Find What Works For You
King finds relief through self-reflection, frequent exercise, multiple hobbies, and having creative outlets. For Ayetoro, journaling and deep breathing practices help to bring her peace. Most people we interviewed are thankful for taking medication.
But what works for one person may not work for the next.
Howard encourages folks to try different things and not be afraid to fail. Every failed coping skill attempt gets you closer to what will work.
Consider combining these approaches for a more holistic treatment plan. Speak with a mental health professional to figure out what might work best for you.
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.
If Your Friend Seems In Danger Be There For Them Be Transparent About Your Concerns And Seek Emergency Medical Attention If Necessary
When youre doing your research about bipolar disorder, make sure to learn the signs that your friend needs urgent mental health attention. That can include talk of suicide or death-related thoughts.
If you feel like your friend is in crisis, use reassuring language such as Im here. I care. I want to help. How can I help you? or Your life is valuable and worthwhile, even if it doesnt feel that way right now, says Dr. Singh.
Ultimately, though, you should recognize that you cant handle this kind of situation alone. If your friend is suicidal, in extreme emotional distress, or otherwise making you fear for their health, call 911 or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. The lifeline is free and available 24/7. It may also be necessary to contact your friends family, Bolton says.
Dont let fear that your friend will be upset stop you from seeking help. If you are getting to the point that you feel your friend needs to be safe, previous boundaries that were held in your relationship may need to be violated, says Bolton. Yes, your friend might be angry, but what matters most in this situation is their safety.
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Discuss Behaviour You Find Challenging
- If someone is hearing or seeing things you don’t, they might feel angry, annoyed or confused if you don’t share their beliefs. It’s helpful to stay calm, and let them know that, although you don’t share the belief, you understand that it feels real for them. Or, if possible, try to focus on supporting them with how they are feeling rather than confirming or challenging their perception of reality – what feels real for them is real in those moments.
- If someone becomes very disinhibited while manic, they may do things that feel embarrassing, strange or upsetting to you. It can be helpful to calmly discuss your feelings with them when they are feeling more stable. Try not to be judgemental or overly critical focus on explaining how specific things they’ve done make you feel, rather than making general statements or accusations about their actions.
“What feels real is real for him in that moment. It helps when I respect that and comfort him rather than trying to explain it’s not ‘real’ for everyone else.”
Are Your Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Under Control
- But hypomania inevitably leads to depression. And if left untreated, symptoms may grow more extreme, evolving into bipolar I.
6 Warning Signs of Mania1. Unusually upbeat, outgoing or irritable mood
A person whos usually a reasonable individual may suddenly become impossible to live with, Dr. Galynker explains.2. Racing thoughts and speed-talkingBesides speaking quickly and jumping between ideas, a person in a manic phase may also be easily distracted one reason mania is sometimes mistaken for ADHD.Unfortunately, the primary treatment for ADHD is stimulants, which can trigger severe symptoms in someone with bipolar disorder, Last says.To avoid a misdiagnosis of ADHD, mental health professionals analyze how behavior has changed: Bipolar disorder is episodic, while adult ADHD usually continues from childhood.3. Boundless energyThe extremely energetic behavior common in the manic phase often leads to rushing around and taking on new projects, however ill-advised. If the sufferer is also easily distracted, hell jump to new tasks before completion, Dr. Galynker says.
Persuading Your Partner to Seek TreatmentPeople with manic depression may not realize how sick they are. So if your mate is showing signs of bipolar disorder, overcoming denial and convincing him or her to see a mental health professional can be difficult.Dr. Galynker recommends the following steps:
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Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene
Sleep is one of the most important factors in coping with bipolar disorder. This means going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time, even on the weekends.
It is a good idea to avoid caffeine in the afternoon and stay away from screens before bed. That way, people can fall asleep more easily.
Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest triggers of manic and depressive episodes. If people with bipolar disorder are able to avoid sleep deprivation, they may be able to reduce the frequency of their episodes.
