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.
Different Treatments For Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is usually treated with:
- Other forms of therapy and counseling that may include family members
- Electroconvulsive therapy, also called “shock therapy” because small electrical waves are used
The right combination of these various therapies can reduce or eliminate bipolar mood changes between mania and depression, as well as prevent or reduce symptoms, including hypersexuality.
Those symptoms of hypersexuality may be a red flag for some people with bipolar disorder indicating that they are slipping into a manic episode. If a person with bipolar starts to notice themselves thinking more about sex or engaging in promiscuous behavior, she should notify her doctor of this onset of symptoms.
Additional reporting by Barbara Kean.
What Does A Person With Bipolar Disorder Experience
Bipolar disorder does not have a set pattern and differs from individual to individual. Patients may feel a particular emotion several times before switching to another state.
Symptoms of mania are:
- Patients may feel that they are on the top of the world
- Highly irritable
When medication therapy is ineffective, electroconvulsive therapy might be considered. During electroconvulsive therapy, an electric current is passed through the brain to treat the disorder. In some, talk therapy has proven to be beneficial in treating mood episodes. Another part of treatment is psychoeducation where patients and their families are educated regarding symptoms and importance of medication compliance.
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What Do You Do To Keep Well
Keeping well when you have bipolar is an interesting concept. For some it revolves exclusively around manging moods. For others it means fitting life around moods.
For me, and others like me who are deep into a recovery that seems to be holding, its about keeping an eye, and investing in the things that help us all boost our mental health.
For many, if not most people with bipolar, life and keeping well includes taking medication.
Blogger Tanya said:
The thing I most prioritise with keeping myself well is to be strict in taking my medication. Missing doses or tweaking them without professional help can be devastating.
Again, Im going to buck the trend and say I dont take medication routinely. I took lithium for a decade, and then wanted, once I knew myself and had done my research, to try tapering off. That was eight years ago, and Ive managed it. I did it carefully, over two years, with support, whilst learning other techniques.
For 13 years, I took medication, but in the past six months, I’ve been trying to cope without it. So I have to be super careful, and alas, super boring. I don’t drink a lot, I have relatively early nights when I can.
Bipolar can also be triggered by trauma, or other life events and sometimes part of therapy is addressing underlying concerns to get someone to a point where they can start to see a life worth living.
Hannah has a rigid menu:
What Is The Treatment For Mania Hypomania And Depression
You can check what treatment and care is recommended for bipolar disorders on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence website.
NICE produce guidelines for how health professionals should treat certain conditions. You can download these from their website at:
The NHS doesnt have to follow these recommendations. But they should have a good reason for not following them.
What medications are recommended?
Mood stabilisers are usually used to manage mania, hypomania and depressive symptoms.
The mood stabilisers we talk about in this factsheet are:
- Certain benzodiazepine medication
Mania and hypomaniaYou should be offered a mood stabiliser to help manage your mania or hypomania. Your doctor may refer to your medication as antimanic medication.
If you are taking antidepressants your doctor may advise you to withdraw from taking them.
You will usually be offered an antipsychotic first. The common antipsychotics used for the treatment of bipolar disorder are:
If the first antipsychotic you are given doesnt work, then you should be offered a different antipsychotic medication from the list above.
If a different antipsychotic doesnt work, then you may be offered lithium to take alongside it. If the lithium doesnt work you may be offered sodium valproate to take with an antipsychotic. Sodium valproate is an anticonvulsive medication.
Sodium Valproate shouldnt be given to girls or young women who might want to get pregnant.
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Bipolar In Men During A Depressive State
In both genders, bipolar depression manifests itself through six behaviors: excessive sleeping, changes in eating, being withdrawn and sullen, irritability, inability to concentrate, and lack of interest in virtually anything typically enjoyed. Extremes, not surprisingly, include suicidal impulses and attempts as well as reclusive behaviors.
Bipolar disorder carries a high risk of suicide. Suicide in men is a significant social, behavioral health and medical problem. Men have a much larger rate of attempts and completed suicide rates in comparison with women. Early identification of bipolar disorder and risk factors is essential to intervene, treat, and prevent any risk-taking behavior.
Again, it can be argued that women more easily reveal their emotion and more willing to seek help. Extensive evidence supports that men are typically unwilling to admit to depression. In fact, they often take extreme measures to avoid being identified as depressedclinically or otherwisebecause depression and the symptoms that come with it defy male norms of independence and emotional control.
