Is bipolar disorder becoming more common or is it a coincidence that I have heard it spoken of so often in the past couple of years? The actress, Catherine Zeta Jones, has very recently “come out” to tell us that she is suffering from bipolar 11 (which is a less severe version of this condition). This mental illness used to be known as manic depression but it can be treated to enable those with the disorder to go on to lead full and productive lives. “Bipolar disorder or manic depression is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and moods, with or without one or more depressive episodes.
” Bipolar disorder is not something that a partner or family member can handle on their own and should be treated by a psychiatrist.
Agreeing to see a specialist can sometimes be the hardest part
They might not agree with you that there is a problem. Dealing with a family member or friend with bipolar can push your patience and endurance to the limit. But remember that this is not their fault any more than a serious physical illness is their fault.
- You need to be especially compassionate and understanding to take on this task of helping.
- You need to view the behaviour of the person in the context of the illness itself.
- You need to understand that if they become angry, moody or defensive, it is usually a symptom of the bipolar.
- You need to put yourself into their position of what it must be like to wake up and not know before the day starts whether you are going to ranting and raving, deeply depressed or on a high note of achievement and success.
- You need to do your own research so that you are fully aware of all the signs and symptoms of bipolar.
- You need to know that the support of family or friends of a sufferer is vital to their treatment and recovery.
- You need to be able to tell that person that you love and care about them however horrible their actions are – and that is not always easy.
- If you are anxious or cross, they will quickly catch on to your feelings – even perceiving your response as a threat and making it worse or they become defensive.
Severe mood swings can range from lows of depression to highs of mania
Those with the disorder may find that when they become depressed, they may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest and pleasure in daily activities but they may just as easily become difficult and abusive so that you do not know where you stand with them. When their mood shifts the other way, they can feel on top of the world, euphoric and full of energy. These mood changes obviously vary from person to person – they can be a few times during a year or they can be as often as several times a day. What makes it even more difficult to those around is that the mood swings from one extreme to the other can be almost instantaneous.
Bipolar moods can be treated with psychological counselling and medications
In addition there are other ways to assist with the treatment and these include eating healthily and making sensible lifestyle changes. Also helpful is:
- Having a good night's sleep every night
- Taking a class in Thai Chi
- Spending time in the sunlight and enjoying nature
- Practicing stress management