- Friends And Family
- Helping a Loved One with Bipolar Disorder
- Helping a family member or friend living with bipolar disorder
Helping a family member or friend living with bipolar disorder
Dealing with the ups and downs of bipolar disorder can be difficult—and not just for the person with the illness. The moods and behaviors of a person with bipolar disorder affect everyone around—especially family members and close friends. During a manic episode, they must cope with reckless antics, outrageous demands, explosive outbursts and irresponsible decisions. And once the whirlwind of mania has passed, it often falls on them to deal with the consequences. During episodes of depression, they may have to pick up the slack for a loved one who doesn’t have the energy to meet responsibilities at home or work.
The good news is that most people with bipolar disorder can stabilize their moods with proper treatment, medication and support—so if your friend or family member has bipolar disorder, take hope. Furthermore, you can play a significant role in his or her recovery.
Here are some ways you can help a person with bipolar disorder:
- Learn about bipolar disorder. Educate yourself about bipolar disorder. Learn everything you can about the symptoms and treatment options. The more you know about bipolar disorder, the better equipped you’ll be to help your loved one and keep things in perspective.
- Encourage the person to get help. The sooner bipolar disorder is treated, the better the prognosis, so urge your friend or family member to seek professional help right away. Don’t wait to see if the person will get better without treatment.
- Be understanding. Let your friend or family member know that you’re there if he or she needs a sympathetic ear, encouragement or assistance with treatment. Remind the person that you care and that you’ll do whatever you can to help.
- Be patient. Getting better takes time, even when a person is committed to treatment. Don’t expect a quick recovery or a permanent cure. Be patient with the pace of recovery and prepare for setbacks and challenges. Managing bipolar disorder is a lifelong process.
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