Stay Away From Platitudes
After all, if someone could calm down or cheer up, they would, right? People cant simply snap out of it or choose to be happy, no matter how well-intentioned your advice might be, Dr. Singh says. Its hard to know how to react but platitudes end up antagonizing people more than they actually help.
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Brain Structure And Function
Researchers are learning that the brain structure and function of people with bipolar disorder may be different from the brain structure and function of people who do not have bipolar disorder or other psychiatric disorders. Learning about the nature of these brain changes helps doctors better understand bipolar disorder and may in the future help predict which types of treatment will work best for a person with bipolar disorder. At this time, diagnosis is based on symptoms rather than brain imaging or other diagnostic tests.
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.
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Learn Their Warning Signs And Triggers
- Most people will have some warning signs that they are about to experience an episode of mania or depression. The best way to learn what these are for your friend or family member is to talk to them about these and explore together what they might be. If you have noticed certain behaviours that normally happen before an episode, you can gently let them know.
- Many people will also have triggers, such as stress, which can bring on an episode. You can try to understand what these triggers are for your friend or family member, 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.”
No Two People Experience Bipolar Disorder In The Exact Same Way
How bipolar episodes cycle and present for an individual depends on all kinds of things, Dr. Galynker says. It depends on the person, age, illness severity, which medications they are being treated with now, which medications they were treated with previously, whether they are taking their medicationsall sorts of factors.
So, as you can imagine, bipolar disorder can be very complex to treat and manage. Part of what makes for successful treatment is keeping open and regular communication between a patient and their doctor, he notes.
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What Have You Learned As A Result Of Your Experiences
Living with bipolar, often for years, teaches you a lot about yourself, about mental health services, about medicationand sadly often about stigma, shame, and discrimination.
Id say for me it was a key driver for learning about mebut also a red herring as I feel I vested too much of my own identity in clinging to the life-raft of the diagnosis as an explanation of my life in my early 20sagain though, there are a range of perspectives:
Brian talks of the possibility of recovery:
Despite what others may tell you, or what you might believe, recovery is possible. I never thought I could be a worthwhile human being and have something meaningful to offer.
That’s just illness speak and the effects of learned stigma. It doesn’t need to be that way.
Anna points to learning about what is important in life:
I have learnt that I am more resilient than I could have ever imagined. I have discovered that there is more to life than getting a degree or a good job. I have learnt that I have amazing friends who never stopped believing in me, even when I couldn’t believe in myself.
Hannah draws on a theme park analogy to talk about assembling your team of helpers:
I feel like I’m riding a constant rollercoaster of moods. There are people who are too scared to come to the theme park, those that will hop on rides with you and those that watch sensibly in awe and sickness from a distance minding your bags.
All of those people have a valid and useful part to play in your life.
Whats A Loved One To Do About Bipolar Treatment Refusal
And sometimes, when faced with this wall of reasons not to get treatment, it can seem absolutely hopeless to get the person to see reason. But heres the thing, this wall of reasons basically comes down to only one thing: fear. And bipolar education creates knowledge and that knowledge dispels fear.
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Patients: Don’t Hide Symptoms From Your Doctor
Did you know that it takes an average of nine to 10 years for people to be properly diagnosed with bipolar disorder? There are two big reasons for this. One is that doctors miss the diagnosis all too frequently, even when hypomanic symptoms are brought to their attention. The other is the failure of patients to report symptoms.
More often than not, it is depression symptoms that send people to see a psychiatrist or other therapist. You may have viewed past hypomanic symptoms as just “not depressed,””feeling like a normal person” or “feeling good.”
If you respond to antidepressant therapy, you may think, “Wow, it’s working” and not recognize that you’ve gone into a hypomanic state . But if you don’t relate your behaviors to your doctor when you’re “feeling good,” he or she may not realize you’ve gone too far in the opposite direction from depression until the symptoms escalate into serious problems.
Anything That Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger
Yes, it’s true that some people go through difficult experiences, learn from them, and come out of them stronger. But this phrase is wrongbipolar disorder can kill. At least 25% to 60% of people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide and between 4% and 16% die from suicide.
