This is called having co-morbidities. Become familiar with the symptoms so you can recognize if you need to seek help for your loved one. When pleasurable pastimes like shopping, gaming, or online socializing cross the line from enjoyable to excessive, it may be time to tame your overindulgences. So proper nutrition in terms of caloric intake is of utmost importance. Dr. Galynker, do major changes in life trigger the onset of illness? Living well with bipolar disorder requires certain adjustments. First of all, if somebody is doing well clinically and responding to medications, the diagnosis is much more likely correct. Stress is the first sign that someone could be having a breakdown. Well, I really feel for you, and in fact what we're trying to do in our center is avoid that at the very outset. “It seems that misdiagnosis is really common. For a long time, I was sad, and then I was trying to be sympathetic, and then I kind of festered with my resentment. I thought, maybe he needs to talk to a counselor or see a therapist, but it really didn't strike me right away as mental illness. Dont wait to see if they will get better without treatment. At first I went into this crisis management mode, but I think of it as “caregiver's bipolar disorder.” I attached my mental well-being to his, in that when things were going well and it felt like we were on the upswing, I became so elated, and I thought, Oh, finally we have solved this problem and now we can get on with our lives. I'm a very resilient, strong person myself, and so for a long time my frustration was, Why doesn't he just get his act together? Well, how important is communication when dealing with someone with bipolar disorder? Method 1 of 3: Working on Your Self-Confidence. One is when somebody is a danger to themselves, another one is when somebody is a danger to others, and the third one is when somebody cannot take care of themselves. Once he received his diagnosis, did he begin a different medication regimen? And we didn't have a case manager per se, and John's primary physician didn't really take on that role. Do either one of you want to handle that one? I learn so much from you Julie. This time he was diagnosed with bipolar and depression. Some of the clues that I had were so strange, and I think only a family member or a spouse would be tuned in to them. Educating yourself about the condition, its symptoms, and prognosis can help you gain a clearer understanding of what your loved one is … When they want to, those with narcissistic personalities are … Anxiety is a significant part of living with bipolar disorder. ... I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who deals with these depressive downswings. These experiences run the gamut from wonderful and exciting to confusing, disappointing and devastating. I find that interesting, because my mother was bipolar and she also didn't have the stereotypical highs. I want you to do the same. It's a new center that we started about a year ago at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and it is based on the premise that bipolar illness is a chronic mental illness just like any other medical illness, in fact it affects other organs, not only the brain. We need to eliminate the stigma. Sometimes you yourself will crash and need to take a mental health break or consult with a behavioral professional to regain your equilibrium. Well, Rebecca, were there additional obstacles or challenges you had to overcome that we haven't spoken about? In regard to vitamins supplements, I would take just regular multivitamins because if he doesn't have enough leafy vegetables or does not eat enough red meat, both of these can lead to serious problems. When I was first diagnosed with my mental illness, bipolar 1, over ten years ago, my friends and fam i ly stopped treating me like I was on an even playing field with them. And I had to work really hard at overcoming my own personal hang-ups and, quite frankly, my embarrassment about admitting that my husband had mental illness. arrggg.. Buying cars on a road trip 1500 miles from home base, doesn’t seem like a good idea. The first thing that needs to be done when there is a bipolar person in the family is to establish an atmosphere where symptoms can be discussed freely, medications can be discussed freely and anybody can talk about anything without being afraid, in the same way people discuss chest pains and abdominal pains or pregnancy and symptoms of pregnancy. And as I mentioned earlier, he's had some medical training and was a really bright, intelligent guy, so he could talk his way through these conversations in a way that I know did not convey the reality of our situation, and that was more of an issue for me. 3. Truth is, most people can say they’ve been there, done that. We have a live caller from West Virginia. I’m only 54. But I have taught myself that I am in there, too! Bipolar marriage breakdown often follows serial infidelity and poor management of the disorder. For example, if your loved one’s driving grows risky during a manic episode, then insist on driving or decline to be a passenger in her car. It was