November 21, 2022

Coping With Bipolar Disorder

Everybody goes through times of great joy, sadness, or anger, and everyone has to deal with life’s difficulties. However, for people who suffer from bipolar disorder, the manifestation of these emotions can be magnified, even excessive. And often, these behavioral changes can scare the heck out of loved ones who have no idea what is happening or why.

Bipolar disorder is a treatable mental health condition. Formerly known as manic-depression, bipolar disorder is marked by dramatic shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. People with this disorder typically swing between intense episodes of mania and depression.

The Risk Factors For Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder affects 2.6% of American adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. 

The first symptoms typically appear in the late teens or early adult years, though some people may develop the disorder in childhood or later. 

Researchers are still exploring the causes of the disease, but they believe that both genetic and environmental factors are responsible. 

Children who have a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder have an elevated risk of developing the disease. Still, most people with a family history of bipolar disorder will not develop the disease.

The Signs and Symptoms

It’s normal to experience ups and downs, especially if something has happened to make you feel happy or sad. Some people are moodier than others, or just more open about their feelings—and that’s okay. But if your mood swings start to get in the way of your daily life, you might wonder if you actually have bipolar disorder.

The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder are varied. Many of these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, making this condition hard to diagnose. Only a mental health professional can make a diagnosis.

The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder are varied, but the disorder always includes manic states and depressive states.

Common signs of a manic state:

  • Feeling extremely happy
  • Talking faster than is normal
  • Feeling agitated
  • Overconfidence
  • Decreased sleep
  • Irritability
  • Racing thoughts
  • Behaving impulsively
  • Engaging in high-risk behaviors, such as reckless driving, gambling or excessive spending

Signs of a depressive state:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Irritability
  • Low self-esteem
  • Abandoning favorite activities
  • Having difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Experiencing unusual sleep habits such as sleeping too much or too little
  • Thinking about death or suicide

How Counseling Can Help

With treatment and through their own efforts, people with bipolar disorder can live rewarding lives. 

Treatment for bipolar disorder usually includes a variety of strategies to manage the disease over the long term. Medications are typically an essential part of treatment. Those medications may include mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medications or antidepressants. Such medications usually need to be taken daily and regularly to be effective.

Counseling is often an essential part of treatment. Researchers reviewed numerous studies of bipolar disorder treatment and they found that when psychotherapy is used with medication, it can significantly reduce rates of relapsing into manic and depressive states and improve overall functioning and well-being. 

Counselors can help people with bipolar disorder recognize and manage symptoms of the disease, change negative thought patterns and behaviors, manage daily routines, and improve relationships with family and friends. 

Also, therapist-led interventions such as family-focused treatments can also help the relatives of people with bipolar disorder learn strategies for helping their loved ones.

Self-Help Strategies

If you’re diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it’s really important to work with a mental health professional rather than try to manage the condition independently. However, research has shown that self-help strategies planned with your mental health practitioner can make a huge difference in managing your bipolar disorder.

You can try a variety of various tactics to see if they can assist you to manage your mood daily.

Stick to a routine. A routine might make you feel more in control of your emotions overall and can make you feel more driven or calm depending on your mood. 

Monitor your mood. Keep a daily journal of your mood, taking into account any potential mood-influencing elements like sleep, medicine, and life events. You could try noting down mood patterns in a diary or on your phone. The Remble app has a journal function you can use.

Recognize your triggers. Understanding what can cause fluctuations in your mood may prove helpful. Different folks have different triggers. Several instances include:

  • Being overburdened or overworked
  • Tense situations
  • Events that are significant in life, such as marriage, having a kid, or losing a loved one
  • Times of transition or uncertainty
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Other ailments, physical or mental
  • Alterations or issues with your bipolar treatment

Get good sleep. Sleep cycle disruptions can affect circadian rhythms and have a detrimental effect on mood. Prepare yourself for good sleep by reducing caffeine and alcohol, keeping a regular sleep and wake schedule, and avoiding checking email or watching digital media in bed.

Build a strong support network. Your close friends can assist you in managing your daily symptoms by objectively assessing your mood. Additionally, they can be there for you if you need to chat about your most trying times.

Sign up for a support group. Hearing from others who are going through similar circumstances can be quite comforting. Support groups can be a tremendous source of guidance and solace. On the ReachOut Forums, you could potentially have a private conversation with other young people.

Get regular activity. Exercise regularly is beneficial for managing mood.

Enjoy some downtime. Stress can be decreased by relaxing.

Avoid using drugs and alcohol. These may worsen our moods. Alcohol and drugs might be particularly risky if you're taking medication. Speak with your doctor or psychiatrist.

Prepare in advance for a crisis. It might be challenging to communicate to others what kind of support you would find most useful when you're in a crisis. Making a plan for how you want to be treated when you're ill can be helpful while you're healthy.

The Good News

Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder may come as a shock. But the disease is treatable, and a health professional can help you decide upon the best course of treatment and support.

Talk to a healthcare professional if you wonder whether you or someone close to you is suffering from bipolar disorder.

Struggling with relationship issues and feeling lost for direction?

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