It can be hard to know how to help someone with bipolar disorder. An illness like this can be very destabilizing and disrupt your normal life and routine. Here are some tips on how to help your loved one during this difficult time.
Show your support by learning about bipolar disorder
It helps to have a better perspective when you know exactly what bipolar disorder is. Educate yourself on the symptoms, and what to expect. Being armed with information helps you not lose your calm and patience when things go awry.
Often, when someone is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, they can feel as if they will be a burden to their family. You can help to ease their stress by showing them that you are there for them, no matter how difficult.
Learn their limits and their moods
When someone is suffering a bout of depression, don’t expect them to “just snap out of it”.
Saying things like, “Why can’t you just be positive?” or, “Stop saying crazy things!” will only lead to more destructive behavior on their part. This can be stressful for everyone and make the situation worse.
Learn your own limitations
As much as you want to help the person who is suffering from a mental illness, you also have your limits. They may need professional help, rehabilitation and therapy. On the other hand, no matter how much you do for them, it has to be their own decision to want to get help.
How well they recover is up to them. There has to be first a realization on their part, that this is a desperate need; that they need help.
Communication is Key
There are a few practical things you can do to help your loved one. For example, enforcing daily routines, reminding them to take their medications or preparing special meals together.
But whatever you decide to do, make open communication a priority. Try to learn how to truly listen to your loved one in order to meet their needs at the right time. Showing them that they are important to you and that you care is essential to their recovery.
Helping them get help
Your loved one might be willing to get the necessary medical help but fear or embarrassment may hold them back. Help them by accompanying them to medical checkups or researching their condition together. Help them attend some social activities.
Finding out the best drug rehabilitation centers can be overwhelming. You can support them by doing the phone calls and scheduling appointments.
Make sure that you emphasize and prioritize their medication. Stopping medication, once prescribed, can be harmful to their physical and mental health. But it’s not always easy for the person with the bipolar disorder to track their own schedule.
Be there for them by helping them remember when to take the meds, when to make doctor appointments and to take the proper doses. Watch out for symptoms of relapse, or a worsening of their condition.
As hard as it may be, it is possible to help someone with a bipolar disorder, to fully recover. Getting back to normal life will take time, but if you are committed, it can happen.
The Crosby Clinic is dedicated to helping patients with bipolar disorder to get treatment that will help them lead productive and happy lives. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and appointment.
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