like, Uh-oh. Breaking Bipolar. Yes, if I were to tease out that case there are probably two ways to try to work with it. Steps . We had a contract so that we said, “You know, John, if I say things are bad, that's the final word because I'm a more reliable reporter about this than you are.” And that really helped us a lot, because then he knew not to fight me when I indicated that things needed to be attended to more carefully. Okay. Bipolar Disorder. On the days when I wanted to die and stay in bed, I remembered what I wrote in my books and simply used the strategies even though it felt impossible. Okay. It’s best if you break that chain and say to yourself, “I know I feel hurt and anxious right now. One of the keys to your survival as a caregiver is to see bipolar disorder as a disease of the brain, not just a mental illness. Here, learn about the signs and when to seek help. The second thing that may impact the ability of a person with bipolar disorder to have relationships is routine. Attend therapy sessions, help monitor her medication and engage in treatment activities with her. Walking can help you balance bipolar moods, relieve stress, sleep better, and feel less lonely. So structured sleep, structured vacations, decreased chaos and spontaneity would be protective. It doesn't make much sense that a person who is in treatment for a mental illness is responsible for making major decisions without family being involved. We have an e-mail from Chris from El Cajon, California, “When my son, 15, appears to be going into an episode, he flies into a rage if I call his doctor. Find help and advice for managing bipolar disorder during the holiday season and avoiding bipolar symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and mania. 2. This is absolutely not the time to shut the family out. I'm skeptical about his true condition. Engage Coping Skills – In addition to alerting your counselor or doctor, you can utilize coping … Their struggle is not your own, yet it hurts you to see it. People kind of still feel okay, but they may not be as careful grooming themselves or seeing their friends and kind of don't feel like doing things that they like. Knowing that he can’t help himself doesn’t make it any easier. For my mother, it was like she would get a thought, somebody would say something in a conversation, and she just would not leave that thought even if the conversation would move. Navigating the medical system and figuring out what kind of care we needed. During this webcast, our experts will discuss how to care for yourself while helping someone with bipolar disorder. I think that the depth of the depression seemed to get worse. It was so painful. Doctor, how about you? Oh, no. I’ve been very ill these past 2 months. Making these healthy choices will help you keep your symptoms under control, minimize mood episodes, and take control of your life. Yes. Bipolar disorder is an illness like any other medical condition. My SELF knew this was the right thing to do and I planned to simply move forward with the project. I’m going to write down theses questions, answer them and keep them on file for when I need them. Years ago, she was going through a bad depressive episode after moving... READ MORE And specifically, something called expressed emotion, a combination of the kind of style in the family which is overinvolvement and criticism, is likely to cause or precipitate bipolar disorder in people who are vulnerable. The proper diagnosis is by history. Is there anything that I should be getting him in the way of supplements? He is destroying himself as well as our family. Each time he'd start one when we were in a somewhat better period, but things would just build up to the point where he couldn't cope. I mean, the one time when he didn't really want to be there, I went back to my car and I shut the door and I just sobbed and screamed until I was able to pull myself together and go home and take care of my kids. Here I identify and debunk the top 10 myths I believed about my diagnosis. My SELF knew this was the right thing to do and I planned to simply move forward with the project. Help to reduce triggers that aggravate the person’s symptoms (e.g.reduce stimulation that makes their hypomania or mania worse such as noise, clutter, caffeine, social gatherings). Rebecca, do you have anything you want to add to that? That’s okay. I am not this illness. My SOUL, the real Julie, the SELF is simply being attacked by an illness. Anxiety, other mental health issues, or stress can trigger what people used to call a 'nervous breakdown.' So I don't know whether that was unique or not. This is the time to be open, actually. He refuses to help himself. Unless you are bipolar! Did the treatment help, or did it make things worse? Well, how did you know that something was wrong? We have an e-mail from Valencia, California. Someone always … Those, I think, would be the two big ones. What about those coping methods? Bipolar rage is a serious mental health condition and needs appropriate intervention. It’s also important to safeguard your physical and financial safety. And I think of it as becoming almost paralyzed by the challenges of daily life. The family must be involved, and if you're not getting it when your loved one is sick, demand it. Binge-watching the latest fad series. Is this common?”