Leave this cliche out of your repertoire. If you have a friend or family member with bipolar disorder, be aware that they might go into a crisis and need your support.
If you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
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Patients: Stop Damaging Your Body
There are some dangers inherent in bipolar disorder that make it more likely you’ll do harmful things to yourself or be intimidated into letting medical personnel give you inadequate or even improper treatment. It’s up to you to take action about these issues. Understand why they happen and what you need to do, with insights from others to help you.
What If Im Not Happy With My Treatment
If you arent happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
- ask for a second opinion,
- get an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service , or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
How can I speak to my doctor about my treatment options?
You can speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you arent happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.
Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you arent given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it isnt suitable for you.
Whats a second opinion?
A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.
You dont have a right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.
What is advocacy?
An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like. NHS complaints advocates can help you if you want to complain about the NHS.
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I Wish I Was Manic So I Could Get Things Done
That’s not all there is to mania. There are many symptoms of mania, and comments like this not only trivialize a person’s experience with mania but also demonstrate a harmful lack of understanding of what mania actually is. While a person may indeed have a lot of energy during a manic episode, they can also experience racing thoughts, trouble sleeping, and impulsive behavior among other challenges.
Make A Plan For Manic Episodes
When your friend or family member is feeling well, try talking to them about how you can support them if they have a hypomanic or manic episode. This can help both of you feel more stable and in control of what’s happening. You could discuss ideas such as:
- enjoying being creative together
- offering a second opinion about projects or commitments, to help someone not take on too much
- if they would like you to, helping to manage money while they are unwell
- helping them keep a routine, including regular meals and a good sleep pattern
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You Cant Simply Snap Out Of A Mood Episode
If someone is already in a full mania/hypomania or depression, medication is needed to treat symptoms. One cannot pull themself out of a mood episode, Dr. Galynker says. Sometimes people will have this awareness that they are in or near an episode, but not all the time depending on the persons own level of awareness and familiarity with their symptoms as well as the severity, he saysand this may affect whether or not they have the awareness to then take their medication.
Some medications for bipolar disorder can treat mania, hypomania, and depression, while other drugs only treat certain episode types or combinations. Some medications can prevent symptoms from becoming a full episode if taken in time.
In many cases, a person will exhibit similar early signs when a mood episode is coming on, Dr. Galynker says . So ideally a person is somewhat familiar with those initial symptoms and can recognize them and implement the appropriate treatment before they tip into a full episode.
Like all of us, for a person with bipolar, their mood can change before theyre necessarily even aware of it. We call this insightdo you have insight that youre not behaving and thinking in your normal, healthy fashions? Dr. Marsh explains. Level of insight is very variable, but it tends to be that people who have insight during their early episodes keep that insight, and those who dont have that insight are less likely to have it moving forward, she says.
Sobering Advice For You When Your Bipolar Husband Or Wiferesists Getting Help
It’s frustrating and at times frightening, but, nonetheless, it’s true. If your husband or wife is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he or she may resist getting professional help. When they’re depressed, they don’t believe help is possible. And when they’re in a manic state, they often get irritated or offended when you suggest it. It’s not easy being in a bipolar relationship, so here’s some information for you to think about.
Some bipolar people refuse treatment their entire lives. Others resist at first, but ultimately acknowledge that they cannot control this illness by themselves. The reasons they most often cite are fear, mistrust and denial. But as a caring spouse, for you it boils down to this:
If your spouse doesn’t want treatment, there are only two circumstances in which help can be forced upon him. First, if your bipolar husband or wife presents an imminent health and safety danger to himself or, second, to others. Otherwise, he or she cannot be forced into treatment or “committed” to mental hospital.
This is the bitter medicine that you, as the well wife or husband, must take when you watch someone you love self-destruct. The hard truth is, you can’t override your bipolar spouse’s decisions for himselfas much as you might want to. And your spouse doesn’t have to listen to you, as much as you may think that what you’re telling him is for his own good.
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