Discrimination and Stigma Against Patients with Depression and Bipolar Disorder
The 5 Biggest Challenges of Bipolar Disorder
If you have bipolar disorder, the emotional swings between mania and depression can create some major turbulence in your life. Working with a psychiatrist or therapist — and your support network — to create healthy coping strategies can make a big difference in how well you deal with the common challenges associated with this disorder.
Here are five of the biggest bipolar challenges, along with tips to help you cope with them:
1. Diagnosing the Disease
One of the big challenges in dealing with bipolar disorder is recognizing both the depression and the mania. A doctor who just sees you for depression, for instance, may only prescribe antidepressants and incorrectly diagnose you with major depression.
“We know from many people with bipolar disorder that depression may be the predominant phase of illness, but an episode of mania or hypomania changes the diagnosis and potentially changes treatment options that will be most therapeutic,” says , a psychiatrist, professor, chair of the Mayo Clinic Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, and the director of the Mayo Clinic Depression Center in Rochester, Minn.
If you notice that your mood swings between euphoric highs and depressive lows, make sure your doctor understands that you’re experiencing both of these ups and downs so that the treatment regimen prescribed to you will cover the full spectrum of your symptoms.
2. Addressing Addiction
Addiction is another major hurdle for people with bipolar disorder. A study published in the January 2013 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry suggested that more than 47 percent of people with bipolar disorder also have a substance abuse problem, and that these illnesses can be difficult to treat together.
Experts don’t fully understand the link between bipolar disorder and addiction, but self-medicating with drugs and alcohol can be a risky coping strategy.
“Many people with bipolar disorder describe trying to self-medicate depression or trying to use drugs and alcohol to promote sleep,” Dr. Frye says. He notes that doctors should carefully screen for addiction in people with bipolar disorder and screen for bipolar disorder in people with addiction.
If you’re struggling with addiction, be honest with your doctor and ask for help so that addiction can be managed as part of your bipolar disorder treatment plan. Remember, there are healthier ways to deal with depression, sleep difficulties, and any other problems associated with bipolar disorder that may cause you to feel the urge to self-medicate.
3. Finding the Right Medication
There are about 15 different medications approved to manage bipolar disorder, says John Beyer, MD, a psychiatrist and director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. And while experts are learning that a combination of medications is often most effective, it can be tough to figure out just the right mix.
“The most effective method is for patients to keep a daily mood journal that will track not only the emotional treatment response, but also other symptoms such as anxiety, sleep, hormonal cycle, and significant life events,” he says. Beyer also recommends that patients bring this journal to appointments to review, along with any questions they may have. “This will also allow for a more open discussion on potential problems such as side effects or the roles of stress, diet, and exercise in bipolar treatment.”
And, you can always do your part by taking good care of yourself. Follow your treatment plan and take your medication. Live a healthy lifestyle with a consistent routine, healthy diet, and plenty of sleep. And if you feel your bipolar disorder symptoms spiraling out of control, seek help promptly.
4. Managing Relationships
Bipolar disorder can strain even the strongest relationships, so it’s important to nurture your relationships with the people you care about and to try to be attentive, even when you’re struggling. This starts with understanding that your friends, family, caregivers, and other loved ones are also affected by your disease. Talk to your loved ones about ways to keep relationships strong.
“It is very well recognized that the key to a healthy emotional life is to have stable social support systems and relationships,” says Beyer. “We strongly recommend that patients include their significant others in their treatment plan.” That includes bringing loved ones to appointments to allow them to offer their own feedback when moods become unstable, he adds.
Beyer also recommends family therapy sessions, as well as educational groups for individuals with bipolar disorder and for loved ones. Loved ones can play an important role in treatment. “Helping to hold the person with bipolar disorder accountable — when it comes to consistently taking medications, participating in treatment, or keeping a structured daily schedule — is in excellent way for significant others to be involved with treatment,” says Beyer
5. Building a Support Network
Feeling like no one understands you or your bipolar disorder can make you feel more isolated and withdrawn, but finding a support network can help bolster a sense of community and kinship. Frye says that advocacy groups like the and the can be very valuable for people with bipolar disorder. These groups enable people with bipolar disorder to join a community that provides support, education, and advice that can help them work toward recovery.
Video: 3 Hard Truths About Bipolar Disorder
Arugula, Steak, and Crispy Potato Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette
How not having a credit card could hurt your credit score
Why You Always Want Ginger Ale When Youre Flying
Brad Pitt And Angelina Jolie Just Put Their New Orleans Mansion On The Market
Jimmy Kimmel: Trump and The Rock in the 2020 presidential election
Is Madonna Right: Are Women The Most Marginalised Group’
12 Metabolism-Boosting Foods To Always Keep On Hand
Here’s how to tell if the 5:2 diet is right for you
How to Make a Flower Crown
Prom Hairstyles for Medium Length Hair
7 Supplements That Melt Fat
How to Study Overseas for Free
What should be your diet routine during festive seasons