Get Educated On Bipolar Disorder
People who have bipolar often deny that anythings wrong, and, frequently, they dont stay on their medications. Its important to learn about these and other nuances of the disorder. Fortunately, there are many resources available today, especially compared to 25 years ago, not the least of which is the internet. A national clothing store uses the slogan: An educated consumer is our best customer. To support your loved one, consider adopting a similar notion. An educated family member or friend is our best advocate and our greatest source of support.
Dont Discuss Their Conditions With Others
While this tip may not involve communicating with the person, its still important. When dealing with a family member with schizophrenia, it can be tempting to spill the beans or release your concerns or frustrations with others. However, this can quickly go south. A persons mental illness is a sensitive topic, and discussing their condition with others without their permission or knowledge can perpetuate harmful rumors and misconceptions.
Many people dont understand schizophrenia, so when they hear of the persons condition, they may treat them differently or say certain things that can be insensitive or hurtful. Unless they give your permission, ask you to, or if they bring up the conversation themselves, dont discuss your loved ones condition with other people.
Help Them Keep Up With Their Appointments
Staying on top of appointments and medication management are important when someones receiving treatment for bipolar. Just like you cant make someone receive treatment, you cant force them to go to appointments. What you can do is help them create a calendar of appointments and when to take their medications. You can also remind them of appointments and if they like maybe you can drive them or go with them if its something youre both comfortable with.
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Educate Yourself About Bipolar
Learn more about the array of bipolar symptoms and the different facets of its treatment. Dont be afraid to ask your friend if they are open to answering your questions. By showing a genuine interest to understand both your friend and the brain-based condition they live with, you can deepen your mutual sense of trust, safety, understanding, and connection.
Best For Education: The National Alliance On Mental Illness
The National Alliance On Mental Illness
The National Alliance On Mental Illness ;started in 1979 as a small grassroots group of people who all had family members with mental illness. Since then, they have grown into the nation’s largest mental health organization, helping hundreds of thousands of families.;
The alliance provides “advocacy, education, support, and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.”
NAMI tries to accomplish this mission by offering classes and training for people living with mental illnesses, their families, community members, and professionals.;
They also hold regular fundraising events for the organization and education, including Mental Illness Awareness Week and NAMIWalks. NAMI publishes a magazine around twice a year called;The Advocate, and they also run a toll-free HelpLine providing free information and support.
NAMI’s website provides extensive information about bipolar disorder. You can learn about symptoms, treatment options, and the latest research.;
Their “Discuss” section allows you to connect with other members. Forum topics include things such as “Coming Out With Bipolar Disorder,” “When Bipolar Comes For You,” and “Artist With Bipolar.”
NAMI offers a toll-free NAMI HelpLine for anyone seeking more information. It provides a Crisis Text line that allows anyone to connect with a trained crisis counselor for free.
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Ways To Help Your Bipolar Loved One Cope
Depression and bipolar disorder are often family diseases.
Everyone sharing a kitchen and a bathroom is affected. In fact, in his book Understanding Depression, J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., M.D., writes that depression has a much greater impact on marital life than rheumatoid arthritis or cardiac illness. One study found that only severe forms of cancer affected a family as adversely as depression or bipolar disorder.
My manic depression could have easily wrecked my marriage and my relationships with my two children. Instead, we emerged as a tighter, stronger unit. How? Here are eight ways Eric, my husband, helped me cope tips for families on how, exactly, to hang in there with a loved one who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
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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Getting Help For Bipolar Disorder
If you or a loved one has bipolar disorder, know that there is help available.
Here at Montare Behavioral Health, we can help diagnose and treat bipolar disorder, along with any other co-occurring conditions. Do not hesitate any longer, contact us today at Montare BH and allow our treatment staff to help you on the recovery journey.
Outline Benefits And Have A Plan Ready
As long as your loved one is still in a position to have a rational conversation about treatment, you can engage them and have a serious discussion. Talk about the benefits treatment could bring. For example, if your loved one is struggling to live the life they want to, talk about how treatment can help them make changes and set and achieve goals.
Hone in on specific things about their life that they dont like. Maybe your loved one has a hard time maintaining a long-term relationship or keeping a job they enjoy. Talk about how untreated bipolar disorder is probably getting in the way of achieving a healthy relationship and a rewarding career.
It also helps to have a plan already in place when you start this conversation. Be prepared with a few options for rehab, therapy, and treatment plans. This makes it easier for your loved one to take the concrete step to get help, but also gives them a choice and a say in where their treatment goes from here.
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Be Mindful Of Your Language
No, this isnt about cursing, but rather about using words like crazy, psycho, nuts, or cuckoo. So much of the prejudice that people have for those with mental disorders stem from the language people use to describe these individuals, as well as a lack of education on the topic. Its important to educate yourself on this condition and be mindful about the language you use around your loved one and when youre talking about them with others. Our jokes often stem from a place of truth, so be mindful of your words.
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.
