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Advice for getting treatment for bipolar disorder

Frank Healy Licensed Professional Counselor, Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory Associates For Life Enhancement

Do you have mood swings? Have you had periods in your life when you were depressed and other times when you had so much energy that you did not need to sleep? When you had the energy did you do reckless things such as get into a car wreck when you were driving too fast or exhaust a credit card in one day? If you have had these signs and symptoms, you may have a condition called bipolar disorder.

Being bipolar includes periods where you are manic, with high energy and decreased need for sleep. It can also include depressed periods where you lose interest in everything and want to isolate yourself and do nothing. For some people, the periods last for a month or more and for others they may last a couple of days to a week. Rapid Cycling is when you have the mood swings throughout the course of the day. Sometimes your mood swings will seem like reactions to an event, such as being depressed after a death in the family, but other times your mood swings with no apparent cause. This article will give you advice on how to help yourself when you have bipolar disorder, and it will also include mistakes to avoid.


Do seek help from a qualified therapist and prescriber

With bipolar disorder it is important to get help through a therapist and a psychiatrist. There are medications for bipolar disorder that differ from the medications used for depression. Lithium was the first drug used, but now you have many options. Call your insurance for qualified therapists and psychiatrists who have experience with bipolar disorder. Don’t hesitate to ask questions when you call and inquire about treatment.

Do schedule your days to avoid being overwhelmed and underwhelmed

If you have struggled with bipolar disorder for a long time, you probably became concerned about how different events in your life are going to affect your mood. For example, if you are going on a cruise or an exciting vacation, you might be concerned that it could trigger a manic episode. Or if you are a woman with bipolar disorder who wants to have children, you can be concerned about an increased risk for postpartum depression. It helps to plan your life with a level of stimulation that you are comfortable with.

Do learn cognitive therapy from your therapist

Cognitive therapy helps you manage your thoughts. The best way to manage your mood is to combine medication with therapy. Cognitive therapy is based on the premise that thoughts create feelings. For example, if you are thinking thoughts that life is not good, then you are likely to get depressed. If you think thoughts that you will not be able to handle things, you will get anxious. When you think thoughts that life is unfair, you will get angry. Although bipolar disorder has an organic component, when you are on the medication you can help yourself further by regulating your thoughts.

Do learn anger management techniques

Whether you are depressed or manic, you are vulnerable to anger. When you are depressed the anger comes from the heavy feeling from depression. When you are manicky anger comes from an interruption in your good time. It would help to have some anger management as part of your therapy. Walk away from a situation if you can when you are getting angry.

Do accept that you will have mood swings at times

You will have mood swings even when you are on medication and in therapy. They will not be as intense as they might have been when you were not in treatment. However, everyone has days when they do not feel as good as they do on other days. You should still be able to work and live a normal life.


Do not think that life is going well when you are in a manic episode

Many people with bipolar stop taking their medicine when they feel good. If you have been depressed, even a stable period can feel good, and with bipolar you do have stable periods. When you are in a manic state you will feel that everything is good so why bother taking medication. Don’t make this common mistake. Stay on your medication and participate in your therapy.

Do not stop treatment when you are depressed or stable

Depressed people often get so depressed that they do not feel that anything will help them. When you are in the depressed part of bipolar disorder, recognize that it is probably temporary, your mood will improve if you stay on your medication, and will yourself to keep living and not isolating yourself from your friends, family, and daily activities.

Also, don’t stop treatment when you are stable. People with bipolar disorder do have periods when they are stable and feeling as if they are completely fine. When you are not depressed or in a manic state, continue to take your medication and participate in therapy.

Do not confuse bipolar with seasonal affective disorder

Seasonal affective disorder is when someone feels depressed during the colder and darker months of the year. If you feel depressed in the late fall and winter, but have had mood swings all year, then it is bipolar disorder. Your psychiatrist and therapist can answer any questions you have about the differences between disorders.

Do not pity yourself

Sometimes it can feel like an additional challenge to have to watch your mood all the time. People with bipolar often say that it is unfair that they have to work, pay bills, and have all of the hassles that others have, and additionally they have to deal with their mood swings. Although it is understandable to get angry and upset over your illness, you should be grateful for the help you have and live a well adjusted life.

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When you have bipolar disorder, you can still live a healthy and productive life. But only if you get therapy and medication. Mood swings do not have to run your life, and they can be controlled with regular therapy and medication as recommended by your psychiatrist.

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Frank HealyLicensed Professional Counselor, Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory

Frank Healy is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of New Jersey. He counsels people with depression and anxiety. He has Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory. He remembers every day of his life since he was six years old. This incl...

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