How to Help Your Spouse with Bipolar Disorder

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Living with a partner who suffers from bipolar disorder is quite an ordeal that threatens to undermine your relationship and interfere with life together in many different – even unexpected – ways. If they struggle to overcome the disability, you can help greatly with loving care, support, and understanding. Those affected with bipolar disorder can assuage their condition given appropriate medication and incessant treatment as well as a supportive atmosphere – that’s where your participation can tip the scale in a decisive manner. Affected people often feel better when they have a sympathetic listener in whom they can place their trust. Their partners have to be prepared to handle difficult situations and should be mindful of certain points related to the issue.

Get to know facts about bipolar disorder

Get informed about the problem as much as you can – behavioral patterns, conditions, treatment, everything that comes your way. This will enable you to maintain the right perspective and understand what your partner is feeling.

Get them to undergo treatment

While your loved one receives treatment, taking medication and undergoing therapy, the support provided by his or her family members can be essential for the overall condition of the sufferer. These individuals can be further assisted by psychotherapy sessions which, if undertaken together with their partners, ensure them that love and care have not been withdrawn from them.

Ensure proper medication compliance

As often occurs, the sufferers tend to keep off medicines when they feel better due to the “high” periods of their condition; once you have realized the afflicted individual neglects to take medicine, you should immediately inform their general practitioner or physician supervising the course of the treatment. The doctor will probably advise you on the best mode of behavior and will discuss the situation with your spouse.

While the doctor is still not aware of the negligence, urge the person to go on taking medicine; if necessary, think of a suitable incentive to offer for being compliant and following the prescribed procedures. There must be something they will enjoy doing with you.

Show sympathy and attention

Make yourself available to your partner or family member whenever they would like to open their hearts, discuss their condition, get assistance or support. Let them know that they are welcome to your help. Such people usually realize they are burdensome, and therefore unwilling to ask for help or attention, so it’s up to you to change their shunning attitude.

Remain patient

Even those compliant to treatment cannot return to normalcy within a predictable time. You cannot very well hope for a miraculous recovery or a medication that sets things right. Brace yourself up for patients and let the process take its course. There will be setbacks, difficult periods to be endured. It’s a long hard fight.

Be ready to render help during a difficult episode

When a manic or hypomanic period sets in, or you see the signs that it is about to set in, it’s advisable to take harm preventive measures. The afflicted one can spend money recklessly or indulge in alcohol and substances. Little children and susceptible people should be sent away so as not to be alarmed by excitable behavior. Your partner’s doctor or psychiatrist may have to get involved, or ambulance and suicide experts if there’s danger of frantic outbursts.

Lay down a crisis plan

Since you may have to face an unheralded moment of crisis, you should have a prearranged plan of how to handle the situation. To take the edge off a crisis, you may need to enlist the help of significant family members or professionals. Have their phone numbers not only in your phone but written on a piece of paper which you will carry about in your wallet. Have your partner to always have one handy, too. A good idea is for both of you to work out a plan of action when he can be relied on to cooperate consciously.

Instruct other inmates how to avoid triggers

Some inadvertent behaviors can trigger the onset of manic or depressive moods, and these had better not be stumbled into by a careless family member. Excessive use of alcohol, coffee, and substances are often culprits in such cases.

Among other powerful triggers are conflicts, stress-related bad moods, troubled sleep, unhealthy dieting habits. You will soon know what triggers your partner or spouse is especially responsive. Explain to friends and relatives that trigger-laden behaviors must be excluded, and stressful situations must be softened as much as possible. A negative attitude, harping and nagging act as triggers and bring bipolar disorder sufferers down.

An important factor could be maintaining a calming atmosphere by a careful choice of lighting, music, movies and TV programs.

Afflicted individuals who receive a lot of support at home are known to evince symptoms that are less acute, have fewer difficult periods which wear off more quickly and enjoy longer normal periods.