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How To Get Someone With Bipolar To Seek Help

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Be Patient And Understanding

Can you make someone get help with their mental health? | Episode 4 #AskMind

Theres a lot that someone with bipolar disorder cant control and if their loved ones become frustrated with them, it can be very damaging to their mental state. Its natural that you may feel frustrated, inpatient or even angry, but try to find ways to deal with these feelings without making them visible to your friend or loved one.

People with bipolar disorder may l not only feel frustrated with their behavior and feelings, but they could feel like a burden. Recognize even the small steps your friend with bipolar takes to get treatment and stick with a treatment plan. Rather than getting impatient that more progress isnt being made, celebrate the small steps. Know that bipolar disorder will include many triumphs along the way as well as setbacks and thats a regular part of the process. Accept the limitations of your loved one. They cant get over it when theyre in a period of mania or depression.

First What Is Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition which includes an experience of mood from emotional highs, referred to as mania or hypomania that can last for days to a week, to lows, or a depressed mood which can last for weeks, explains clinical psychologist Dr. Desreen Dudley, PsyD.

According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, 5.7 million American adults are currently diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

There are different types of bipolar disorder, including:

Your thoughts may differ depending on the type of bipolar disorder you live with.

Does someone with bipolar disorder remember what they say? Yes.

Do people with bipolar disorder know what theyre doing? Also yes.

Many people think that a person with bipolar disorder doesnt have any control over themselves or that theyre unable to take care of themselves or function in society. This simply is not true, says Ikaika King, who was diagnosed with bipolar II when he was 17.

In many ways, we think exactly like everyone else most of the time. Its when we have symptoms that things start to go haywire, adds Gabe Howard, author of Mental Illness Is an Asshole and host of Psych Centrals Inside Mental Health podcast.

People with bipolar disorder may face unique challenges as a result of their condition, but theyre fully capable of leading happy, healthy, successful lives.

Know When Its Too Much

No one knows how to handle bipolar disorder better than the specialists trained to treat it. If youre helping a person with bipolar disorder and it feels like things are getting too difficult to handle, reach out to a medical or mental health expert right away. Call 911 if the person becomes abusive or threatens to harm themselves or others.

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Learn Their Warning Signs And Triggers

Most people have some warning signs that they’re about to experience a mood episode.

Many people will also have triggers, such as stress, which can bring on an episode. Try to:

  • Talk to your friend, partner or family member about their warning signs, exploring what they may be.
  • Gently let them knowif you’ve noticed certain behaviours that normally happen before an episode.
  • Understand what their triggers are and how you can help avoid or manage them.

“Having a father with bipolar is definitely a worry you ride the highs and lows with them. Looking out for patterns, talking, remaining calm and supportive is essential.”

Black And White Thinking

Help for Bipolar: Seeking Help and Support for Coping With Bipolar Disorder

Black and white thinking is how people that are unsure of themselves think. It isnt just limited to people with BPD. It happens to normal people as well.

When youre unsure of your stance on things, you become a flip-flopper. You could say a lot of our politicians are black and white thinkers. Theyll say one thing and do the other.

If you feel like youve been painted black, then trying to change their view of you isnt going to do you any good. Chances are, you had some sort of reaction that actually pushed your partner away.

The key always comes down to self-education. I get emails and comments everyday from people that are confused about their relationship. They dont even realize that their behavior is what actually pushed their BPD partner away.

My mission with this website and my courses is simply to educate people. The more you know about behavior, attitude, actions and more, the more you can focus on doing the right things instead of the wrong things that only cause more problems.

This is why its important to not focus so much on words that others say. People with BPD have their issues. They will react and panic and rage and do things to get reactions out of you.

If you say something and then apologize a minute later, you already lost because youre now a flip flopper. You cant hold your ground. You fail tests easily. Youre not able to take responsibility.

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A Better Life Is Possible

Do I need bipolar medication? Can you treat bipolar disorder at all, or am I stuck with it? These are very common questions once people realize they have this condition. Heres what you need to know.

Treatment: Treatment for bipolar disorder can be very effective. Many people need medication, but some do not. In all cases, treatment can help you to understand whats happening and learn how to control it.

Quality of Life: Your quality of life improves when you seek treatment. Having an understanding of what your needs are can help you to meet them better, reducing the risk of severe mental breakdowns.

Co-Occurring Disease Treatment: Its also important to receive treatment for co-occurring disorders so that your physical and mental health are being treated at the same time.

