Helping a Loved One with Bipolar Disorder

Helping a Loved One with Bipolar Disorder

Watching someone you love struggle with a mental health challenge like bipolar disorder can be a heartbreaking experience. If a family member or friend has this lifelong condition, they can certainly benefit from your continued love and support. 

But because of the nature of bipolar disorder symptoms, it can be difficult to know how to offer that support.

At Revolution Psychiatric and Addiction Treatment, we offer general psychiatry and NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) infusions to address a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Board-certified psychiatrist Richard E. Repass, MD, specializes in innovative infusion therapies and psychological counseling services to support you and your loved one’s overall well-being. 

Dr. Repass works closely with you to find the best course of action for treatment and also provides supportive resources that make it easier to cope with the impact bipolar has on you and your family members.

Understanding bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a chronic condition that causes severe mood swings that range from extreme highs (mania) to extreme lows (depression).

During manic episodes, a person feels unstoppable, full of energy, and restless. They may not need a lot of sleep and might also engage in risky or reckless behaviors.

The depressive episodes that follow a manic one cause the person to feel persistent sadness, hopelessness, and guilt. In addition to a low mood, depressive cycles can also cause severe fatigue that makes it difficult to do any activities.

The extreme mood changes of bipolar disorder can make it a challenge for people to meet their responsibilities and care for themselves. Mood swings can also be difficult to manage for the loved ones of those with bipolar disorder, but there are strategies you can use to be supportive.

Ways to support someone with bipolar disorder

Here are four strategies you can use to be a support system to a friend or family member diagnosed with bipolar disorder:

Learn all you can about the condition

Educating yourself about the effects of bipolar disorder on an individual’s life can increase your compassion for their situation. You also gain new insight into how you can best support your loved one in their daily life.

Practice patience

It’s certainly not easy to watch someone go through dramatic mood shifts, and you may find yourself losing patience with their manic behaviors or their tendencies to self-isolate.

Invest in your own self-care, so you have more patience to tend to your loved one’s needs.

Stay in the know about treatments

If you’re caring for a family member with bipolar disorder, remain in the loop about their treatment plan. Sometimes people stop taking their medications or attending therapy sessions when they start to feel better.

You can help by encouraging them to stay on track with their treatment and follow-up appointments.

Become a good listener

Let your loved one know that you’re available when they need someone to lean on or encouragement to stay strong.  Listen more than you talk, so they feel like someone truly hears them.

Because those with bipolar disorder can easily feel like a burden or a bother to others, it can be beneficial if you remind them that you’re happy to be on their support team and will do what you can to help.

We can also help. Call us at Revolution Psychiatric and Addiction Treatment in Mercer Island, Washington, today to schedule a diagnostic evaluation for bipolar disorder symptoms.

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