Coping When A Loved One Has Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is unpredictable. Take it one day at a time. Healing doesnt happen overnight, and its completely normal to worry about your relative during their mania and depressive episodes. You may fear them making reckless or irresponsible decisions, and harming themselves during an emotional low.
Bipolar disorder can be a lifelong struggle. The more you learn about the condition, the easier itll be to offer support. People with bipolar disorder cannot control their emotions or moods. Remember, bipolar disorder isnt a sign of weakness. It is a mental illness. Avoid insensitive or negative comments like snap out of it, or get a grip.
Let them know youre there to help in any way you can. Offering practical assistance can reduce their stress level and help keep their emotions under control. For example, help out around their house or offer to research local support groups for them.
Other Bipolar Disorder Treatment
Most patients respond very well to medication and various psychotherapies but there are some outliers who dont respond as well, points out Dr. Narasimhan. In this case, you may want to explore other options.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Medication-resistant patients can benefit from other treatments such asTranscranial magnetic stimulation . This non-invasive treatment works by using magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain and improve depressive symptoms. The treatment delivers repetitive magnetic pulses via an electromagnetic coil placed against your scalp. Though the mechanism for how it works isnt well understood, its thought to impact how the brain works, which in turn can alleviate depressive episodes. TMS is well tolerated, doesnt include much downtime, and has only some side effects such as headache, tingling, and lightheadedness. There are some rare side effects such as seizure and hearing loss.
Lifestyle and Integrative Treatments
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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Bipolar Onset: Is Age Relevant
The median age of onset for bipolar disorder is 25 although it can start earlier and occur laterduring middle age. The same gender ratio holds true for bipolar in adolescentsthere are no appreciable differences in terms of population. As to symptom differences between age groups, however, adolescent bipolar disorder often varies from the adult in terms of intensity.
When the disorder is first developing, behavioral patterns can be more erratic. The bipolar adolescent, for example, will cycle from a state of excitement to depression more rapidly than the adult, who maintains the specific state for longer than a day . Age, then, is relevant only in terms of the disorders progression and not regarding gender or disparity in affliction.
How To Distinguish Bipolar Disorder From Other Conditions
Identifying bipolar disorder can be a little tricky because bipolar disorder symptoms are often fairly similar to the symptoms of other mental health conditions. It is most frequently confused with depression. However, depression rarely causes periods of hyper, excited, upbeat, or agitated behavior. Periods of mania might seem similar to ADHD, but ADHD tends to cause constant distractibility. Individuals with bipolar disorder are more at risk for impulsive behavior, so they may also deal with substance abuse from trying to self medicate with drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, the effects of a substance abuse disorder can mimic bipolar mood swings. Therefore, it can be hard to tell the difference between the two until after attending co-occurring rehabilitation services in MI for both disorders.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms To Watch For
Previously called manic depression, bipolar disorder causes shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and concentration. Everyone has shifts in mood sometimes, but the ones associated with bipolar disorder can be intense enough to interfere with a persons job, schooling, or relationships.
Bipolar disorder features episodes of mania cycling between states of depression.
During manic episodes, which can last days or even weeks, people can feel excited and full of energy as if they are on a high. During a manic episode, they may:
- Need less sleep
- Talk very fast
- Feel their thoughts are racing
- Do risky things that show poor judgment, such as give away a lot of money, gamble or drink alcohol excessively, or have reckless sex
Manic episodes look different in teens with bipolar disorder. Adolescents may act silly, but they also may be extremely irritable and experience outbursts of rage, explained Tanya Lewis, MD, child and adolescent psychiatrist and vice president of psychiatry at CarePlus NJ.
Once the manic episodes are over, people may crash into depression, Dr. Finch said. During these depressive episodes, people may:
- Feel very sad or indifferent
- Feel slowed down or hopeless
- Have trouble concentrating, making decisions or doing even simple things
Symptoms can vary from person to person, and there are even different kinds of bipolar disorder. The two main ones are bipolar disorder 1 and bipolar disorder 2 .
How Can I Help My Teen Live With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder has no cure. But over time, your teens symptoms will get better. Being supportive and patient can help. Here are things you can do to help:
Keep all appointments with your teens healthcare provider.
