Coping with Bipolar Disorder

Instructor: Emily Cummins
In this lesson, we'll talk about how to cope with the condition known as bipolar disorder, a mood disorder characterized by severe swings in mood. We'll talk about coping strategies for patients and family members.

Bipolar Disorder

Most of us experience changes in our mood. Sometimes, we might feel a little bit blue. Other times, we might feel happy, or even elated. These kinds of changes in mood are normal and expected parts of our day. But sometimes mood swings are so pronounced that they begin to interfere with our day to day lives. Severe mood swings are part of a condition known as bipolar disorder. This is a mood disorder that involves episodes of depression, or feeling very low, and episodes of mania, or feeling elated or agitated, often with excess energy.

We should note that there are two types of Bipolar disorder: Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Bipolar I is more severe, and involves what we call a manic break, which means episodes of mania that seriously interfere in a patient's life. Patients with Bipolar II experience what is known as hypomania, which is less severe and disrupts a patient's life to a lesser degree. In either case, patients generally require treatment by a professional. But there are methods patients can use to cope with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder that might compliment therapeutic intervention. Let's talk about some of the coping methods patients can use.

Living With Bipolar Disorder

If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may be left wondering how to go about your day to day life while managing this condition. To begin with, the Mayo Clinic suggests that you educate yourself on the nature of the disease. It might help you to understand the details of your condition. Support groups can also be very helpful in coping with this disorder. It can help to talk to people who are going through the same thing as you are. Some studies also suggest that exercise might be an effective way to combat bipolar disorder, depressive episodes in particular. It might also be useful to practice meditation or yoga.

Personal responsibility is also key to managing bipolar disorder. It can be very difficult to live with the condition but it's important to do everything in our power to effectively manage it. This means doing things like taking prescribed medications exactly as directed by a doctor and avoiding drugs and alcohol. They can make symptoms of bipolar worse and they can also interfere with medication.

Daily routines can be helpful in managing bipolar disorder. It's important to get enough rest, eat well, and maintain balance in your life. If your routine is seriously thrown off, this can negatively impact our mood. It is important to listen to signs that our symptoms may be worsening. Things like changes in sleep and an increased feeling of anxiety can be a sign that we should talk to a professional to avoid a major manic or depressive episode.

Coping With Family Member's Bipolar Disorder

What should you do if a friend or family member is struggling with bipolar disorder? Let's talk about some of the coping methods that friends and family might use when a loved one is struggling with this disorder.

Mental illness can be difficult to understand if we haven't dealt with it ourselves. It's important to remember that a condition like bipolar disorder is a disease. It's not simply feeling blue but is a complex illness like any other physical condition.

It's very important to maintain a positive outlook towards family members struggling from bipolar disorder. Let a family member or friend know that you are there to listen, without judging. It's also useful to educate yourself about the condition, just as a person struggling with it might educate herself or himself about ir. If you're living with someone who has bipolar disorder, you can try and help them stick to a routine and practice healthy living.

Because it can be very difficult to see someone suffer from bipolar disorder, you might want to consider a support group for family members of bipolar patients. This can provide a forum for you to discuss your experiences with people going through the same thing.

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