When Should I Go To The Emergency Room For Bipolar Disorder
If youre experiencing any of these situations, its essential to call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room:
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
- Thoughts or plans of hurting yourself or others.
- Experiencing hallucinations and delusions.
- Symptoms of lithium toxicity , such as severe nausea and vomiting, severe hand tremors, confusion and vision changes.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness. But long-term, ongoing treatment, such as medication and talk therapy, can help manage your symptoms and enable you to live a healthy, purposeful life. Its important to see your healthcare team regularly to monitor your treatment plan and symptoms. Know that your healthcare providers and loved ones are there to support you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/12/2022.
Recovering From A Manic Episode
In the recovery period, its time to start regaining control over your life and schedule. Discuss with your mental health provider and loved ones what youve learned from the episode, such as possible triggers. You can also start reestablishing a schedule for sleeping, eating, and exercising.
Its important to think about what you can learn from this episode and how you can help yourself in the future. This will help you engage later in mania prevention.
Following a manic episode, many people gain insight into what may lead to their episodes. Examples of common mania triggers can include:
- drinking alcohol or abusing illegal drugs
- staying up all night and skipping sleep
- hanging out with others known to be an unhealthy influence
- going off your regular diet or exercise program
- stopping or skipping your medications
- skipping therapy sessions
Keeping yourself on a routine as much as possible can help reduce manic episodes. But keep in mind that it wont prevent them altogether.
If you or a loved one has bipolar disorder, there are certain key preparations you may wish to make.
Supporting Someone With Bipolar Disorder
This page is for friends, partners and family who want to help someone with bipolar disorder.
Seeing someone you care about going through the moods and symptoms of bipolar disorder can feel distressing. But you can offer support in lots of ways, while also looking after your own wellbeing.
This page covers how you can:
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Bipolar Disorder Vs Manic Depression
A critical point in distinguishing bipolar disorder from major depressive disorder is whether the person has had a manic episode. For someone to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, they must have had a manic episode lasting for at least one week or a hypomanic episode lasting for at least four days.
Watch For Warning Signs Of Bipolar Disorder Relapse
Even if your loved one with bipolar disorder is committed to treatment, there may be times when their symptoms get worse. Take action right away if you notice any troubling symptoms or mood changes. Point out the emerging bipolar symptoms to your loved one and alert the doctor. With swift intervention, you may be able to prevent an episode of mania or depression from developing fully.
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Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder Can Feel Like Riding A Roller Coaster
Bipolar disorder is one of the most severe mental disorders a person can have. The lives of those suffering from it are hugely impacted by it.
While other disorders, such as depression and anxiety, may function in cycles or waves, bipolar disorder requires constant, vigilant management. The disorder is typically managed by daily medication and talk therapy.
The trademark of bipolar disorder is a major mood imbalance. The person may go from depressed to a manic state, or may experience other shifts in mood that affect the person’s ability to function. People who have bipolar disorder often have a hard time sleeping. It’s not unusual for someone unmedicated with this disorder to be up for two or three days straight, because their mind and body simply won’t let them sleep.
How do these symptoms affect the loved ones of these people? They have a big impact. Parents, siblings, friends, and co-workers see these individuals pass between depression and mania, and they see what a toll it takes on them. One of the realities for loved ones is they begin to understand that they cannot expect the person to be consistent they know the mood and behavior can significantly change.
How Do You Live With A Husband With Manic Depression
Together: Janet Hastings has not given up on husband Andrew who suffers from bipolar disorder
Last September, Andrew Hastings secretly decided it was time to end his marriage of 26 years.
He still loved his wife Janet, and his grown-up sons simon and Richard, but as the retired NHS consultant pathologist explains: ‘I felt very strongly that it was absolutely the right time to close this particular chapter of my life.
‘I wanted to move on, try new and different experiences, and to sever ties with my wife. I didn’t think about the hurt I’d be causing – in fact, I was sure she would understand.
‘I was exhilarated by the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.’
So one afternoon he walked into an estate agents, put down £4,000 in cash and left with a six-month rental agreement on a shabby, two-bedroom bungalow just a few miles from his large detached family home near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
But this was no ordinary mid-life crisis. Andrew, 56, a tall handsome man, a talented pianist with a distinguished medical career, was in the throes of a bipolar episode – an illness that has dogged him for most of his adult life.
