9 tips to help someone with bipolar disorder

The accompaniment and support of significant others (family and friends) represents an essential pillar to apply the advice that helps in bipolar disorder. These figures are a source of external motivation and help to enhance results and adherence to treatment.

Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental disorder that affects the mood of people. Its repercussions cause a severe deterioration in the interpersonal, labor and social spheres. Therefore, to guarantee the well-being of the patient, medical and psychological care is essential.

If you know or live with a person with this disorder, we invite you to continue reading, as we present some tips that will guide you to offer appropriate and necessary support.

What is bipolar disorder?

It is a mental condition that produces extreme and uncontrollable changes in mood. These alterations comprise a manic or hypomanic polarity, characterized by high levels of euphoria, agitation, and feelings of greatness; and another depressive, concerning feelings of sadness, lack of interest and fatigue.

Mood changes do not happen suddenly, that is, they can take months. Likewise, their intensity is striking, which generates a lot of discomfort and a significant deterioration in the interpersonal, social and work functioning of the person.

Depending on the symptoms, different types of bipolar disorder have been classified:

  • Bipolar I disorder: consists of the manifestation of at least one manic episode. Before or after it, the person may have had hypomanic episodes (milder expression of the symptoms of mania) or major depression.
  • Bipolar II disorder: the person has suffered at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode. In this case, he does not present manic episodes. If so, the diagnosis would become type I.
  • Cyclothymic disorderis characterized by chronic fluctuations in mood that include multiple periods of hypomanic symptoms (not meeting the criteria for a hypomanic episode) and as many periods of depressive symptoms (not meeting the criteria for a major depressive episode). These alterations are present for at least 2 years in adults, and a year in children and adolescents.
  • Other types: in the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM V), bipolar disorders include those caused by substances or medications.

Bipolarity is a chronic approach pathology that needs the support of the family support network.

Tips to help a person with bipolar disorder

In addition to medical treatment, support from family and friends is extremely important to ensure the well-being and stability of people with bipolar disorder. If you live with or know someone with this condition, you can help them in many ways.

1. Learn all you can about bipolar disorder

The more you know about bipolar disorder, the more you can help. This involves understanding depressive and manic symptoms, available treatments, and the consequences of seizures.

2. Help him accept his disorder

It is vitally important that the affected person recognize that they have a pathology. This way you will be more willing to receive the necessary help.

Keep in mind that the role of family and friends is to offer accompaniment and support. Therefore, the intervention of a mental health professional is required for there to be a significant improvement.

One way for the person to agree to go to therapy is by talking about the benefits it offers. At this point, it is pertinent to be careful with our words, since it is not intended that she feel judged or pressured.

Also read: What is the mind of a bipolar like?

3. Go to therapy with him

Be willing and available to accompany you to your therapy sessions it can be a source of additional motivation. You also prevent the person from feeling lonely, which contributes significantly to their not giving up.

On the other hand, if the person gives you his authorization, it will be helpful to talk with the professionals who treat him. They will be able to offer you more valid information about your condition, advice on how to address specific crisis situations, and respond to your concerns.

4. Be empathetic and understanding

Being empathetic means putting yourself in the place of the other, which allows us to respond or act better. For it active listening is key, stay calm, avoid arguing, making judgments or bringing up any topic that irritates or frustrates you.

Often times, all these people need is a good listener, especially when they want to express their challenges. In these cases, what matters is expressing our acceptance and understanding. This way you will feel more comfortable with your condition and will have more openness.

5. Monitor your medication

The most effective treatment for bipolar disorder is balanced combination of therapy and medications. In most cases, drugs are essential to ensure emotional stability.

Consequently, one way to help the person is to check, as much as possible, if they are taking the pills according to the doctor's recommendations. If not, you should talk to him. Remember that these conversations must be exempt from judgment.

6. Have a plan in case of emergency

Bipolar disorder is often unpredictable. Likewise, depressive and manic attacks can be dangerous, both for the person affected and for those around them. Consequently, it is necessary to have all the support and speed to be able to handle the case.

We advise that both the affected person and family and friends Have the phone numbers of therapists, ambulances, hospitals and other close people. So, in times of crisis, help can be easily asked for.

7. Among the tips for bipolar disorder, don't forget your self-care

If you live with someone who suffers from bipolar disorder, it can be easy for you to forget about your personal care. In addition, it is well known that being a caregiver in this pathology entails an emotional and psychic overload that ends up deteriorating well-being.

To help someone you must have the emotional capacity to do so. To do this, make sure you get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise, and even attend therapy.

Discover: How to live with a person with bipolar disorder

8. Learn coping strategies to control your attacks

This can take time and even be complex. The main thing is learn to recognize the symptoms or indicators that anticipate a manic or depressive episode, to then carry out actions that prevent the development of the episode or delay its appearance.

Likewise, it is useful for the affected person to learn to recognize these signs and be able to act on their own. This helps you gain self-control and autonomy.

The crises of bipolar disorder are intense and it takes time to learn to cope in the best way possible.

9. Offer quality time

People with bipolar disorder often find it difficult to establish and maintain long-lasting, stable relationships. Having said that, it is important that you spend quality time and enjoy itThis way you avoid isolating and feeling lonely.

You can think of activities that both of you like, that ensure interaction and the feeling of a normal life.

Apply these tips to help bipolar disorder

Helping and accompanying someone suffering from mental illness can be a great challenge. It implies carrying out efforts that guarantee, as far as possible, the well-being of the other.

That is why it is vitally important not to forget about self-care and educate yourself as much as possible about the condition. This will allow you to offer more targeted support tailored to individual needs.