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Educate Yourself About Bipolar Disorder
The more you know about bipolar disorder, the more youll be able to help your loved one. Learn about the symptoms and treatment options offered for this condition. Research various facilities and find out basic ways that you can help the individual when theyre experiencing a shift in mood. The more you know about this condition, the more youll know how to be there for someone with bipolar disorder.
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.
Get more help
DBSA Wellness Toolbox Resources to help keep track of your symptoms and progress.
Bipolar Self-help resources.
Hotlines and support
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Make An Emergency Plan
The most challenging aspect of bipolar disorder is its unpredictability. Its important to have an emergency plan set in place in case its needed when the person is experiencing severe mood episodes. This plan should include what to do and say if the person feels suicidal or if they physically get out of control. You should also have daily plans set in place that can help the person get through the anxiety and other challenges that may occur during the span between episodes. These plans can include coping mechanisms, things the person can do when they feel a shift in mood happening, or ways to complete chores and tasks when theyre feeling low in spirits.
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.
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Helpful Online Bipolar Disorder Support Groups
bphope.com;is the award-winning online community started by;bp Magazine;to increase awareness and provide hope and empowerment for the bipolar community. That also includes those living with the disorder along with their families, caregivers, and health-care professionals.
The site includes the latest news, research, and educational information for building a healthy lifestyle. It encourages stress reduction, exercise, sleep, treatment, relationships, and employment. It is full of inspirational features and profiles of real people with bipolar disorder.;
According to one of their subscribers, …bphope.com another part of my support networkas important to me as my family, friendsor even my doctor!
bphope.com is loaded with articles about symptoms and treatments. There is even an extensive section made just for kids, with various blogs and educational videos. There is also a Buzz section with the latest news, inspiration from real people experiencing bipolar disorder , and recommendations of movies and books dealing with the issue.
Throughout bphope.com, there are plenty of blogs and vlogs posted by their team of individuals sharing their unique perspectives on living with bipolar disorder.
If you cant find exactly what you are looking for in the Blogs and Peer Support section, these additional groups are available for anyone with a Facebook account.
When Someone Your Love Has Bipolar Disorder
If your loved one is struggling with bipolar disorder, you will notice certain symptoms. During mania, your loved one may have increased energy, be overly confident, speak rapidly, get distracted easily, and engage in riskier behavior. During the depression stage, your partner may experience extreme sadness, loss of energy, feelings of being worthless, social withdrawal, and suicidal thoughts.
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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.
Tip : Reach Out For Face
Having a strong support system is essential to staying happy and healthy. Often, simply having someone to talk to face-to-face can be an enormous help in relieving bipolar depression and boosting your outlook and motivation. The people you turn to dont have to be able to fix you; they just have to be good listeners. The more people that you can turn to who will be available and good listeners, the more likely you are to manage your moods.
Dont isolate! Support for bipolar disorder starts close to home. Its important to have people you can count on to help you through rough times. Isolation and loneliness can cause depression, so regular contact with supportive friends and family members is therapeutic in itself. Reaching out to others is not a sign of weakness and it wont make you a burden. Support for bipolar disorder starts close to home. Your loved ones care about you and want to help. In order to manage bipolar disorder, its essential that you have people you can count on to help you through rough times.
Join a bipolar disorder support group. Spending time with people who know what youre going through and can honestly say theyve been there can be very therapeutic. You can also benefit from the shared experiences and advice of the group members.
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Best For Variety: Healthfulchat
HealthfulChat;is an online support community that combines the philosophy of medical attention combined with peer support in illness, disorder, or condition, both physical and mental, to help make the healing process more attainable.
The three main avenues offered by HealthfulChat to reach this goal are its health-related chat rooms, forums, and social networks. HealthfulChat provides information on an array of illnesses and conditions, including bipolar disorder. You can meet, share, and support individuals from around the world.
HealthfulChat offers more than 40 chat rooms that allow you to have live conversations with other people, with a specific one for individuals with bipolar disorder. To join, choose a nickname, and begin chatting 24 hours a dayvolunteers moderate chat rooms.;
The site also provides a fun escape when you want to get your mind off of what ails you. There are off-topic chat rooms where you can discuss anything from sports trivia to philosophy.;
HealthfulChat also has the philosophy of offering its services without the pressure of having to pay a membership fee, so they rely heavily upon donations from those in their community who can afford to give.;
Bipolar 1 Disorder Vs Bipolar 2 Disorder
There are three types of bipolar depression. Bipolar 1 Disorder is characterized by manic episodes lasting seven days or more and depressive episodes lasting two weeks or more. Manic episodes may be severe enough to require hospitalization. For people who have Bipolar 1, its also possible for them to experience a mix of depressive and manic symptoms in rapid succession.
With Bipolar 2 Disorder, depressive episodes are broken up by episodes of hypomania. Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. Symptoms are milder and last for several days instead of a week or more.
Cyclothymic disorder is a rare mood disorder that causes emotional highs and lows that may go on for months at a time, but are not as severe as what happens with Bipolar 1 Disorder or Bipolar 2 Disorder.
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