Sadly, men suffering from bipolar are less easy to identify and less likely to seek assistance and treatment.
Bipolar Disorder Risk Factors
When someone develops bipolar disorder, it usually starts when they’re in late adolescence or young adulthood. Rarely, it can happen earlier in childhood. Bipolar disorder can run in families.
Men and women are equally likely to get it. Women are somewhat more likely than men to go through “rapid cycling,” which is having four or more distinct mood episodes within a year. Women also tend to spend more time depressed than men with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder usually develops later in life for women, and theyâre more likely to have bipolar disorder II and be affected by seasonal mood changes.
A combination of medical and mental issues is also more common in women. Those medical issues can include thyroid disease, migraine, and anxiety disorders.
Some things that make you more likely to have bipolar disorder include:
Having a family member with bipolar disorder
Going through a time of high stress or trauma
Drug or alcohol abuse
Certain health conditions
Many people with the condition abuse alcohol or other drugs when manic or depressed. People with bipolar disorder are more likely to have seasonal depression, co-existing anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
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How A Person With Bipolar Thinks
This is an interesting question: how does a person with bipolar disorder think? Of course, its hard for me to compare it with your average person as I have bipolar disorder. I dont have the two thought processes in my one brain to compare.
This is not to say that we all think the same way nevertheless, I do have some ideas on how people with bipolar disorder think that seem to stand out amongst the normals.
Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive disorder, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy and activity levels that are drastically different from the moods and behaviors of a typical person. While only about 4.4% of American adults will struggle with bipolar disorder at some point in their lives,1 it can affect that persons ability to carry out day-to-day tasks and live their life normally. The moods usually alternate between mania, or an extremely up mood, and depression, or an extremely down mood.
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Bipolar Treatment Risks Around Pregnancy
Bipolar disorder itself does not appear to affect the safety of a pregnancy. However, some treatments can pose a risk to the unborn or breastfeeding baby. On the other hand, stopping treatment may increase the risk to the pregnant person.
In some cases, medications can worsen or trigger symptoms of bipolar disorder. For example, treating postpartum depression with antidepressants may increase the risk of psychosis, mania, and rapid cycling. In people with a family history of bipolar disorder, it may trigger the first symptoms.
It is crucial for a person and their doctor to weigh the risk of symptoms with the risk of adverse effects when developing a treatment plan. This may change before, during, and after pregnancy. For a person with severe symptoms, a doctor may recommend ECT, but experts recommend this only as a last resort.
Anyone with bipolar disorder who is considering pregnancy or pregnant should speak with their healthcare team, especially if bipolar symptoms are present.
Encourage Treatment For Bipolar Disorder
Done are the days of electric shock therapy and unnecessary lobotomies. There are various viable treatment options now available for bipolar disorder. Because the sooner bipolar disorder is treated the better the prognosis may be, it is important to seek professional help as quickly as possible. While it may be tempting to see if your loved one will get better without treatment, this could make matters worse. All too often people with bipolar disorder will turn to drugs such as alcohol oropiatesin attempts to self-medicate. These bad habits could lead to a substance abuse problem that now also requires professional attention like our residential drug treatment in Boca.
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Mental Health Treatment Locator
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides this online resource for locating mental health treatment facilities and programs. The Mental Health Treatment Locator section of the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator lists facilities providing mental health services to persons with mental illness. Find a facility in your state at www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp.
What It’s Like To Have Bipolar By People Who Have Bipolar
Around 1% of us will develop bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression.
People with bipolar experience both episodes of severe depression, and episodes of mania overwhelming joy, excitement or happiness, huge energy, a reduced need for sleep, and reduced inhibitions.
The experience of bipolar is uniquely personal. No two people have exactly the same experience.
Bipolar disorder has been associated with genius and with creativity. It is certainly true that a number of contemporary high achievers and creatives have spoken of their experiences, and throughout history it is possible to recognise bipolar type traits in the artistic, political and academic spheres. But what is it actually like?
I was diagnosed with bipolar in my late teens, in my first year at university. The diagnosis have shaped my adult identity and experiences.
This week I have been collecting answers to four simple questions from a range of people who have bipolar, to demonstrate the range of experiences out there, and some of the things that help.
