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How To Help Someone With Bipolar Depression

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What Are The Different Types Of Bipolar Disorder

How to Help Someone with Bipolar Disorder

There are different types of bipolar disorder.

What is bipolar disorder I disorder?

A diagnosis of bipolar I disorder means you will have had at least 1 episode of mania that lasts longer than 1 week. You may also have periods of depression. Manic episodes will generally last 3-6 months if left untreated. Depressive episodes will generally last 6-12 months without treatment.

What is bipolar II disorder?

A diagnosis of bipolar II disorder means it is common to have symptoms of depression. You will have had at least 1 period of major depression. And at least 1 period of hypomania instead of mania.

What is bipolar I or II disorder with mixed features?

You will experience symptoms of mania or hypomania and depression at the same time. You may hear this being called mixed bipolar state. You may feel very sad and hopeless at the same time as feeling restlessness and being overactive.

What is bipolar I or II disorder with rapid cycling?

Rapid cycling means you have had 4 or more depressive, manic or hypomanic episodes in a 12-month period.

What is bipolar I or II with seasonal pattern?

Seasonal pattern means that either your depression, mania or hypomania is regularly affected in the same way by the seasons. For example, you may find that each winter you have a depressive episode, but your mania doesnt regularly follow a pattern.

There can be some similarities between bipolar I or II with seasonal pattern and another conditional called seasonal affective disorder.

How To Cope With Bipolar Disorder

No matter how down or out of control you feel, its important to remember that youre not powerless when it comes to bipolar disorder. Beyond the treatment you get from your doctor or therapist, there are many things you can do for yourself to reduce your symptoms and stay on track.

Living well with bipolar disorder requires certain adjustments. Like diabetics who take insulin or recovering alcoholics who avoid drinking, if you have bipolar disorder, its important to make healthy choices for yourself. Making these healthy choices will help you keep your symptoms under control, minimize mood episodes, and take control of your life.

Managing bipolar disorder starts with proper treatment, including medication and therapy. But there is so much more you can do to help yourself on a day-to-day basis. These tips can help you influence the course of your illness, enabling you to take greater control over your symptoms, to stay well longer, and to quickly rebound from any mood episode or relapse.

Educate Yourself On Bipolar Disorder And How It Affects Your Loved One

First, absorb knowledge so that you can then help your friend, family member, or partner. Learn how to navigate your loved ones illness for the times when they are not well.

There are loads of great resources out there to help you learn about bipolar disorder.

The National Alliance of Mental Illness provides various resources to learn more about helping your loved one with mental illness, including articles, videos, local support groups, online discussion groups, a help line and more.

You can also support someone by understanding and listening with sensitivity. It can help to read about the experiences of others with bipolar disorder. You can check out some of the best blogs about bipolar disorder here.

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Create A Plan For Handling Emergencies

Unfortunately, when someone is living with bipolar disorder, there may be an emergency or crises that arise. For example, someone may be having suicidal thoughts. When your friend is doing well, work together on an emergency or crisis plan.

Your friend can outline the steps they will take if they feel a crisis occurring and you can also highlight what steps you will take. A bipolar diagnosis isnt the end of a persons world or life. It can be filled with ups and downs, but treatment can help drastically when someone has bipolar disorder.

If you care about someone with bipolar, youll likely face your own set of challenges. Make sure that you take the time to care for your well-being so that you can be a strong support system and advocate for the person you care about.

If you or someone you know has bipolar disorder, which is often a co-occurring disorder with substance abuse, contact The Recovery Village and speak with a representative to learn about treatment programs and options.

How To Support A Bipolar Friend During Treatment

7 Simple Tips to Help a friend with Depression

Offering support to a friend can play a role in their treatment. Learning about the condition, being understanding, and showing patience can all be beneficial. Additionally, it can be helpful to encourage the person with bipolar disorder to seek professional help.

