Devising key coping strategies when living with spouse with bipolar disorder

Devising key coping strategies when living with spouse with bipolar disorder

Adam and Braina were married for nearly two decades when one fine day, Adam was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Due to dramatic changes in mood and energy levels, he would experience days of immense hyperactivity and intense sadness. His mood swings overwhelmed Briana that led to their divorce after two years of Adam’s diagnosis.

Living with a spouse suffering from bipolar disorder can be extremely challenging and frustrating, at times. However, with some understanding and strategies in place, one can still navigate through the marriage and preserve it. Some of the below-mentioned tips can help a person lead a productive and satisfying married life even when one of the partners is struggling with bipolar disorder. Some of the tips are:

  • Doing thorough research: To understand how and why one’s partner behaves in a certain way, it is important to get educated about bipolar disorder. It will not only help him or her understand the problem, but also enable him or her cope with it better. Moreover, even the partner grappling with bipolar disorder will feel that he or she has someone’s support.
  • Tracking the symptoms: A person with bipolar disorder tends to struggle with mania and depression in a certain manner. Overtime, a partner should be able to identify the pattern of switching of emotions to determine the coping strategies.
  • Listening intently: It is important to be a good listener to the spouse struggling with bipolar disorder. The spouse may want to share his or her experience of going through both mania and depression. By listening to the partner with bipolar disorder, one can show that he or she really cares for him or her.
  • Watching out for the mania: During a manic episode, different people experience different symptoms. Some might struggle with a verbal diarrhea or play computer games the entire night. For the spouse, it can be overwhelmingly tricky to deal with such symptoms. However, one must not pay much attention to his or her mania, instead focus on the activities in which both the partners can participate.
  • Offering help: A person struggling with bipolar disorder might be so distressed that his or her routine life may get adversely affected. In such scenarios, one should offer him or her help in completing the daily chores like cooking dinner, organizing the wardrobe, taking care of children, etc.
  • Taking medications: During a period with lows and highs, a person struggling with bipolar disorder might think that he or she does not need medicine. These people should be gently reminded to take medicines to avoid flaring up of symptoms on skipping the meds.
  • Indulging in self-love: Taking care of the spouse with bipolar disorder can at times become a herculean task. Thus, one should keep taking breaks and indulge in activities that help him or her feel invigorated and motivated, such as listening to music, joining a dance class, reading a book, meeting a friend, etc.
  • Seeking professional help: Sometimes the symptoms of bipolar disorder can get out of control. In such a situation, it is important to seek professional help at the earliest.

Road to recovery

The treatment of a lifelong condition like bipolar disorder involves managing symptoms to improve the quality of life. Depending on the patient’s needs, the interventions may include medications (mood stabilizers and antidepressants), behavioral therapies (cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family-focused therapy), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or hospitalization.

If a loved one is suffering from any mental health condition, contact the Texas Mental Health Recovery Helpline for more information on the treatment modalities. Chat online or call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-596-4708 for accessing details on the best mental health recovery centers in Texas. Our representatives can assist you in finding the right mental health recovery centers.

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