We all experience ups and downs in our lives, but when the highs are too high and the lows are too low, you may be struggling with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder occurs when you cycle from extreme highs (mania) to extreme lows (depression). This disorder affects 2.8% of adults, which means you may know someone with bipolar disorder. So, what do you do if you have a friend or family member that suffers from this disorder?
How to Help Someone During a Manic Episode
During a manic episode, a person with bipolar disorder may experience high energy, creativity, and joy. They can talk fast, sleep very little, and be hyperactive. They may also feel invincible, leading to risky activities. Because this person feels really good during a manic episode, it may be challenging to convince them to see a doctor. Avoid encouraging unrealistic ideas to prevent an increased likelihood of engaging in risky activities. Talk to that person calmly and let them know you are looking out for them as you see a change in their symptoms. You can provide information to your loved one’s doctor but be aware they must adhere to confidentiality laws and cannot discuss treatment details with you.
How to Help Someone During a Depressive Episode
If your loved one is experiencing depression, they may not be in the right mindset to develop and practice coping strategies. You can be there for your loved one by listening attentively, offering helpful coping advice, and boosting their mood. You can even help them with daily activities they may be struggling struggle with. If your loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts due to their depression, seek medical attention immediately.
How to Help During an Emergency
Signs of an emergency include behavior that is violent, threatening, risky, or suicidal. It is crucial to keep this person from risking their own lives or others’ lives. Be patient, attentive, and supportive in their care. In some cases, only a professional can get through to your loved one — you can call the person’s doctor right away, but you may need to call 911 if they are a danger to themselves or others. While bipolar disorder can be challenging for both you and your loved one, proper treatment, coping skills, and support can help someone with bipolar disorder lead a happy life.
Bipolar disorder can be very unpredictable. While it may be challenging to support someone with bipolar disorder, you can do it as long as you are patient, aware of their symptoms, and have their doctor’s contact information. At Alta Loma, we are equipped to handle the needs of people with bipolar disorder and their loved ones. Located in Georgetown, Texas, we can offer you family treatment, individualized therapy, coping skills education, and more. Call (866) 457-3843 for more information about our services.