Today is World Bipolar Day –– a disorder that affects nearly 2.3 million Americans or 1% of the American population. Furthermore, an estimated 17.4 million people suffer from some depressive disorder or another.
If you have bipolar disorder, we want you to know something. You’re not alone.
Our team at Seneca Health Services understands just how challenging it can be to live with your disorder. We want to help. Read on to learn about our best tips for controlling your symptoms and living a better life.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
The National Institute on Mental Illness (NAMI) defines bipolar disorder as a chronic mental condition that causes extreme shifts in mood, behavior, and energy levels.
These emotional episodes may manifest themselves more intensely than typical and occasional mood swings. For example, feelings of overconfidence and excitement often accompany emotional highs (or mania) and can facilitate experiences of hallucination or delusion. On the other hand, feelings of deep sadness often accompany emotional lows and other depressive symptoms.
Average Age, Causes, and Symptoms
The average onset age of bipolar disorder is around 25 years old. However, symptoms may emerge earlier or later.
As we’ve noted elsewhere, possible causes of bipolar disorder are as follows:
- Genetics: If your parents or siblings suffer from this condition, you are more likely to develop it.
- Stress: A stressful event can trigger a manic or depressive episode.
- Brain structure and function: Researchers can detect subtle differences in the brain structure of those with bipolar disorder.
Read here about further symptoms, treatments, and types of Bipolar Disorders.
Coping With Bipolar Disorder: Tip #1 – Get Involved
The first tip in learning to cope with bipolar disorder is to get involved. Impartial participation in the treatment process is a sure-fire way to neglect your health.
We encourage you to learn everything you can about your disorder. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to react and speak competently about the condition to others. The best way to do this is to be patient, pay attention to your doctors and counselors, take your medications as prescribed, and communicate with your treatment providers. The more informed you are, the better.
Coping With Bipolar Disorder: Tip #2 – Monitor Your Triggers
Bipolar episodes don’t happen in a vacuum. Therefore, you must recognize the warning signs of an oncoming manic or depressive episode, ultimately leading to more stable reactions.
Make a list of the symptoms that act as triggers or precedent concerning your most recent mood episode. This can help you avoid and respond appropriately if triggers present themselves. Common triggers include:
- Financial difficulties
- Arguments with your loved ones
- Problems at school or work
- Seasonal changes
- Lack of sleep
Other warning signs may include cravings, headaches, apathy, quick speech, high energy, etc.
Coping With Bipolar Disorder: Tip #3 – Create a Plan
After giving it your best effort, sometimes it still isn’t enough. That’s alright. In these moments, it’s better to be prepared for the worst than always expect the best. Emergency plans aren’t a sign of weakness but strength and wisdom.
An emergency plan of action may include:
- A list of emergency contacts for your doctor, therapist, and close family members
- A list of medications, including dosage information
- Symptoms that indicate that you need others to take responsibility for your care
- Treatment preferences with what treatments do and do not work, and authorized persons permitted to make decisions on your behalf
Coping With Bipolar Disorder: Tip #4 – Be Social
Another helpful thing to remember with a social disorder is to do the opposite. Having a solid support system is often essential to staying happy and healthy.
Face-to-face interaction is an enormous help to those seeking to relieve bipolar depression and increase outlook and motivation in life. These are the people you turn to when you need help; good listeners and good friends. In addition, this group may help you manage stress and other triggers while working on coping mechanisms for the future.
Don’t Wait to Find Help | Seneca Health Services
We could offer more tips and tricks, but this will help push you in the right direction. If you think you may have bipolar disorder and need help, don’t wait. Call Seneca Health Services today. We believe a better life is possible, and our team is ready to help.
Our therapy professionals are trained to compassionately help you cope with whatever may be troubling you and will work in conjunction with your psychiatrist or medical provider if medications are needed.
If you’d like to learn more about our services, contact Seneca Health at 888.SENECA9 or use the link provided. We know it’s hard to take the first step –– let us help.