Constructive Things To Try Before Saying Goodbye
There are several things you can try to preserve the relationship.
First, remember why youre in the relationship. You probably got involved with this person and picked this person because there are lots of things that you like and love about this person, said Dr. Saltz.
She suggested educating yourself about bipolar disorder to better understand the condition. It also helps to learn to recognize signs of depression or hypomania so that you can advise your partner to talk with their healthcare provider if needed.
Dr. Saltz also recommended encouraging your partner to continue treatment and taking any prescribed medications.
Sometimes, when people have been stable for a while, theyre sort of like, Oh, I dont think I need any of this anymore. Usually thats a bad idea, she said.
Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine, said that you can also support your partner by offering gentle, nonjudgmental supervision and guidance and encouraging healthy behaviors.
These behaviors include:
Additionally, he suggested that your partner identify three trusted people to check in with if theyre feeling off.
Let those people then provide an average sort of score, and say, Hey, yeah. You are a little hot-headed, or you are a little down, or whatever they may offer, he said.
Learn From Your Experience
The more experience someone has with something, the better they usually are at dealing with it. Treat every experience you have as a learning one. If you have made a lot of progress and then have an episode, dont think of it as taking a step back. Try and think of it as the next foot forward. For example, if you are hospitalized, try not to think about it as a disruption of your progress but rather a lesson about what triggers you to get to that stage. Think of it as having a toolbox, and each time something happens, take something from the experience and put in your toolbox for the next time you feel something coming over you. Its important to equip yourself with information and tools to manage your symptoms if and when they return. You cant always predict when these shifts in mood will happen, but you can predict how you will react.
Seeking Bipolar Disorder Treatment In New York Ny And Southbury Ct
If youre looking to partner up with a highly experienced psychiatrist for the effective management of your bipolar disorder, youre in good hands with Dr. Mark Stracks. He has been known for his calm and comforting demeanor as well as his extensive experience in treating patients with bipolar disorder using a customized approach.
At Psy-Visions, we deeply care about how well you are coping with your psychiatric condition. If you have questions or would like to make an appointment with Dr. Stracks, call 887-2918 in New York and 405-1745 in Connecticut or use our secure online request form.
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They Sometimes Consider Going Off Their Medication
This is not true for all individuals with bipolar disorder, but when the medications begin to work and stabilize the everyday experiences of the individual, it can take some time to adjust. The life of an individual with bipolar disorder is filled with extremes. When medications begin to remove some of those extremes, it may feel somewhat boring. This sensation typically passes as the individual realizes this is a healthier way of life, but before that realization can come, he or she may be tempted to return to the extremes.
Conditions That Can Co
Many people with bipolar disorder also may have other mental health disorders or conditions such as:
- Psychosis. Sometimes people who have severe episodes of mania or depression also have psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to match the persons extreme mood. For example:
- Someone having psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may falsely believe that he or she is famous, has a lot of money, or has special powers.
- Someone having psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may believe he or she is financially ruined and penniless or has committed a crime.
Some bipolar disorder symptoms are like those of other illnesses, which can lead to misdiagnosis. For example, some people with bipolar disorder who also have psychotic symptoms can be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. Some physical health conditions, such as thyroid disease, can mimic the moods and other symptoms of bipolar disorder. Street drugs sometimes can mimic, provoke, or worsen mood symptoms.
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Make Stress Reduction Part Of Your Routine
Consider some of these tools for reducing your stress:
- Start your day with a guided practice from a meditation app.
- Use breathing techniques throughout the day, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.
- Take regular breaks to stretch your body.
- Journal daily to process your feelings and explore what youre grateful for.
When stressors do occur, lean on your practices, along with your support system.
A Healthy Lifestyle And Effective Stress Management
Healthy living and managing stress are therefore very important. On this point, Dr. Nelson said that one thing that helps bipolar patients be at their best is a regular sleep schedule. Why? Because ensuring you get a good nights sleep, going to bed and waking at the same time, helps the bodys clock and allows the brain to work at its best.
Exercise is another critical component of effective stress management and a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Nelson named stress reduction, social support and a balanced life as some of the many self-care advantages that a fitness regimen can offer someone living with bipolar disorder.
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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.
Reach Out For Social Support
For any type of mental illness, getting support from others and being socially engaged is important for managing symptoms. Being social can also act as a preventative measure, reducing the risks of experiencing mood swings. Having people to turn to during a difficult time helps to manage bipolar disorder, but so does having a generally social lifestyle. It is important to engage with people for fun, for doing activities, but also specifically for bipolar support. Support groups can be a great way to socialize and to share experiences.
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Tips For Coping With Bipolar Disorder In The Family
Accept your loved ones limits. Your loved one with bipolar disorder cant control their moods. They cant just snap out of a depression or get a hold of themselves during a manic episode. Neither depression nor mania can be overcome through self-control, willpower, or reasoning. So telling your loved one to Stop acting crazy or to Look on the bright side wont help.
Accept your own limits. You cant rescue your loved one with bipolar disorder, nor can you force them to take responsibility for getting better. You can offer support, but ultimately, recovery is in the hands of the person with the illness.
Reduce stress. Stress makes bipolar disorder worse, so try to find ways to reduce stress in your loved ones life. Ask how you can help and volunteer to take over some of the persons responsibilities if needed. Establishing and enforcing a daily routinewith regular times for getting up, having meals, and going to bedcan also reduce family stress.
Communicate openly. Open and honest communication is essential to coping with bipolar disorder in the family. Share your concerns in a loving way, ask your loved one how theyre feeling, and make an effort to truly listeneven if you disagree with your loved one or dont relate to whats being said.