To help ensure successful treatment, a person can try:

  • encouraging them to seek treatment, as it can help relieve symptoms
  • helping them prepare and attend healthcare professional appointments
  • contacting the healthcare providers and asking how to help, with permission
  • helping them keep records of symptoms, treatment, progress, and setbacks
  • encouraging them to adhere to the treatment plan a doctor prescribes

During these episodes, a person may require support, which people may be able to provide in the following ways:

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Tip : Keep Stress To A Minimum

Stress can trigger episodes of mania and depression in people with bipolar disorder, so keeping it under control is extremely important. Know your limits, both at home and at work or school. Dont take on more than you can handle and take time to yourself if youre feeling overwhelmed.

Learn how to relax.Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and guided imagery can be very effective at reducing stress and keeping you on an even keel. A daily relaxation practice can improve your mood and keep depression at bay.

Make leisure time a priority. Do things for no other reason than that it feels good to do them. Go to a funny movie, take a walk on the beach, listen to music, read a good book, or talk to a friend. Doing things just because they are fun is no indulgence. Play is an emotional and mental health necessity.

Appeal to your senses.Stay calm and energized by appealing to your senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink.

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.

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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.

Why Supporting Someone With Bipolar Disorder Is So Important

How to Help Someone with Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar disorder can lead normal, happy and successful lives when their symptoms are properly managed. Even so, they can go through some pretty serious distress at times, so its really important that they have support. There can be a lot of stigma attached to bipolar disorder, so acceptance and support from friends and family helps the person with the condition focus on managing it without having to worry as much about being judged.

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Recommended Fruits For Bipolar Disorder

Fruits can be a great way to get some natural sweetness in ones diet. However, people with bipolar disorder need to be careful with grapefruit. This citrus fruit tends to interact with many prescription drugs for bipolar disorder. The furanocoumarins interfere with the medications, causing higher concentrations than normal in patients blood. In terms of the best fruit for people with this condition, berries rank high. They contain lots of antioxidants that are good for brain, heart, and gut health. Plus, they mix well into a variety of breakfast recipes, desserts, and snacks. Bananas improve serotonin, which might help some patients.

Bipolar Relationships: What To Expect

Ups and downs are natural in any romantic relationship, but when your partner has bipolar disorder it can feel like youre on an emotional rollercoaster. Not knowing what to expect each day is stressful and tiring. Over time, it wears on the relationship.

Understanding why your partner acts out sometimes or becomes withdrawn is the first supportive step you can take in strengthening your relationship. Learn exactly what a bipolar diagnosis means, how it could affect your partners behavior and what you can do to foster a healthy, stable relationship.

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Why Managing Bipolar Disorder Can Feel Overwhelming

Approximately 5.7 million U.S. adults live with bipolar disorder annually. If youve spent years managing bipolar disorder symptoms without a diagnosis, youre not alone.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance also reports that the majority of people living with bipolar disorder go more than several years without a diagnosis, and some may manage symptoms on their own for up to 10 years.

Managing bipolar disorder can feel overwhelming. Between mood episodes you may still experience an array of emotions, and there may be consequences to deal with in your relationships, finances, and professional life.

There might be events or situations that trigger your symptoms. You might not know why you feel better or worse today than you did the day before.

Thankfully, there are ways to help manage bipolar disorder day-in and day-out.

Find A Healthy Balance

How to Help Someone With Bipolar Disorder â 10 Helpful Tips

There are so many questions: How much should I be willing to do? Should we use tough love? How long does this go on? How long should we wait before we intervene? and on and on and on. Bipolar disorder is tough. Its like walking a tightrope sometimes, where youve got to learn to balance your own welfare with the interest you have in supporting the person with bipolar. You also have to find a healthy balance when it comes to the support you offer. Learn to take things in stride, one day at a time. Theres a time to help and a time to step back a time to speak and a time to listen a time to be patient and a time to be insistent.

Now, you have some valuable points to ponder as you help your loved one pursue recovery. The more youre in the know, the better equipped you are to offer the type of support that can make a positive difference. The reward is a brighter, happier futurefor everyone involved.

I know its worth the effort.

