Learning To Cope With Bi-Polar Disorder
Bipolar disorder can be one of the most perplexing conditions a person can be afflicted with, as it is by nature unstable or sporadic, and can even appear to be beneficial to a person’s life before it spirals too far out of control and becomes undeniably detrimental.
People in the midst of a “manic episode”, which is often used to characterize bi-polar disorder, become moody, energetic, and often excessively elated. They tend to speak rapidly, jump around from topic to topic, and be incredibly distractable. Worst of all, those dealing with more serious manic episodes become dangerously impulsive. Some go one wild spending sprees, while others drive recklessly. Most commonly, a manic person often gains an exaggerated sense of their importance.
What makes this tricky is that during milder manic episodes, the inflated ego, increased energy, limited need for sleep, and rapid-fire thinking can lead to unbelievable productivity and social abilities. Many become very outgoing, and believe themselves to be the center of attention or the life of the party.
When these episodes become more severe however, they become psychotic or detached from reality. The impulsiveness can lead to irresponsible work decisions, or completely ignoring your employment in some. The worst cases become convinced of patently false ideas, such as being able to see the future.
Then, when the manic episodes are over, many bi-polar disorder sufferers swing to the opposite emotional pole, becoming excessively sad or depressed, often losing all energy and loss of interest in activities, often culminating in suicidal thoughts. One of the most common statements I hear from sufferers is that they aren’t worthy of God’s love or salvation.
Possibly the most dangerous situation for bi-polar patients is when these two experiences become conflated in a “mixed episode” of mania and depression. The patient can be highly energetic, active, and impulsive, while also being wildly anxious and irritable, and feeling worthless.
Thankfully, there are many medical treatments for the condition, all of which rely on professional counseling to help patients learn to deal with the emotional problems and stressors that cause manic or depressive episodes. Many will prescribe some some form of mood stabilizer in partnership with the counseling, but it is often necessary for family or friends to ensure bi-polar patients are taking their medicine regularly as some believe they are “cured” when they return to normal, and many even miss the “high” of the manic episodes.
There are also numerous lifestyle changes that can be advised to help people manage their bipolar disorder. If you’d like to learn more, Dr. Todd W. Hall, Ph.D. created a list of suggested lifestyle adjustments that can be used to help control the emotional triggers of bi-polar disorder, as well as answering the most commonly asked questions about the condition.