Take Care Of Yourself And Find Your Own Support

We cant help others unless were okay. Its hard to be patient when were tired and frustrated. Find others who are in care-giving roles. Find a person you can vent to who is on your side and can help you feel better. Having other people to talk to can also help you figure out when and how to push, and when its okay to let go .

In the end, if someone really doesnt want help, forcing them can be an option but doesnt seem to work very well. In many cases, when we force people to do things we want them to do, it only ends in fighting and resentment. Letting people make their own choices, even when their choices are the wrong ones and it leads to more pain does not make you a failure.

Still, theres a time and a place for taking someone to the hospital against their will. If your loved one presents an immediate danger to themselves or someone else, or if they are having a psychotic break or a drug overdose, it may make sense to have them hospitalized against their will.

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S To Getting A Loved One Help For Bipolar Disorder

I have learned a lot while caring for my sister, who has . The first thing I learned? There is no guidebook for caregiving. Bipolar disorder affects everyone differently, and each situation has its own obstacles and . But after dealing with my little sister’s condition for the last six years, I think I’ve pinned down four steps that apply to all struggling caregivers.

Allow Them Some Space

How to manage bipolar disorder – 6 Strategies

Living with bipolar is a daunting task. Separating yourself from someone you want to help might feel like a foreign concept. But, as a support person, it is best to establish a loving distance between yourself and the person with bipolar. Set boundaries and establish consequences that encourage them to seek recovery on their own, all the while expressing your concern and willingness to help. Be supportive, patient, and understandingwithout allowing yourself to be taken advantage of or feel used. Effective encouragement is helpful enabling is not.

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Blaming Only Makes Things Worse

Knowing the right relationship core values is really the key to success in relationships. If you have the wrong values and mindsets, youll say things and do things that will drive away your partner.

A common problem people have these days is that they blame their partner for the problems of the relationship. But this just isnt true because were 100% responsible for ourselves and the problems of our life.

This doesnt mean that you need to blame yourself. Its simply the acceptance that who and where you are today is your choice.

Knowing this, pointing the finger and blaming your partner for problems doesnt do any good for the relationship. It will just make things worse.

So what Ill talk about even before a date is how I believe that who we are today is our choice and that who we are going to be in the future is entirely dependent on ourselves and our choices.

This means that the past doesnt have to define who we are. I like sharing these beliefs because it helps people with BPD understand that they can improve themselves and stop living in the past.

Blaming your parents or your past relationships does nothing to help you. It will only make you worse and cause you to live in the past.

How Should I Talk To My Family Member

You may be tempted to repeatedly urge, plead or even threaten your family member into seeking treatment. Unfortunately, this often results in a breakdown of communication and the person shutting you out.

Try to use I statements rather than you statements to express your concerns about the importance of treatment. I statements focus on your own feelings or beliefs rather than criticizing or directing the other person. This approach may allow you to get your point across without making your family member feel defensive.

For example, instead of saying You need to get help! say When I hear you talking about how unhappy you are, I feel worried. I think it would be really helpful for you to talk with someone about how youre feeling.


What can I do?

Learn about mental illness and addiction

It can be easier to cope when you feel informed about what your family member is experiencing. Many resources are available, but sometimes it is difficult to know what information is accurate. The Resources section in this pamphlet is a good place to start. There may also be education sessions that you can attend.

Talk to your family member about your concerns, and encourage them to seek support

Let your family member know you are concerned. Consider how best to express your concerns. See the How should I talk with my family member? section for suggestions.

Get support for yourself and your family
Take care of yourself
Support other family members
Form 1
Form 2


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How To Help Someone Stay On Their Bipolar Medication

Just like someone with type 1 diabetes will always need insulin, a person with bipolar disorder will likely need to take medication for their whole life. Research shows that many of those who stop often find their symptoms return within a year.

As important as it is, people often don’t stay the course with their medication. There are some common reasons why someone might skip doses or stop taking drugs. If you have a friend or family member with bipolar disorder, you can help them stick with it. And knowing the reason the person quits using the medicine can help.

Make sure you tell them that you care about them, that you believe medication is key to their being well, and that you’ll be there to support and help them along the way.

The reason: The drugs don’t seem to be working.

Encourage patience. Many medications can take up to 8 weeks to kick in. So it’s not unusual to think they’re not working at first. Sometimes, they and their doctor may need to experiment for months or even years before settling on the right drugs and doses. Reassure them that most people are eventually glad they stuck with the process because they end up feeling a lot better.

