Bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness that confuses others. Today, a person with bipolar disorder may be so depressed that they will not get out of bed all day, and tomorrow they will become an energetic optimist who is unrecognizable. If you know someone with bipolar disorder, try to learn the support and encouragement techniques that will help the person bounce back. At the same time, it is important not to forget about the limits of your capabilities and immediately seek medical help in case of aggressive or suicidal behavior of a person.
How to help someone with bipolar disorder
- Pay attention to symptoms. If a person has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, then you may already know the symptoms of the disease. Bipolar disorder has periods of mania and depression. During manic phases, a person has an unlimited supply of strength, while during periods of depression, the same person may not get out of bed all day.
- In manic phases, there is a high degree of optimism OR irritability, unrealistic ideas about one’s own capabilities, a feeling of extraordinary vigor after a short sleep, fast speech and transitions to different ideas, inability to concentrate, as well as impulsive or erroneous decisions and even hallucinations.
- In depressive phases, despair, discouragement, emptiness, irritability, loss of interest in business, fatigue, lack of concentration, changes in appetite, weight changes, trouble sleeping, feeling worthless or guilty, and even thoughts of suicide are noted.
2. Different types of bipolar disorder. There are four types of bipolar disorder. Such definitions help clinicians identify the type of disorder based on symptoms. There are usually four types:
- Bipolar disorder type I. With this type, manic episodes with a total duration of up to seven days are characteristic of the degree of severity in which a person needs hospitalization. This is followed by depressive episodes lasting at least two weeks.
- Bipolar disorder type II. With this form, after depressive episodes, there are moderate manic phases that do not require hospitalization.
- Bipolar Disorder Unspecified (NOS). In this form, the person suffers from symptoms of bipolar disorder, but they do not meet the criteria for the first or second type.
- Cyclothymia. With this form, mild symptoms of the bipolar disorder appear within two years.
3. Express your concern. If you think the person has bipolar disorder, then don’t be silent. Try to start a conversation, but be careful not to express concern or concern without being judgmental. It should be remembered that bipolar disorder is a disease and the person is unable to control their behavior.
- Say something like this: “I am very worried about you and noticed that you have been having a difficult time lately. Just know that I am there and always ready to help ”.
4. Show a willingness to listen. Sometimes, a person with bipolar disorder can be comforted by the opportunity to share their feelings. Show that you are happy to listen to their concerns and concerns.
- Listen, but don’t judge the person or try to solve their problems. Just listen and encourage your friend. For example, say the following: “You seem to be having a very difficult time right now. I have no idea how you feel, but I am very worried and want to help. “
5. Make an appointment with your doctor. The person may not be able to make an appointment with a doctor on their own because of bipolar disorder, so ask them to make an appointment with a specialist.
- If a person is not ready to seek help from a doctor, then there is no need to force him. On the contrary, offer to undergo a general examination and see if he dares to ask the specialist questions about his symptoms.
6. Encourage the person to take the prescribed medication. If a doctor has prescribed medications to help control symptoms of bipolar disorder, make sure that the person is taking such medications. It is not uncommon for people with bipolar disorder to stop taking the drug as soon as they feel better or when they want to return to their manic phase.
- Remind them of the need to take medication and that the symptoms will worsen without them.
7. Be patient. Although the condition may improve after a few months of treatment, full recovery may take years. Breakdowns are also possible, so be very patient.
8. Take time for yourself. Supporting someone with bipolar disorder can be extremely challenging, so try to make time for yourself. Look every day for an opportunity to be at a distance from the person with the disorder.
- For example, go to the gym, take a friend over for coffee, or read a book. You can also seek help from a counseling psychologist to help you deal with stress and emotional pressure.
How to deal with mania
- Try to be calm. During manic episodes, a person with bipolar disorder may become very aroused and irritated after prolonged conversations or certain topics. Try to talk to him in a peaceful way, and do not get into an argument or lengthy discussion.
- Avoid bringing up topics that can trigger mania. For example, it’s best not to ask him tense questions or ask about the goals he is striving for. Instead, it’s better to talk about the weather, a TV series, or some other light topic.
2. Encourage your friend to get regular rest. During the manic phase, a person may feel that only a few hours of sleep is enough to rest. At the same time, lack of rest can only aggravate the situation.
- Encourage your friend to get as much sleep at night as possible, and also to take a nap during the day.
3. Go for walks. Hiking can be a great way to use up excess energy during manic episodes, as well as an opportunity to talk in private. Start inviting your friend for a walk every day or several times a week.
- Regular exercise can also help manage depression symptoms, so suggest walking whenever the person is in the mood.
4. Notice impulsive behavior. During manic episodes, a person may be prone to impulsive acts such as using drugs, buying unnecessary things, or taking long trips. Encourage your friend to think better about big purchases or new hobbies during her manic episodes.
- If overspending occurs regularly, suggest leaving your credit card and any excess money at home.
- If the situation is aggravated by alcohol or drugs, persuade a friend to stop taking such substances.
5. Do not take comments personally. During the manic phase, the person may say hurtful things or have fights. Do not take such remarks personally and get away from the argument.
- Remember that such words are provoked by illness and do not reflect the person’s true feelings.
Coping with depression
- Offer to move towards a small goal. In moments of depression, it is difficult for a person to cope with a global task, so it is sometimes helpful to set achievable goals. Even modest success can improve the well-being of bipolar disorder.
- For example, if a friend complains that she needs to clean up the whole house, then suggest that she/he start with a small space like a pantry or bathroom.
2. Suggest positive methods for dealing with depression. A depressed person can often give preference to negative coping options such as alcohol, refusal of drugs, isolation. Try to offer positive solutions to problems.
- For example, suggest calling a therapist, doing a warm-up, or doing something you love.
3. Be genuinely supportive. Support and encouragement in times of depression shows that you are worried about the person. Don’t make false promises or rely on clichés to inspire a friend.
- For example, you shouldn’t say phrases like “Everything will be all right”, “The problem is only in your head” or “Turn your troubles into victories!”.
Instead, say “I’m worried about you,” “I am there and ready to help,” “You are a good person and I’m glad that we know each other.”
4. Create a routine. During depression, a person with bipolar disorder often chooses to stay in bed, avoid society, or just watch movies all day. At such a moment, it is important to help him create a daily routine so that there are always things to do.
- For example, work together to schedule times to get up and shower, pick up the newspapers, go for a walk, and do something fun like reading a book or playing a game.
5. Notice suicidal tendencies. In times of depression, people are more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Take all such words and comments seriously.
- If the person is suicidal or says they want to commit suicide or harm others, call an ambulance immediately. Don’t try to fix the problem yourself.
- Never try to resolve a situation with threats of suicide or violence on your own! Call emergency medical services immediately.
- Don’t ignore the person’s behavior and don’t say, “It’s all in your head.” Bipolar disorder is a condition in which a person is unable to control their feelings.