Worse was to come: instead of moving into the bungalow, Andrew suffered one of the most severe breakdowns of his life. A few days later, Janet, 61, a former school teacher, came home to find her husband missing.
‘In my agitated state, I thought that the police were out to get me and that I had to outrun them,’ he explains.
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How To Live A Longer Life With Bipolar Disorder
Learning that bipolar disorder is associated with a shorter life expectancy can be alarming. If you are someone who has bipolar disorder, you may feel despair, anger, sadness, and hopelessness. These feelings are understandable, and you should check in with your mental health provider if learning about these statistics is triggering for you.
But with knowledge comes power, and the truth is that many people with bipolar disorder live healthy, full, and long lives. The key is getting proper and consistent treatment.
How To Manage Relationships With Bipolar Disorder
The single most important part of making a bipolar relationship work is being willing to put the time and effort into managing the condition and nurturing your loved one. There are numerous healthy ways to go about this. All of the following suggestions are strategies that can help each of you successfully navigate your platonic or romantic relationships.
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Find The Right Treatment Plan
Bipolar disorder isnt one-size-fits-all, and neither is symptom management. This can make finding the right treatment seem very overwhelming, especially if you dont know where to start.
A great way to get the ball rolling is to educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder and talk to a knowledgeable professional. They can give you a correct diagnosis and help you find the right regimen for your unique needs.
Here are some actionable ways to get into a good groove:
Is It Hard To Live With Someone With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder doesnt define an individual but can affect their mood and behavior.
You might find some of your loved ones behaviors upsetting or challenging to manage at home. This could negatively affect your relationship with them, as well as your mental health and quality of life.
It may also affect your relationships with other family members or housemates.
If you help to care for someone with bipolar disorder, your caregiving responsibilities might limit your social activities or ability to work. This might lead to social isolation, financial difficulties, or other challenges related to your living situation.
Developing effective strategies to cope with challenges that arise at home is important. It may help improve your relationship, living situation, and quality of life.
Its also important for people with bipolar disorder to get treatment and learn how to manage their condition. This can help limit their symptoms and reduce relationship conflicts.
Learning to manage bipolar disorder is an ongoing process. It may take time for you and your loved one to develop coping strategies that work well for you.
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What Does Manic Mean
Manic refers to a state of mind that involves excitement, euphoria, and high energy levels that last for an extended period. When a person has a manic episode, they experience an extreme shift in mood.
In order to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, episodes of mania or hypomania must be present. These manic episodes can have a serious impact on a person’s life and ability to function in different settings including home, school, or work.
Know Your Triggers And Early Warning Signs
Its important to recognize the warning signs of an oncoming manic or depressive episode. Make a list of early symptoms that preceded your previous mood episodes. Also try to identify the triggers, or outside influences, that have led to mania or depression in the past. Common triggers include:
- arguments with your loved ones
- problems at school or work
- seasonal changes
|Common red flags for relapse|
|Warning signs of depression|
|Warning signs of mania or hypomania|
Knowing your early warning signs and triggers wont do you much good if you arent keeping close tabs on how youre feeling. By checking in with yourself through regular mood monitoring, you can be sure that red flags dont get lost in the shuffle of your busy, daily life.
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Bipolar Disorder And Other Conditions
Some bipolar disorder symptoms are similar to those of other illnesses, which can make it challenging for a health care provider to make a diagnosis. In addition, many people may have bipolar disorder along with another mental disorder or condition, such as an anxiety disorder, substance use disorder, or an eating disorder. People with bipolar disorder have an increased chance of having thyroid disease, migraine headaches, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other physical illnesses.
Psychosis: Sometimes, a person with severe episodes of mania or depression may experience psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to match the persons extreme mood. For example:
- People having psychotic symptoms during a manic episode may have the unrealistic belief that they are famous, have a lot of money, or have special powers.
- People having psychotic symptoms during a depressive episode may falsely believe they are financially ruined and penniless, have committed a crime, or have an unrecognized serious illness.
As a result, people with bipolar disorder who also have psychotic symptoms are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed with schizophrenia. When people have symptoms of bipolar disorder and also experience periods of psychosis that are separate from mood episodes, the appropriate diagnosis may be schizoaffective disorder.
Anxiety: It is common for people with bipolar disorder to also have an anxiety disorder.
