Helping the Person You Care About Facing Bipolar Disorder
Suffering from bipolar disorder can be very depressing. And living with bipolar patient is very difficult as well. The most terrible thing about bipolar is definitely the mood swings. It is so unpredictable that you only have one question in your head, how can you tell if someone is having a bipolar episode? There is never an alarm to warn you when the mania will change into depression. You never know how long the episode will last and what it will do to your loved ones. It is challenging but your loved one will need your help, even though their disorder prevents them from stating or showing it. To help you and your loved one fight bipolar disorder together, here are some things you can do.
Everything You Need to Know about Bipolar Disorder?
If you want to help your loved one face their disorder, you should understand everything about bipolar disorder through and through. Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric disorder which characterized by repetitive manic and depressive episodes.
During the manic episodes, the patients will be super joyful, super energized and sometimes engage in reckless behavior because they are feeling invincible. But on the contrary, during the depressive episode, all the glows will go from their face. They will feel sad and blue, depressed and in most severe cases, their minds will be preoccupied with death. Each episode must last at least three or four days. If the mood changes in just a matter of minute, it might be a sign of Borderline Personality Disorder.
There are several types of bipolar. Each has different symptoms which makes this disorder becomes even harder to diagnose. Bipolar I is easier to treat and diagnose because it is easy to differentiate the manic and depressive episodes. Bipolar II is different. The manic episodes are not really extreme thus it is called hypomania. It can be hard to notice hypomania that’s why many Bipolar II cases are left untreated.
Bipolar Disorder Episodes
Now, let’s discuss our most important question, how can you tell if someone is having a bipolar episode? The key is to observe the original behavior of your loved one and pay attention to any changes. But remember, you can’t do the observation in just a matter of one day or two. Since one episode can lasts for weeks and months, it will take time to witness the transition from manic episodes to depressive episode. Make sure you know the warning signs of each episode so you can take necessary actions.
During this episode the patient will show these following symptoms.
– Doing things recklessly impulsively and engage in dangerous or self-destructing activities, such as compulsive shopping or unprotected sex.
– Feeling extremely happy without reason.
– Very energized and sometimes doesn’t even need sleep for several days.
– Easily irritated
– Shows uncontrolled confidence and do several things at once without finishing any.
– Sometimes, hallucinations and delusions appeared during the peak of the manic episodes.
Here are some symptoms come out during the depressive episode.
– Lost interest in activities they usually enjoy
– Thrown themselves away from other people
– Feels hopeless and sad all the time
– Self-harm and suicidal thought
– Lack of energy and appetite.
What You Should Do to Help Your Loved Ones Facing Bipolar Disorder
Taking care and living with someone with bipolar is definitely not easy. But you need to hang on because you are your loved one’s strength. Here are some things that you can do to help you.
- Recognize the Signs
How can you tell if someone is having a bipolar episode if you don’t even know the warning signs? You know how your loved one usually acts so you will notice if there is something different with their behavior. If your loved one is not properly diagnosed, you should take them to a psychiatrist immediately. Bipolar disorder can possess danger to sufferer because of the irresponsible behavior during the manic episode and the suicidal thought in the depressive episode.
- Keep an Eye on Them during Manic Episodes
During the manic episode, you can’t tell your loved ones that what they did is stupid or careless. The disorder prevents them from thinking clearly and logically. Most of the time, trying to reason with them will result in failure. What you can do is to keep an eye on them all the time. If they are trying to do something impulsive, you should try to limit and control their actions. But do it subtly so you don’t agitate them.
- Be There for Them during Depressive Episodes
The manic episodes are hard but it is the depressive episode that will hurt them the most. During this episode, they will feel alone and sad without apparent reasons. And also during this episode they will have a lot of suicidal thoughts. Make sure you are there for them and support them during this time. If they show or state suicidal tendency, don’t take those threats lightly. Call the suicide hotline to find help for your loved ones.
- Make Sure They Take Their Meds
Bipolar is a lifelong disorder. It is not curable and combination of therapy and medication will be needed every day. It can be exhausting but you have to make sure that the patients never fail to take the medications. Going off meds for a period of times will result in relapsing symptoms.
- Remember that Their Sickness is Real
So, how can you tell if someone is having a bipolar episode? Can you answer this question now? If you can, now you have to move to the most important thing. Acceptance. Mental disorder is full of stigma. Some ignorant people say, “it is only on your head”, “Just suck it up, everybody gets stress all the time”. Don’t be those people because those ignorant words only will trigger the symptoms to come out. Bipolar disorder is real and it’s more than just a mood swing. It is physical and it is just as painful as cancer or heart attack. Show your support by acknowledging your loved one condition and help them going through the treatments.