Printed as Points to ponder: Help from parents, partners, and pals, Fall 2005

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Create An Emergency Action Plan

Despite your best efforts, there may be times when you experience a relapse into full-blown mania or severe depression. In crisis situations where your safety is at stake, your loved ones or doctor may have to take charge of your care. Such times can leave you feeling helpless and out of control, but having a crisis plan in place allows you to maintain some degree of responsibility for your own treatment.

A plan of action typically includes:

A list of emergency contacts for your doctor, therapist, and close family members.

A list of all medications you are taking, including dosage information.

Symptoms that indicate you need others to take responsibility for your care, and information about any other health problems you have.

Treatment preferences such as who you want to care for you, what treatments and medications do and do not work, and who is authorized to make decisions on your behalf.

Try Not To Make Assumptions

You might find yourself always looking out for signs that your friend, partner or family member is starting a bipolar episode. This is completely understandable. But this might not be the most helpful way to support them. You can:

  • Remember that it’s possible for anyone to display a range of emotions and behaviour, while still feeling stable overall.
  • Try not to assume that any change in mood is a sign that someone is unwell. If you’re not sure, talking to your friend or family member is the best way to check.

“If those around me are concerned about whether changes are symptomatic of relapse, I encourage them to ask, not assume.”

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Be Patient And Understanding

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.

What Is Bipolar Disorder

How to Help Someone with Bipolar Disorder Type 2

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a mental illness that causes extreme changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These changes affect the persons ability to carry out daily tasks. Bipolar disorder most often develops in older teenagers or young adults, and the average age of onset is 25 years. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 3 percent of adults in the United States have bipolar disorder.

There are six main types of bipolar disorder. While they have some similar symptoms, these symptoms differ in their severity and treatment. Here are the six types, ranging from the most severe to the least severe:

  • bipolar I disorder
  • substance/medication-induced bipolar and related disorder
  • bipolar and related disorder due to another medical condition
  • unspecified bipolar and related disorder

The main symptoms of bipolar disorder are intense emotional phases called mood episodes. These episodes can switch from extreme happiness or joy to deep sadness or hopelessness . Sometimes people with bipolar disorder experience both happiness and sadness at the same time .

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Ways To Show Up For A Friend With Bipolar Disorder

    If you have a friend with bipolar disorder, you may already know that this health condition can cause extreme fluctuations in mood and energy levels. But there are also a lot of myths and misconceptions about bipolar disorder. Because of that, showing up for your friend with bipolar disorder will likely require some greater understanding of the condition on your part.

    Judgment about mental health can be pervasive and harmful, and friends play an important role in providing support and kindness. A friend doesnt judge a friend in a way that triggers them to be their worst selves, Manpreet Singh, M.D., director of the Pediatric Mood Disorders Program at Stanford, tells SELF. A friend helps a friend be their best self.Here, mental health experts and a person with bipolar disorder share how you can be an excellent source of support to people with this mental health condition.

    Tip : Watch What You Put In Your Body

    From the food you eat to the vitamins and drugs you take, the substances you put in your body have an impact on the symptoms of bipolar disorderfor better or worse.

    Eat a healthy diet. There is an undeniable link between food and mood. For optimal mood, eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and limit your fat and sugar intake. Space your meals out through the day, so your blood sugar never dips too low. High-carbohydrate diets can cause mood crashes, so they should also be avoided. Other mood-damaging foods include chocolate, caffeine, and processed foods.

    Get your omega-3s.Omega-3 fatty acids may decrease mood swings in bipolar disorder. You can increase your intake of omega-3 by eating cold-water fish such as salmon, halibut, and sardines, soybeans, flaxseeds, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. Omega-3 is also available as a nutritional supplement.

    Avoid alcohol and drugs. Drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamines can trigger mania, while alcohol and tranquilizers can trigger depression. Even moderate social drinking can upset your emotional balance. Substance use also interferes with sleep and may cause dangerous interactions with your medications. Attempts to self-medicate or numb your symptoms with drugs and alcohol only create more problems.

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