Take part in family therapy as needed.
Talk with your teens healthcare provider about other providers who will be involved in your teens care. Your teen may get care from a team that may include school staff, counselors, therapists, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Your teens care team will depend on his or her needs and how serious the depression is.
Tell others about your teens bipolar disorder. Work with your teens healthcare provider and schools to create a treatment plan.
Reach out for support. Being in touch with other parents who have a teen with bipolar disorder may be helpful. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed out, talk with your teens healthcare provider about a support group for caregivers of people with bipolar disorder.
Take all symptoms of depression, mania, and suicide very seriously. Get treatment right away. Suicide is a health emergency. Talk with your teens healthcare provider for more information. Find out who to contact, and what to do if your teen has suicidal thoughts. Have an emergency plan in place.
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What To Do Before Diagnosis
Before your diagnosis, you may experience rapidly changing moods and confusing emotions. It can be hard to describe exactly how you feel, but you may know that something isnt right.
Bouts of sadness and hopelessness can become intense. It can feel as if youre drowning in despair one moment, and then later on, youre optimistic and full of energy.
Low emotional periods arent uncommon from time to time. Many people deal with these periods due to everyday stresses. However, emotional highs and lows associated with bipolar disorder can be more extreme. You may notice a change in your behavior, yet youre powerless to help yourself. Friends and family may also notice changes. If youre experiencing manic symptoms, you may not see the need to get help from a doctor. You may feel great and not understand the concerns of those around you until your mood shifts again.
Dont ignore how you feel. See a doctor if extreme moods interfere with daily life or if you feel suicidal.
Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder In Children
Bipolar disorder isnt only an adult problem, it can also occur in children. Diagnosing bipolar disorder in children can be difficult because the symptoms of this disorder can sometimes mimic those of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder .
If your child is being treated for ADHD and their symptoms havent improved, talk to your doctor about the possibility of bipolar disorder. Symptoms of bipolar disorder in children can include:
- emotional outbursts
- periods of sadness
The criteria for diagnosing bipolar disorder in children is similar to diagnosing the condition in adults. Theres no particular diagnostic test, so your doctor may ask a series of questions about your childs mood, sleep pattern, and behavior.
For example, how often does your child have emotional outbursts? How many hours does your child sleep a day? How often does your child have periods of aggression and irritability? If your childs behavior and attitude are episodic, your doctor may make a bipolar disorder diagnosis.
The doctor may also ask about your family history of depression or bipolar disorder, as well as check your childs thyroid function to rule out an underactive thyroid.
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Supporting Someone You Care About With Bipolar Disorder
What Are The Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder In A Teen
Teens with bipolar disorder often have abnormal mood swings. They shift between depression and mania. These episodes often last 1 or 2 weeks. But symptoms may be different for each teen.
Symptoms of depression may include:
Lasting feelings of sadness
Uncharacteristically poor judgment
Seeing or hearing things that are not there , or believing things that are not true
Symptoms of bipolar disorder, especially in a teen, may look like other problems. Make sure your teen sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
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What Can I Do To Manage My Symptoms
You can learn to manage your symptoms by looking after yourself. Selfcare is how you take care of your diet, sleep, exercise, daily routine, relationships and how you are feeling.
What lifestyle changes can I make?
Making small lifestyle changes can improve your wellbeing and can help your recovery.
Routine helps many people with their mental wellbeing. It will help to give a structure to your day and may give you a sense of purpose. This could be a simple routine such as eating at the same time each day, going to bed at the same time each day and buying food once per week.
Your healthcare professionals should offer you a combined healthy eating, exercise and sleep programme.
You can find more information about wellbeing any physical health at:www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/living-with-mental-illness/wellbeing-physical-health/.
What are support groups?
You could join a support group. A support group is where people come together to share information, experiences and give each other support.
You might be able to find a local group by searching online. The charity Bipolar UK have an online support group. They also have face to face support groups in some areas of the country. Their contact details are in the Useful contacts at the bottom of this page.
What are recovery colleges?
Unfortunately, recovery colleges arent available in all areas. To see if there is a recovery college in your area you can use a search engine such as Google.
