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Bipolar Disorder: Preventing Manic Episodes

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

(Page 1 of 2)  

For a caregiver of someone with bipolar disorder, having fun may be the furthest thing from their mind when dealing with a manic or depressive episode, medication trials and errors, and just frustration with the entire situation. A loved one living with bipolar disorder still wants to feel included and normal, however. With some basic knowledge, ways to handle surprises, and a sense of love and hope, this feat can be accomplished successfully.

Prepare ahead

Itís not necessary for everyone in a large group setting to necessarily know about and understand a personís bipolar condition. A select few close friends and family will benefit from having a bunch of tricks up their sleeve, so to speak, for ways to avoid fun turning into failure.

Empathy is a big one. Itís knowing what a loved one is feeling and really, truly caring for their challenges. A caregiver wonít get far without it.

After that, what are the loved oneís triggers? Large crowds? Loud noise? Donít take them to those types of places. Just donít. It may seem like they could ďget outĒ for a while. If it sets their emotional reactions on high, a calm atmosphere will be much more enjoyable in the end.

Constant communication with how a loved one feels about activities is important for a caregiver. Do they like going to dinner? Or taking a walk? What are the types of events/outings they enjoy and feel they can manage successfully? This attitude also gives them control, something that many people with bipolar disorder struggle with maintaining in many areas of life.

Sometimes having a planned-ahead, structured schedule is a good idea. Loved ones living with bipolar disorder do best with knowing whatís to come and are able to mentally prep themselves for any new or scary experiences. They also have a finer memory of past experiences than the average person. If they didnít like something before, chances are they will remember it and resist trying it again.
Caregivers take on a lot of burden, and this is just one more place. They may lose their choice of fun activities, but also gain a more full and satisfying relationship with a loved one.

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