Managing Bipolar Disorder

Posted on June 1, 2023

depressed patient with bipolar disorder speaking with a doctor

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme swings in mood from emotional highs (mania or hypomania) to lows (depression). According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), 2.6% of Americans over the age of 18 (about 5.7 million people) are affected by bipolar illness, with 25 being the median age of onset of the condition. Even though no cure exists for bipolar disorder, the condition can be managed with behavior therapy, mood stabilizers, and other bipolar medicines. In other words, anyone with the condition can control bipolar disorder and live a productive life.

What Is Living With Bipolar Disorder Like?

Living with bipolar disorder can be a challenging experience since the condition affects mood, energy levels, and behavior, often causing extreme shifts between periods of mania and depression.

During manic episodes, people with bipolar disorder may feel:

  • Elated
  • Energetic
  • Restless
  • Anxious and have racing thoughts
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Impulsive
  • Risky
  • Difficulty focusing

These intense feelings can be exciting at first, but can quickly become overwhelming and lead to negative consequences.

On the other hand, during depressive episodes, individuals with bipolar disorder may feel:

  • Extremely sad
  • Hopeless
  • Exhausted
  • Fatigued or have insomnia
  • Irritable
  • Anxious
  • Suicidal
  • Compelled to self-harm

It can be difficult to manage bipolar disorder, but there are ways to cope and live a fulfilling life. Treatment may involve a combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and support from loved ones.

Tips for Managing Bipolar Disorder

Someone with bipolar can also incorporate several self-help techniques into their life to further manage their condition. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Identifying warning signs. Individuals with bipolar disorder may experience warning signs before an episode. These signs may include changes in mood, sleep patterns, or behavior. Identifying warning signs can help individuals take action before symptoms worsen. Keeping a mood diary can help track symptoms and identify warning signs.
  • Sticking to a routine. Establishing a daily routine can help individuals with bipolar disorder manage their symptoms. A regular sleep schedule, healthy eating habits, and exercise routine can help regulate the body’s internal clock and promote stable moods. Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Managing and avoiding stress. Stressful situations can trigger bipolar symptoms. Learning to manage stress can be an essential part of managing bipolar disorder. Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation can help individuals remain calm and reduce stress.
  • Exercising. Physical activity has been shown to have many benefits for mental health, including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, improving sleep, and boosting self-esteem and overall well-being. Exercise can also help to regulate mood and energy levels. Regular physical activity can help to reduce symptoms of both mania and depression by providing an outlet for excess energy during manic episodes and boosting mood during depressive episodes.
  • Eating a healthy diet. Research has shown that there is a link between diet and mental health and that a healthy diet can help to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. In particular, a diet that is rich in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins and low in processed and sugary foods has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. Eating a healthy diet can provide a sense of control and self-care, which can be particularly important for individuals with bipolar disorder who may struggle with feelings of helplessness or instability.
  • Talking about bipolar disorder. Sharing experiences and feelings with trusted individuals can provide a sense of relief and support. Talking openly about bipolar disorder can also help create a supportive and understanding environment for individuals living with the condition. Additionally, sharing your experiences and hearing from others who have similar experiences can help people with bipolar gain insight and strategies for coping with symptoms and maintaining stability.
  • Maintaining a support network of friends and family. Living with bipolar disorder can be challenging, but individuals do not have to face it alone. Seeking support from family, friends, or support groups can provide a sense of community and reduce isolation. Additionally, talking to a therapist or psychiatrist can help people with the disorder manage symptoms and develop coping strategies.
  • Practicing self-care is an essential part of managing bipolar disorder. Engage in activities that bring joy, such as hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or practicing a new skill.
  • Taking medications as prescribed. Medications are a crucial part of bipolar disorder treatment. Individuals should take their medications as prescribed, even if they feel better. Skipping doses or stopping medication suddenly can lead to a relapse or worsening symptoms. If side effects are severe, talk to a doctor or psychiatrist.
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs. Alcohol and drugs can worsen symptoms of bipolar disorder. Individuals with bipolar disorder should avoid alcohol and drugs, including over-the-counter medications, without consulting a doctor or psychiatrist.

We Help Individuals Manage Bipolar & Live Happy, Productive Lives

It is possible to stabilize bipolar with the right combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. The sooner someone seeks help to manage bipolar, the better. Let us help you or someone you know manage bipolar disorder. Our center was created to offer a safe, welcoming, and nurturing environment where everyone is supported and embraced. Contact us today to learn more.

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