Supporting a person with bipolar disorder
What you can say that helps:
Coping With Bipolar Disorder
Living with bipolar disorder can be challenging, but there are ways to help make it easier for yourself, a friend, or a loved one.
- Get treatment and stick with itrecovery takes time and its not easy. But treatment is the best way to start feeling better.
- Keep medical and therapy appointments, and talk with the provider about treatment options.
- Take all medicines as directed.
- Structure activities: keep a routine for eating and sleeping, and make sure to get enough sleep and exercise.
- Learn to recognize your mood swings.
- Ask for help when trying to stick with your treatment.
- Be patient improvement takes time. Social support helps.
Remember, bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, but long-term, ongoing treatment can help control symptoms and enable you to live a healthy life.
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Why Does Someone Develop Bipolar Disorder
We do not know exactly what causes bipolar disorder. Researchers are finding out more about the disorder by studying it. This research may help doctors do a better job of treating people with bipolar disorder. It may also help doctors identify patterns of the illness in order to predict whether a person will get bipolar disorder or experience an episode.
Research through the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program at the University of Michigan Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg and Family Depression Center suggests that bipolar disorder has many causes. Although bipolar disorder tends to run in families, no one gene explains it.
Everyones experience with bipolar disorder is unique. But all of these experiences include features that fall into the following 7 classes of observable characteristics or phenotypes.
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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How Is Nimh Addressing Bipolar Disorder
The National Institute of Mental Health conducts and supports research on bipolar disorder that increases our understanding of its causes and helps develop new treatments. Researchers continue to study genetics and bipolar disorder, brain function, and symptoms in children and teens who have bipolar disorder, as well as family history in health and behavior.
Learn more about NIMHs research priorities and current studies.
How Does Bipolar Influence The Mind
A person living with bipolar disorder has their mind wired differently compared to someone without a mental illness. The chemical and biological makeup of someone living with bipolar disorder both influence a persons moods, energy level, motivation, inner dialogue, and ability to cope and handle stress and how they perceive reality.
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If Your Spouse Has Diagnosed Bipolar Disorder
Recurrent or extreme changes in mood can have a significant impact on the spouses of people living with bipolar disorder. There can be a level of unpredictability in the relationship that causes distress.
On the one hand, the partner experiencing the mood episode is affected by their symptoms, leading to changes in behavior and level of functioning. On the other hand, their spouse may feel responsible for their partner and the family, and may begin to feel burnt out.
These dynamics create challenges in marriages that can be difficult to overcome. Research indicates divorce rates are higher in couples in which one partner has the condition.
What Does It Mean For Our Marriage If My Spouse Has Bipolar Disorder
There are two answers to this question. If you spouse fully accepts the diagnosis and resolves to get treatment, you could begin working together and make the marriage stronger than ever. Many people with bipolar disorder have happy, successful marriages.
If, on the other hand, your spouse refuses treatment, you must learn to protect yourself from abuse. Abuse can take the form of
- Verbal abuse
- Financial abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
We offer a variety of resources to help those with bipolar disorder and their loved ones. One of these is our free e-book, Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder, which covers all of the basic information you need to know about bipolar. View a list of the rest of our programs here.
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What Is Treatment Like
Medications and psychotherapy provide the best results for bipolar disorder. Here is how Dr. Nelson explained it:
There are several medications that can alleviate symptoms and will be prescribed based on the presentation of symptoms that someone is experiencing. For example, a patient who has been depressed for many years, might have had an episode many years ago that was classified as mania but has only had depression since. A psychiatrist would need to evaluate this to see the best medication choice in that situation.
However, with bipolar disorder having the possibility of elevated moods, there are certain typical antidepressants that are not prescribed for a bipolar patient, because they can actually trigger manic episodes. This is why it is best to have a discussion with your healthcare provider and then see a licensed therapist and/or a psychiatrist, a medical doctor who specializes in mental disorders, to get the best and most effective treatment.
In addition to medication, working with a counselor, psychologist, or social worker, is also very beneficial, Dr. Nelson said. They can work with patients on coping skills, education, and support to help a patient to maximize their health and avoid difficulties that may make symptoms worse.
Considering Your Spouses Feelings
Compassion from both partners toward each other can go a long way in a marriage in which one spouse has bipolar disorder.
The partner with the condition may have feelings of guilt, shame, and fear because of the impact of a mood episode on the relationship. Meanwhile, the spouses partner may experience a range of emotions, including anxiety, resentment, loneliness, or feeling stuck.
Learning how to take care of themselves and support each other can strengthen the relationship.
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I See Manic Symptoms Being Praised In Our Work Culture
Im 31 years old and was diagnosed on the bipolar spectrum when I was 28. I specifically have Cyclothymia, a milder form of bi-polar. I worked in tech startups for the past 10 years and my manic tendencies earned me much praise and promotion in that stressful, 24/7 environment. For example, my ability to get angry about business setbacks showed how seriously I was taking my job and helped me develop camaraderie with my coworkers. For the first five years, I didnt seem to notice the pain. The high of success numbed me to the physical downsides I was experiencing. After my first major setback, the pain really set in. I wasn’t able to bounce back after a demotion. I struggled to work under a new authority figure and my bitter attitude kept me from thriving at the company. My sense of failure felt unbearable.
Bipolar I Disorder Is Often Accompanied By Other Illnesses
I never struggled with anxiety until my diagnosis of bipolar I. Since then I have had to deal with a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety, otherwise known as social phobia. Other issues that I have experienced due to my medication include major weight gain and weight loss at various stages of my life. Insomnia is a major factor that accompanies my daily struggles with bipolar I. I have also developed prediabetes.
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