7 Tips To Help People With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolarity is a disorder with many myths; The term is often misused to refer to changes in people’s attitudes, but without these meeting the necessary criteria to be considered as bipolar disorder symptoms.
Most of us interact, whether at work, in our families, or in the circle of friends, with people who possibly have some subtype of bipolar disorder. It is difficult for us to see people we care about, when they have a bad time and have a poor quality of life. The desire to help arises in us, but perhaps we do not know how to proceed and for no reason do we want to offend them or damage our relationship.
In this article we are going to address the issue of how to help a person with bipolar disorder, and we will also clarify doubts regarding the symptoms of this pathology, to clearly determine when we can be in the presence of this mental disorder.
What is bipolar disorder?
Before moving on to the tips on how to help a person with bipolar disorder, it is necessary to know exactly what this condition is about. What is known as bipolar disorder consists of a mental condition characterized by the alternation between cycles in which the person’s state of mind reaches very intense extremes; there are a series of extreme changes in the mood of people, which are maintained for a time in a consistent way.
It can be presumed that a person is presenting behaviours typical of bipolar disorder when the changes between one mood and another arrive after a period of time approximately several months, that is, they are not sudden changes that occur in a matter of minutes. In addition, the intensity of the moods must be significant and entail discomfort or significant risks to the integrity of the person and/or their environment.
The emotional polarities that are manifested in bipolar personality disorder are a manic one, characterized by intense states of euphoria and agitation in people, and another depressive ; characterized by strong states of apathy and general lack of enthusiasm.
In some cases, patients are often seen in which both polarities coexist; it is what is known as mixed bipolar disorder. This variant of bipolarity is more complex than the classic one and includes a greater risk for those who suffer from it.
In mixed cases of bipolarity, manic and euphoric behaviours are mixed with depressive behaviours, resulting in the subjects living with treacherous attitudes motivated by intense depressive thoughts. In these scenarios, the risk of self-flagellation and suicide increases.
Types of Bipolar Disorder and their characteristics
Having seen what bipolar is, let’s talk about the different types of bipolar disorder known to affect health.
Type I Bipolar Disorder
The individual with this type of bipolar disorder has had at least one manic or mixed episode. He has not necessarily had a depressive episode, although in practically all cases, the patient goes through both phases.
Type II Bipolar Disorder
The patient of this type of disorder suffers one or more episodes of major depression and, at least, one of hypomania. In many cases these patients are confused with those with major depression. For this reason, a professional diagnosis is always essential to help the person to improve quickly.
Rapid Cycle Bipolar Disorder
It is determined that a person has this type of disorder when there are, in the same year, at least four or five episodes of mania or depression. The percentage of patients who suffer this type of rapid cycle is low, but even so, it is important to know it and understand the immense suffering of the individual.
Bipolar disorder, unspecified
There are some patients who experience bipolar symptoms, but who do not meet the criteria for any specific bipolar disorder. In these cases we speak of unspecified bipolar disorder. Some more frequent examples of these are:
- Rapid alternation between manic and depressive symptoms, without meeting the minimum duration criteria for a manic episode or a major depressive episode.
- Recurrent hypomanic episodes without suffering depressive symptoms in between.
- A manic or mixed episode interspersed with delusional disorder, unspecified psychotic disorder, or residual schizophrenia.
- Situations in which the professional has concluded that there is a bipolar disorder, but is unable to determine if it is primary, due to another illness or induced by substances.
People with cyclothymia have a much milder picture of bipolar disorder. This disorder does not put the individual suffering from it at risk, but symptoms persist for at least two years.
This type of bipolar disorder symptoms go beyond simple mood swings in people. During manic states, physical symptoms may be evident, such as constant agitation, verbiage, hyperactivity, etc. These will always be accompanied by an attitude of abnormal enthusiasm, nervousness or tension.
Regarding the depressive states that occur in bipolar disorder, people present quite marked behaviours of discouragement and apathy, slow behaviour under any circumstance, insomnia, and fatigue. In severe cases, the possibility of suicide is contemplated.
Thus, to help a person with bipolar disorder, it is first necessary to understand the main symptoms of this psychological disorder and understand that those who suffer from this condition do not choose to behave like this. Starting from this premise, let’s see a series of tips on what to do.
The Best 7 Tips to Treat a Person With Bipolar Disorder
In the following list of tips we are going to review some tools to provide support and help to treat people with bipolar disorder. With these 7 tips, it’ll be easier to administer treatment to the bipolar disordered person.
