Marriages Can Work
Fred and Kristin Finn, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, describe their marriage as loving and supportive, despite that fact that Kristin was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a teenager. Their teenage daughter has also been diagnosed with the disorder.
The pillars of their success, both say, are open communication and predictable schedules. Kristin says carving time out for her own sleep is crucial, as is making time for each other. “We make sure that every Friday night we set aside time for each other,” she says. “Every single Friday night he comes home from work, we turn on some music, we sit, and we talk. My family and friends knownobody calls us during that time period. Nothing can keep us away from our Friday night, because it’s our time to connect.”
For his part, Fred says he would encourage anyone involved with a bipolar patient to educate themselves as much as they can about the disorder. You may not always like what you learn, he warns, but keeping surprises to a minimum makes your relationship easier to navigate. For example, he says, he is worried about the long-term effects of medication on Kristin’s health. And while both his daughter and his wife comply with medication and therapy, neither is symptom-free.
This is a perfectly healthy stance to take, according to Karp. He urges people with bipolar partners to remember what he calls the “four Cs”: I can’t control it I didn’t cause it I can’t cure it. All I can do is cope with it.
Tip : Develop An Active Daily Routine
Your lifestyle choices, including your sleeping, eating, and exercise patterns, have a significant impact on your moods. There are many things you can do in your daily life to get your symptoms under control and to keep depression and mania at bay.
Build structure into your life. Developing and sticking to a daily schedule can help stabilize the mood swings of bipolar disorder. Include set times for sleeping, eating, socializing, exercising, working, and relaxing. Try to maintain a regular pattern of activity even through emotional ups and downs.
Exercise frequently and avoid sitting for long periods of time.Exercise has a beneficial impact on mood and may reduce the number of bipolar episodes you experience. Aerobic exercise such as running, swimming dancing, climbing or drumming all activities that keep both arms and legs active are especially effective at treating depression. Try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of activity into your daily routine. Ten minutes here and there is just as effective as exercising for longer periods of time. Walking is a good choice for people of all fitness levels.
Keep a strict sleep schedule. Getting too little sleep can trigger mania, so its important to get plenty of rest. For some people, losing even a few hours can cause problems. However, too much sleep can also worsen your mood. The best advice is to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
Healthy sleep habits for managing bipolar disorder
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Convincing A Person With Bipolar Disorder To See A Doctor
Aside from offering emotional support, the best way to help your loved one with bipolar disorder is by encouraging and supporting treatment. Often, that can be more of a challenge than it sounds. Since people with bipolar disorder tend to lack insight into their condition, its not always easy to get them to a doctor. When your loved one is manic, they feel great and dont realize theres a problem. When your loved one is depressed, they may recognize somethings wrong, but often lack the energy to seek help.
If your loved one wont acknowledge the possibility of bipolar disorder, dont argue about it. The idea may be frightening to them, so be sensitive. Suggest a routine medical checkup instead, or a doctors visit for a specific symptom, such as insomnia, irritability, or fatiguethen privately call ahead to tell the doctor of your concerns about bipolar disorder.
Things you can say that might help:
- Bipolar disorder is a real illness, like diabetes. It requires medical treatment.
- Youre not to blame for bipolar disorder. You didnt cause it. Its not your fault.
- You can feel better. There are many treatments that can help.
- When bipolar disorder isnt treated, it usually gets worse.
Push For Residential Treatment
Bipolar disorder is a complicated illness that touches every area of a persons life and that usually requires time to adjust to and benefit from therapy and medication. Outpatient care can help, but for your loved one, push residential care to get the best outcome. Residential treatment will provide them with the time and safe environment in which to really focus on learning how to live well with this chronic illness.
There are several things a residential treatment center can offer that outpatient treatment cannot necessarily provide:
- A multi-disciplinary staff with several areas of expertise
- Several types of therapy
- Around-the-clock supervision with medical care
- Individualized treatment plans
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Understand That Medication Might Not Help Them
Treatment is often accompanied by medication, but it may not be effective for everyone. In fact, medication is used to mitigate symptoms, not remove them entirely. Keep your expectations realistic. Your loved one may require a combination of our medical and mental health treatment in Boca in order to see results.
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.
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Remind Them That You Care
Open communication and honesty are key in any healthy relationship, regardless of mental health.
Whether your loved one is depressed, manic, or having a symptom-free day, assure them that you accept them and love them.
This can be conveyed in a conversation, a note, a gift, going out of your way to do an act of service , or spending extra quality time with them.