8 Tips for Treating Bipolar Disorder
Imagine waking up one morning and feeling elated. You have endless energy and accomplish your to-do list with focus and enthusiasm. On days like this, you have a blast joking around with friends and entertaining. You feel like you can do anything you put your mind to, and you’re optimistic about the future. Life couldn’t be better.
But soon the extreme high eventually fades and is replaced by emptiness, sadness, or anger. You no longer enjoy the things you used to and just want to be left alone. On the worst days, you may even contemplate suicide.
For those with bipolar disorder, these two extremes go hand-in hand, with episodes often coming on unexpectedly and lasting for indeterminate periods of time.
If you’re one of the 5.7 million Americans suffering from bipolar disorder, your life is defined by constant mood fluctuations, shifts in activity level, and unusual sleep patterns. While living with bipolar disorder can feel overwhelming at times, managing it doesn’t have to be. If you’re ready to get your symptoms under control, here are a few things you can do that will help.
Tips for treating bipolar disorder
- Seek professional help
Therapy is very important for people with bipolar disorder. If your mood is stable, this can mean scheduling monthly check-ins with your psychiatrist. Otherwise, more regular therapy can help you establish healthy habits, understand your thoughts, and maintain relationships.
- Keep up with your meds
Always take your medication exactly as prescribed. If you experience side effects, make a note of your concerns and call your doctor to schedule an appointment. Discontinuing meds on your own can worsen your symptoms and even trigger an episode.
- Establish a sleep schedule
For people with bipolar disorder, sleep deprivation is one of the biggest triggers for a manic episode. Establishing a bedtime routine and sleep schedule will ensure you get the rest you need. Go to bed at the same time each night and set an alarm for the same time every day.
- Connect with others
Achieving equilibrium in your social life can help manage symptoms of bipolar disorder, as overstimulation and isolation can both trigger problems. Pick up a hobby or sport, or volunteer for a cause that you’re passionate about. Giving your mind a focus outside yourself can be very therapeutic.
- Chart your symptoms
Keep a daily chart of your mood, sleep, and irritability and anxiety levels. You may also want chart your food and exercise to see if you can spot any patterns. Suicidal thoughts are a sign of depression, and will signal that it’s time to check in with your doctor.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
To avoid worsening your symptoms, it’s best to steer clear of alcohol and drugs completely. While you may feel that alcohol helps you cope during your depressive periods, it might actually be contributing to sleep issues and dramatic changes in mood.
- Find support
You don’t have to suffer alone. While you may not feel like talking at times, it’s important to open up to your friends and family about what you’re going through. They may be able to provide a new perspective on your triggers and help you avoid them.
- Don’t give up
At Affinity Treatment Centers, we often find that patients have been on the appropriate medications, but were not taking the proper dose. While it can be frustrating to constantly try new doses and combinations, don’t give up. There is something that will work for you.
We’re here to help
If you or a loved one is suffering from bipolar disorder, the mental health professionals at Affinity Treatment Centers are here to help. While bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, continuous treatment with medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes can help you attain stabilization and a better quality of life.
Whether you’re in need of long-term residential care or daily treatment, our staff will structure a unique program to help you manage your symptoms and accomplish your personal goals. Contact us today to speak to someone about our mental health services and to schedule a tour of our facility. We think you’ll find it to be the perfect place to renew your mind, body, and soul.