High Functioning Bipolar Disorder
High Functioning Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder diagnosed when an individual experiences manic highs and depressive lows in succession. These manic and depressive states will depend on the person who experiences them. High Functioning Bipolar Disorder describes someone who is naturally able to manage their symptoms well it does not describe the severity of their disorder. Someone with High Functioning Bipolar Disorder is still living with changes in mood and energy levels.
For instance, some people experience an intense high of productivity for 7-10 days, then fall into a depressive episode, characterized by difficulty even getting out of bed in the morning. Others have milder symptoms, with a week or two of improved mood and positivity, followed quickly by a week or two of depressed mood and increased negativity.
Bipolar disorder only qualifies as such if the highs and lows are beyond the scope of what would be considered a normal shift in perspective from week to week or day today. And, episodes are outside of the patients control. If, for instance, you find yourself experiencing these shifts in mood, but you are effectively able to reason yourself into a more neutral middle ground, you might have High Functioning BD.
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How Do I Get Help If I Think I Have Bipolar Disorder
The usual first step to getting help is to speak to your GP.
It can help to keep a record of your moods. This can help you and your GP to understand your mood swings. Bipolar UK have a mood diary and a mood scale on their website. You can find their details in the Useful contacts section at the bottom of this page.
Your GP cant diagnose bipolar disorder. Only a psychiatrist can make a formal diagnosis. Your GP may arrange an appointment with a psychiatrist if you have:
- depression, and
- ever felt very excited or not in control of your mood or behaviour for at least 4 days in a row.
They might refer you to a psychiatrist at your local NHS community mental health team .
Your GP should make an urgent referral to the CMHT if they think that you might have mania or severe depression. Or there is a chance that you are a danger to yourself or someone else.
Your GP should refer you to your local NHS early intervention team if you have an episode of psychosis and its your first one.
Bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose because it affects everyone differently. Also, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be experienced by people who have other mental illness diagnoses. It can take a long time to get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
You can find more information about:
- NHS mental health teams by clicking here.
When Should I Call My Teens Healthcare Provider
Feels extreme depression, fear, anxiety, or anger toward him or herself or others
Feels out of control
Hears voices that others dont hear
Sees things that others dont see
Cant sleep or eat for 3 days in a row
Shows behavior that concerns friends, family, or teachers, and others express concern about this behavior and ask you to seek help
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Go To Couples Counseling
Couples counseling is essential for working through upset over a bipolar partners actions. Its common for someone with bipolar disorder to hurt and offend their partner. When someone is first diagnosed, there are often relationship issues that need to be addressed. Couples counseling can help you:
- Understand that theres an illness involved in the hurtful behavior.
- Forgive the behavior that happened during an altered mood state.
- Set boundaries with a partner about maintaining treatment.
Understand Sexual Health Issues
Understanding what can happen as a result of sexual activities is important, as it relates to events that may be unintended, such as an unplanned pregnancy.
This is especially important during periods of hypersexuality.
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Maintain A Regular Eating And Sleeping Schedule
When youre living with bipolar disorder, having structure in your daily life is vital. This includes following a healthy diet and avoiding caffeine and sugary foods that could affect your mood.
Getting enough regular sleep can also help you avoid manic or depressive episodes. In addition, it can help reduce the severity of any episodes that do occur.
What Does It Mean If Your Partner Is Bipolar
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition marked by intense mood changes. People with the illness switch back and forth from mania or hypomania to having episodes of depression.
The lifelong condition tends to run in families, although the cause of bipolar disease is unknown. However, it can often be successfully managed through treatment. There are two primary types of bipolar disorder:
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What To Expect After Bipolar Disorder Treatment
Recognizing the symptoms early and treating it promptly is necessary to prevent complications such as suicide, homicide and addictions.
Some lifestyle modifications are important in managing bipolar disorder:
- Treatment compliance is of utmost importance for the patient as well as the caregivers.
- Always follow a routine for sleep and meals.
- Talk to your family and friends and ask for their support.
- Try connecting with other patients and caregivers through social groups.
- Talk to a licensed medical practitioner about your symptoms.