The reason: They just forget.

The reason: They hate the side effects.

The reason: They just refuse.

There could be a number of reasons someone refuses to take a medicine. They might have a concern they’re not willing to talk about. Or they may not want to accept that they have a mental illness or that they need medicine.

Getting Professional Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Understanding Bipolar Disorder Is Important To Cope

It can be overwhelming to have bipolar disorder but also to see a loved one go through life with this mental health condition. At Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital], we have bipolar disorder treatment options to help your loved one. Get in touch with our team today by calling or by reaching out to us online.

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Support Them During Treatment

Once they agree to seek specialist support, offer to be involved in their treatment as much or as little as they need. You could offer to go with them to appointments, be the main source of contact between them and their doctor, collect any prescription medications that they may have, and generally provide support and help as and when they need it. By supporting them through treatment, you can help to ensure that they keep going to appointments and are invested in and committed to the process. It also reassures them that they dont have to go through anything on their own if they dont want to. The earlier bipolar disorder is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis.

Unspecified Or Other Specified Bipolar And Related Disorders

In some cases, a person may experience symptoms of bipolar disorder that do not fit into the other three types.

In such cases, they may receive a diagnosis that doctors call unspecified bipolar disorder and related disorders or other specified bipolar and related disorders. This will depend on the type, duration, and severity of their symptoms.

People with bipolar disorder may not realize that their moods and behavior are disrupting their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

Because of this, people who have bipolar disorder often do not get the medical attention and treatment they require. This is especially true during their euphoric manic periods.

People with bipolar disorder are more likely to seek help when they experience a depressive episode.

Because of this, the doctor may incorrectly diagnose the person with depression instead.

Once a doctor diagnoses someone with bipolar disorder, they should see their doctor often to evaluate how well any prescription medications are working. Also, a doctor may recommend that a person with bipolar disorder talk regularly with a mental health professional.

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Let Go Of Past & Focus On The Present

Frustration often accompanies bipolarboth for those living with it and for those in supporting roles. Try to avoid wallowing in the past. Pointing fingers solves nothing, blaming is not the answer, and getting angry only makes matters worse. Bitterness and resentment are not good for you, and they can sometimes act as a trigger to the person with bipolar, inciting more of the behavior you want to discourage. Instead, focus on helping make tomorrow better. Thats true support.

What To Do If Someone With Bipolar Refuses Treatment

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Bipolar disorder is a scary illness, but sometimes even scarier is the idea of treatment. Logically, going to the doctor, getting a diagnosis and getting help doesnt sound scary, but if youre the one faced with psychiatrists, personal, probing questions, destroying what you know and treatments that might make you feel worse before you feel better, you might find the concept daunting.

But what do you do if youre a loved one of a person with bipolar who is refusing treatment?

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Supporting Your Loved One Long

Supporting your loved one through treatment is a long-term project, Komrad said. Check in with them regularly about their treatment and how you can help.

Also, realize that a change in them is a change in you, he said. In other words, as theyre making changes in their life, you might want to seek professional help as well. You might even realize that your relationship is part of the problem. As Komrad said, Sometimes relationships can be sick, too.

As a family member or close friend, you have a lot of power in helping your loved one. Use it.

Learn more about Dr. Mark Komrad at his website and about his must-read book at

Last medically reviewed on October 1, 2012

Getting Someone To Seek Help For Bipolar Disorder

For a variety of reasons, people with bipolar disorder won’t go to a doctor for help. They shrug off a friend or family member’s concern. Others view their illness as a distraction or a weakness, and they don’t want to give in to it. Still others put their health at a very low priority compared with other things in their lives.

Often, fear is the reason for not seeing a doctor. That’s especially true if there is a family history of emotional problems. People in denial are protected from their worst fears. They can stay comfortable in their everyday routines — even though relationships and careers can be at stake.

If you’re concerned about a loved one who could have bipolar disorder, talk to them about seeing a doctor. Sometimes, simply suggesting a health checkup is the best approach. With other people, it works best to be direct about your concern regarding a mood disorder. Include these points in the discussion:

Trust is crucial in shaking someone’s denial and in motivating them to get help. Trust is also important once treatment for bipolar disorder starts. Through the eyes of a trustworthy friend or family member, a person with bipolar disorder can know when treatment is working — when things are getting better, and when they’re not. If your interest is sincere, you can be of great help to your friend or family member.

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