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Information For Family Carers And Friends
How can I get support?
You can speak to your GP. You should be given your own assessment through NHS mental health services to work out what effect your caring role is having on your health. And what support you need. Such as practical support and emergency support.
These are some other options for you:
- Join a carers service
- Join a carers support group
- Ask your local authority for a carers assessment
- Read about the condition
- Apply for welfare benefits for carers
Rethink Mental Illness run carers support groups in some areas. You can also search for groups on the Carers Trust website:
- Rethink Mental Illness: www.rethink.org/about-us/our-support-groups
- Carers Trust: www.carers.org/search/network-partners
How can I support the person I care for?
You might find it easier to support someone with bipolar disorder if you understand their symptoms, treatment and self-management skills.
You should be aware of what you can do if you are worried about their mental state. It can be helpful to know contact information for their mental health team or GP.
You could find out from your relative if they have a crisis plan. You could help your relative to make a crisis plan if they dont have one.
As a carer you should be involved in decisions about care planning. But you dont have a legal right to this. The medical team should encourage the person that you care for to allow information to be shared with you.
You can find out more information about:
What Causes Bipolar Disorder
The cause of bipolar disorder isnt clear. Research suggests that a combination of different things can make it more likely that you will develop bipolar disorder.
There is a 13% chance you will develop bipolar disorder if someone in your immediate family, like a parent, brother or sister has bipolar disorder.
This risk is higher if both of your parents have the condition or if your twin has the condition.
Researchers havent found the exact genes that cause bipolar disorder. But different genes have been linked to the development of bipolar disorder.
Brain chemical imbalance
Different chemicals in your brain affect your mood and behaviour. Too much or too little of these chemicals could lead to you developing mania or depression.
Stressful life events can trigger symptoms of bipolar disorder. Such as childhood abuse or the loss of a loved one. They can increase your chances of developing depressive episodes.
You can find more information about Does mental illness run in families? by clicking here.
Treating Alcohol Use Disorder And Bipolar Disorder
Someone who has both a drinking problem and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder can benefit from dual diagnosis treatment. This involves the integration of mental health treatment with drug and alcohol rehabilitation. The first step is going to alcohol detox.
People with bipolar disorder may experience severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. For this reason, nobody should attempt to detox from alcohol alone. Instead, medications can be prescribed at a detox facility to help manage the symptoms and ensure a safe detox process. Since bipolar disorder and alcoholism are so complex, patients should attend a residential treatment program after completing detox.
During residential treatment, dual diagnosis patients will participate in a variety of different treatment therapies to address their individual needs. These include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
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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.
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What Happens In The Manic Phase Of Bipolar Disorder
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Dutil
Are you or someone you know affected by mood swings that seem extreme or out of the ordinary? Do those changes in mood affect your ability to stay focused or complete tasks? While occasional changes in mood are normal, when those changes occur often, or without obvious reason, they may be a reason for concern. For some, these could be signs of a mental health disorder known as bipolar disorder. Because not everyone who has bipolar disorder has been properly diagnosed or is receiving treatment, it is important to understand the symptoms and know when to seek help.
The 10 Most Common Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
Bipolar disorder is a complicated mental health illness that is easily mistaken for other problems like ADHD or regular depression. One way a doctor diagnoses the type of bipolar disorder a person suffers from is by looking at the symptoms the person has.
While not everyone who has bipolar disorder will suffer from all of the signs and symptoms of it and the symptoms usually vary in type and severity from person to person, there are certain common bipolar disorder symptoms that are usually found.
These symptoms can occur in both men and women. While most of these signs of manic depression usually first manifest themselves in a persons teens or twenties they have been known to occur earlier or later in some cases.
The Top 10 Most Common Bipolar Disorder Symptoms in Adults
The one trait that all people who have bipolar disorder share is that each person with this condition will have at least one manic or mixed-manic event during their lifetime. That is one of the hallmark symptoms of bipolar disorder and a key factor in its diagnosis.
Mania is a high-energy state of mind where the individual is likely to have a positive mood. The individual is likely to seem extremely energetic and in the case of the milder Bipolar II disorders is often highly productive when in a state of mania or hypomania. This is the happy mood that tends to go in cycles with other moods.
Inflated Ego or Self-Esteem
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