Let’s check out the tips.
1. Help them accept their disorder
The sooner we get the person to accept that they have a pathology, the closer we will be to their willingness to seek the necessary help. Let us remember that our role is to accompany and support, and that it is necessary to have a mental health professional for the improvement to be significant.
Talking with the person about the benefits of going to therapy is a good way to help them agree to attend the consultation, although we must be careful in the way we say things; we do not want it to appear that we are making value judgements about the way you behave and make decisions.
2. Understand depressive and manic states
As support figures, we must understand use behaviours of the subjects when they are going through a polar crisis of this disorder. We should not judge or treat the subject as a bad person or someone who does not deserve respect for having serious problems; their behaviour responds to an organic pathology that is beyond their voluntary control.
This is one of the most important tips when it comes to helping a person with bipolar disorder, as damaging their self-esteem could cause them to stop attending therapy.
3. Learn to recognize indicators
In general, when a subject is about to change from one polarity to another, certain indicators are usually present that anticipate it. It’s important that we know how to recognize what they are. In this way, everything possible can be done to prevent progression to a full episode, or delay its onset.
In addition, it is also useful to encourage the person to recognize these warning signs in themselves, so that they can organize themselves better and gain autonomy.
4. Accompany the subject to go for therapy
The fact that we are willing and available to accompany the subject to therapy means for him an extra source of motivation. In addition, we will prevent the person from feeling alone, which helps greatly to be constant with the sessions and correctly follow the instructions of the therapist.
5. Monitor the subject medication
Patients with bipolar disorder should be in control together with the psychologist and psychiatrist. Medication is many times essential for the subject to remain stable and prevent manic and depressive episodes from significantly affecting their quality of life.
Therefore, as friends or relatives of the patient, you must do everything possible to monitor whether you take your medication according to the doctor’s instructions, and if you do not do it, talk to him.
6. Spend quality time with the person
People suffering from bipolar disorder generally do not have the facilities to maintain long and stable personal relationships, taking into account that they change their attitude in very extreme ways; sometimes they are too eloquent and frantic, and sometimes they don’t feel like talking to almost anyone.
It is important that we spend quality time with these people and make the process of relating to them easier, thus preventing them from isolating themselves from others. We can look for activities to do together, in which they interact with other people and can feel that they are capable of leading a normal life.
7. Avoid tense situations in front of the subject
It is recommended that we always try to maintain an attitude of assertiveness and respect with people with bipolar disorder, since moments of tension can be triggers for manic or depressive behaviours.
Bipolar Disorder and Sex
Promiscuous sexual behaviours as well as decreased libido are part of some manic or depressive episodes typical of Bipolar Disorder disease. Therefore, both patients and their partners must be aware that they may suffer certain alterations in their sexual relationships.
Bipolar Disorder and set is characterized by alternating manic-depressive episodes in the patient.
At first, during the depressive period, the woman has moderate sexual desire, that is, she lacks the desire to have sex. However, in the period of euphoria, risky sexual behaviors may appear that cause unwanted situations such as sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. It is also necessary to mention the feelings of guilt that can appear once the manic episode has passed and its repercussion on the couple’s dynamics.
Regarding the promiscuity of these patients, it is part of the manic episode clinic, so the treatment would be psychiatric. It would be necessary to consider if it is feasible, as in compulsive purchases, if additional measures can be taken, such as reducing the possibility of having sexual acts. In addition, it is classified as a crime against sexual freedom, having sexual relations with a person who, due to certain circumstances, is not aware of their actions.
On the other hand, treatments for bipolar disorder can lower the libido of patients. In these cases, you can try to improve communication between the couple so that it influences as little as possible. In women, the decrease in libido can be the reflection of poor vaginal lubrication and, therefore, a certain degree of discomfort when having sex, and for this there are multiple treatments.
Without mincing words, bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness. People who experience are usually prone to unusual mood swings. They can go from being very active and happy to feeling very sad and hopeless. A cycle that gets to be repeated again. They often have normal moods between cycles.
The causes of bipolar disorder are not exclusively clear. While it’s possible that they are genetic, another cause may be an abnormal structure of brain functions.
Bipolar disorder usually begins in the late teens or early adulthood, but children and adults can get it too. The disease generally lasts a lifetime.
Left untreated, bipolar disorder can damage personal relationships, cause poor performance at school or work, and even suicide. However, there are effective treatments to treat the symptoms: medicines and “talk therapy.” The combination of both is usually what works best.