. Bipolar depression is much more difficult to treat than bipolar mania. If somebody you love has bipolar disorder, you can't help them until you deal with your own hang-ups about mental illness and until you learn how to ask for help and until you learn how to take care of yourself. Spending hours on a video game. What kind of tests do we have for this kind of condition? And to know, this too shall pass. Also, if others are in the room with you, don’t speak about him as if he is not there. During a period of a few years when things really were not managed psychopharmacologically, he had to quit three different jobs. How do I help without sounding like a nag? With regard to the clinical picture, one-third of manias are what you both described, which is dysphoric or irritable mania when you don't have highs but you have periods of intense irritability, which is probably a less well-known fact than it should be. In a moment when he was very lucid and calm and rational and we were able to discuss it, he kind of acknowledged that. You are helping so many. I have mixed episodes and at times find it very hard just to get out of bed and get to work. How should people cope with his or her loved one when they are experiencing those extreme highs and lows? Can these misdiagnoses and treatments deepen the effects of bipolar due to the wrong medication and therapy treatment? We'll talk about how to handle a major crisis, ways to set healthy boundaries for yourself, communication and coping tips, and resources to reduce the isolation you may feel when a family member has bipolar disorder. Most people with bipolar illness actually spend about 10 times more time depressed than manic. Don't isolate yourself. He has threatened suicide.”. I think it's been about two years since we really got on the right track. Well, and what happened with his job? Find one that works for you. Participate in treatment. The good news is that most people with bipolar disorder can stabilize their moods with proper treatment, medication, and support. I think we have time for this e-mail from Warren, Michigan, “How do you deal with an adult son - he's 28 years old - who refuses to take his medication or go to counseling? And you would not measure what they do and their level of their activity and sleep against other average people, but going back you would realize that the person was doing maybe double of what a regular person was doing at the time. They became who he was. This is the start. Well, I think that his thoughts of self destructiveness became pronounced where that hadn't been an issue initially. They create a crazy household: screaming, yelling, causing fights between me and my boyfriend.”. Because he struck upon something that really resonated with me. If I committed suicide, I wouldn’t have to deal with the pain of my decision, or explain myself to anybody. My sick brain was telling me that I was not going to survive. When a Bipolar Heart Breaks . I just went through what we called a ‘nervous breakdown’ in the ’70s. And maybe I'll have a chance to talk about that, but that is just a wrong approach. Could you act in a more constructive way? We have an e-mail from Agnes in San Francisco, “I have lived with this illness for 33 years. Well, it depends on whether it is mania or depressive episode, and these two are very, very different. And if you repeatedly try to be supportive and the person does not take medications and your family is at risk, you say, “Either you do it or I'm walking out.”. I'm your host, Heather Stark. I hope I'm finding you in good spirits today. Well, Dr. Galynker, was Rebecca's way of coping healthy? John and I always had a strong relationship. Five minutes later, 10 minutes later, an hour later she's still on that one thought. And it's so hard to imagine how somebody who is mentally ill can get well in that environment, that the idea of leaving them on their own when you feel that more than ever you need to be by their side, but instead you're on the other side of a locked door. It was really a crisis. He is severely bipolar with anxiety attacks and obsessive compulsive. Well, it's so difficult. They are not necessarily the views of HealthTalk, our sponsors or any outside organization. Do you have some advice for our e-mailer? So it wasn't that it was a phase or an issue that we could work through. Thank you. Once again I’m convalescing; to recover and build strength. The people, the patients, have limited ability to contact you. And, in fact, some of the side effects that he experienced were really worse than the original condition. You might be patient with somebody who is depressed, but then you have to be fairly forceful with somebody who is manic. In the moment, it doesn’t feel like it is working. I don't know what you mean by “common.” For instance, in the unit that I worked at we would have, depending on the patient mix, anywhere from zero to 10 instances of restraints per month.