6 Tips To Help A Bipolar Loved One
December 28, 2017 15:46 By Fabiosa
There are four main types of the disorder that are different in severity and some specific symptoms. People with bipolar disorder usually have the same general symptoms, but everyone who is affected experiences it differently. Anyone who knows about bipolar disorder also knows that dealing with episodes of the condition is no walk in the park. When a person is having a manic or depressive episode, this state can affect people around him or her. If someone close to you has bipolar disorder, your job is to try to keep him or her grounded and show that you care.
Here are some tips to keep in mind if your loved one is bipolar:
Learn more about the disorder
Look for information about bipolar disorder from reliable resources, such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and American Psychiatric Association. Reading firsthand accounts from people living with bipolar disorder in books, articles, and blogs can help you better understand what your loved one is going through.
Keep your loved one’s treatment in check
Treatment usually helps reduce frequency and severity of manic and depressive episodes. Make sure your loved one takes medicines exactly as prescribed (it may take some convincing). If he or she doesn’t mind, you can accompany the person to therapy sessions. You don’t have to be present at the sessions, you can wait outside.
Listen, but don’t judge
It may be hard to follow what someone is saying during a manic episode. The person can change the topic of the conversation multiple times and not be able to catch up with his or her own thoughts. During a depressive episode, the person may be reluctant to talk at all. But when your loved one is willing to talk, listen to him or her patiently. Be it grandiose ideas during a manic episodes or self-deprecation during episodes of depression, don’t disregard what your loved one is saying. If he or she has dangerous or irrational ideas, attempts to talk your loved one out of them may be futile. If the person is hallucinating, delusional, or is intending self-harm, emergency medical help is needed.
Don’t take their words to heart
Someone who is having an episode may say things that sound insensitive and hurtful. Try not to be offended by these words, because he or she probably doesn’t mean it and would never say it when symptom-free.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself
Have you heard about “putting on your own oxygen mask first before helping others”? It’s important to stick to your own schedule as well as you can when caring for someone who is having an episode. Get enough sleep, eat well, and take time to relax, so you’ll have the energy to help your loved one when he or she needs it.
Remember: bipolar disorder is nobody’s fault
It’s still not clear why some people develop bipolar disorder. What is clear, though, is that the disorder isn’t caused by something that the person or someone close to him or her did. Medicines and therapy usually help improve the symptoms of the condition, and the support of family and friends can help the treatment work better. Do what you can to help your loved one get through an episode and enlist the help of other relatives, friends, and mental health professionals.
This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.