The Barriers that Accompany Bipolar Disorder

Living day to day with bipolar disorder can be unbearable. Moment after moment, wondering which mood will come out next and how it will affect your day and interactions with those around you is exhausting. Spells of depression and lethargy claim any free time that may exist, and explaining how you feel to friends and family seems impossible. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes dramatic shifts in an individual’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly. If you or your loved one is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it is best to seek treatment offered by medically trained professionals to alleviate the intensity of symptoms. Every individual deserves to wake up with the will to live and excitement in their heart. Coping strategies can help.

Obstacles of Bipolar Disorder

People who suffer from Bipolar Disorder face many daily challenges. Low energy, manic episodes, moodiness, reckless urges, sudden irritability, and hopelessness are just a few emotional obstacles experienced throughout the day. More symptoms include:

  • Unpredictable mood swings
  • Inability to complete tasks
  • Changes in energy, activity, and sleep
  • “Manic” (overly joyful) or “depressive” (extreme sad or hopeless state) episodes
  • Irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts and hopelessness
  • Noticeable fluctuations in daily activity levels
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Substance Abuse Disorders (Dual Diagnosis)

Individuals with bipolar disorder are also prone to drug and alcohol abuse. Substances may appear as a temporary solution to the pain but this only compounds the problem.

An individual having a manic episode may:

  • Feel elated
  • Be agitated or “touchy”
  • Express a lot of energy
  • Have increased activity levels
  • Feel “jumpy”
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Talk quickly about a bunch of non-related topics

An individual having a depressive episode may:

  • Feel sad, empty or hopeless
  • Forget things a lot
  • Express very little energy
  • Have decreased activity levels
  • Have trouble sleeping, they may sleep too little or too much
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Overeat or under eat
  • Think about death or suicide

Relationships with friends, family members, coaches, teachers, and coworkers can commonly be inconsistent or on the rocks because of the severe mood swings. Individuals with bipolar disorder experience heightened emotional states that can accentuate their current mood. Long-term friendships are rare and new friendships are often short-lived. Individuals with bipolar disorder sometimes find it difficult to tolerate the behavior of others when they’re in the middle of an episode or mood. Because of this strain on relationships, it can lead many to live isolated lives, when really, what is most needed is support, guidance and a renewed sense of belonging.

Coping Strategies for Bipolar Disorder

Talking with a licensed mental health professional is the first step for anyone who thinks he or she may be experiencing bipolar disorder. A combination of treatments can be used to reduce side effects and symptoms such as, individual and family therapy sessions, one-on-one and group counseling, psychotherapy, medications, dietary modifications and breathing exercises and meditation.

Common medications used to treat bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics, and antidepressants.

Psychotherapy treatments used to treat bipolar disorder include Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Family-focused therapy, Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy.

Psychoeducation Resources for these coping methods are abundant and easily accessible in centers such as Advantage Mental Health Center. If you, or someone you love, suffers from the symptoms of bipolar disorder, get help today. Call to schedule an appointment.