Almost 3% of women and men in the United States have been diagnosed with a mental health condition called bipolar disorder (BD). Of those with BD, about 83% struggle with extremely disruptive symptoms as they swing from emotional highs to lows and back again.
When you suspect that your child, a friend, or a romantic partner has BD, you may feel confused as well as helpless.
When they’re in a manic phase, they may abound with creative ideas and seem inspired or genius. But they might also be taking risks, such as pouring money into an entrepreneurial venture that could bankrupt them.
At Precise Research Centers, our founder, Joseph Kwentus, MD, diagnoses and treats BD at our offices in Flowood, Mississippi. There, he and our team offer cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment techniques for BD as part of our free clinical trials.
Do you suspect a loved one has BD? Following is a guide to help you cope and get them the treatment they need.
If you think your loved one may have BD, you’re understandably eager to get them the care it takes to manage their condition and to function and feel better. However, if they’re an adult, they may not be ready to accept help.
One of the challenges with BD is that when someone is in a manic phase, they don’t feel like they need help. In fact, they may feel invincible and even superior to those who can’t appreciate their vision.
And in a depressive phase, even if they know they need help, they don’t believe they can be helped.
You can remind them that new treatments for BD make it easier than ever to mediate the extreme highs and lows and find a productive middle ground. The earlier someone with BD accepts treatment, the more successful it’s likely to be.
Let them know that you’re here to help however you can. Sometimes all somebody with BD needs is a sympathetic ear so they can voice their concerns and worries without feeling like they’re a burden.
During these times, let them know that treatments for BD are available and that you will help them find the right practitioner to give them the support they need to live the full and productive life they deserve.
Also, be patient with their process. Even after they’re in treatment, it may take a while to see improvements in their behaviors and moods.
Prepare yourself in advance for setbacks, too. There’s no cure for BD, and you must be willing to walk the long road with your loved one, as they learn to manage their disease over time.
The more you know about BD, the easier it is for you to deal with its manifestations. You don’t have to get swept up into your loved one’s manic cycles, by either agreeing with their delusions or trying to reason them out of them. You can observe, care, and offer help without taking their behavior personally.
If your child has BD, set daily routines so they know what’s expected of them at all times. This tends to reduce stress and make family life easier. If a friend or romantic partner has BD, you may suggest ways to make things easier for them, such as delegating tasks.
If the idea of seeking help overwhelms a loved one, you can also reduce the stress around medical treatment by:
Helping them get the medical treatment they need can also help you feel more in control of a situation that you never asked for and may not quite know how to manage yourself.
Coping with a loved one’s illness is never easy. With BD, the extra challenges include the ways in which their illness may affect your own life. For instance, if you're married to someone who has BD, their financial recklessness could put you in peril, too.
Be sure to get the support you need, in the form of therapy, friends, and time to yourself. If your loved one is putting you in financial danger, seek the help of experts to protect your assets.
Also remember that once your loved one is in treatment, their doctor is part of your support team, too. Reach out if you see new or recurring symptoms, or if your loved one is not complying with their medication.
Find out how to help your loved one — and yourself — navigate the stormy waters of bipolar disorder. For a diagnosis, evaluation, and to determine if your loved one qualifies for clinical trials, call us at 601-685-3457 or book an appointment online today.
You can also send a message to our team on the website. There’s no cost associated with being in a clinical trial.