Recognize And Prevent Depression
The manic and depressive phases of bipolar disorder donât necessarily follow a pattern. You can have a few bouts of depression before you have a manic phase.
But over time, youâll notice things that cause changes in your mood and warning signs that depression could be setting in. When you catch those symptoms early, you can often avoid major depression.
Keep a mood chart to track how you feel, your treatments, sleep, and other activities. Take note of times when you feel stressed — maybe when youâre with certain people or in a specific place. The first signs of depression could be that you feel tired and canât sleep. Short periods of depression can be a sign that a severe phase is coming.
The people around you can help you recognize patterns, too. Ask your family and mental health professional to watch for changes in your behavior that signal an oncoming issue. They may be able to notice things that you donât.
Even when you feel great, make sure to keep up with your treatment — it can prevent a relapse of depression. Eat a healthy diet, exercise, and try new ways to ease stress and manage your moods: Join a support group, take up a hobby, or practice relaxation methods like meditation, yoga, or massage.
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Living With Bipolar Disorder Tip : Get Involved In Your Treatment
Be a full and active participant in your own treatment. Learn everything you can about bipolar disorder. Become an expert on the illness. Study up on the symptoms, so you can recognize them in yourself, and research all your available treatment options. The more informed you are, the better prepared youll be to deal with symptoms and make good choices for yourself.
Using what youve learned about bipolar disorder, collaborate with your doctor or therapist in the treatment planning process. Dont be afraid to voice your opinions or questions. The most beneficial relationships between patient and healthcare provider work as a partnership. You may find it helpful to draw up a treatment contract outlining the goals you and your provider have agreed upon.
Improve your treatment by:
Being patient. Dont expect an immediate and total cure. Have patience with the treatment process. It can take time to find the right program that works for you.
Communicating with your treatment provider. Your treatment program will change over time, so keep in close contact with your doctor or therapist. Talk to your provider if your condition or needs change and be honest about your symptoms and any medication side effects.
Taking your medication as instructed. If youre taking medication, follow all instructions and take it faithfully. Dont skip or change your dose without first talking with your doctor.
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A Manic Depressive During Mania
During a manic state, life may appear to be perfect to a manic depressive. The patient feels like they are on top of the world, can talk to god or perhaps even have godlike powers themselves. The manic depressive feels no need to sleep or eat and never gets tired. The patient feels brilliant and talks non-stop in a steady stream of ever-changing ideas. The patient may get very irritated when others don’t see their brilliance or agree with their delusional beliefs. A manic depressive may even become paranoid and psychotic and think they are being communicated to through inanimate objects. This manic state spirals out of control often leading to drinking, gambling and sex binges and puts the manic depressive and those around them in danger as the patient engages in risky behavior like driving while intoxicated or believing they can fly.
Beyond Treatment: Things You Can Do
Regular Exercise: Regular aerobic exercise, such as jogging, brisk walking, swimming, or bicycling, helps with depression and anxiety, promotes better sleep, and is healthy for your heart and brain. There is also some evidence that anaerobic exercise such as weightlifting, yoga, and Pilates can be helpful. Check with your health care provider before you start a new exercise regimen.
Keeping a Life Chart: Even with proper treatment, mood changes can occur. Treatment is more effective when a patient and health care provider work together and talk openly about concerns and choices. Keeping a life chart that records daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events can help patients and health care providers track and treat bipolar disorder over time. Patients can easily share data collected via smartphone apps including self-reports, self- ratings, and activity data with their health care providers and therapists.
Maintain A Regular Eating And Sleeping Schedule
When youre living with bipolar disorder, having structure in your daily life is vital. This includes following a healthy diet and avoiding caffeine and sugary foods that could affect your mood.
Getting enough regular sleep can also help you avoid manic or depressive episodes. In addition, it can help reduce the severity of any episodes that do occur.
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Free Resources For Living With Bipolar Disorder
Here are some fabulous free resources for folks who have bipolar disorder :
- The National Institute of Mental Health has lots of shareable resources for folks living with bipolar disorder, including treatment tips, info on how to get a diagnosis, and symptoms to look out for.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a confidential helpline you can call 24/7/365. They offer treatment referrals and support for free at 1-800-622-HELP .
- The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance is a national organization that helps people who have bipolar mood disorders or depression. They offer online resources, videos, educational materials, and support groups.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness helps support and educate folks about mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder. Their website provides up-to-date facts, stats, and resources.