Managing Bipolar Disorder

Helen Stuart By Helen Stuart, 27th Apr 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Mental Health

There are many things a person can do in addition to medication to help maintain stability and happiness with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.

Self Help for Stability with Bipolar Disorder

Once a person with bipolar disorder is relatively stabilized on the best medications for him or her, there are many things they can do to help manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder that do not involve just pharmaceutical pills alone.

Find the right therapist. If you don't leave therapy feeling either a little relieved about your stressors, or a little better armed to deal with the week ahead, you may not have a good match with your therapist. Some therapists may keep delving into the past when you may need to deal with how to get through the here and now as well. This is called Cognitive Behaviorial Therapy (or CBT) and it is very effective in working with people with bipolar disorder. When you go to your therapist, take a list of things that triggered your symptoms, what your symptoms were, (depression or hypomania) and what happened in response. Also take a list of things that are coming up in the week ahead that you are worried about and ask how you might use your mind to relax yourself and not worry so much about them.

Use your medications as prescribed and report any problems to your doctor. Many patients have difficulty sleeping and take an extra antipsychotic. This is not only dangerous, but even if it is within your doctor's guidelines and you find yourself sleeping too much during the day, insist on a medication review. It is better to be prescribed something to sleep than taking the ultimate maximum of your anti-psychotic and becoming overly tired and understimulated. Let the doctor make the call, but if you are in bed most of the day, this will present a major problem in overcoming obstacles in your life and setting and meeting goals.

Exercise. Your brain is always getting a workout (unless you are overmedicated) make sure your body does too. Bi polar medications may make you feel sluggish, but the answer lies in fighting back with activity. It will also greatly enhance your mood. If you're out of shape, you can start with thirty minutes a day of aerobic activity, and break it up into any size segments you can handle. Even six five minute workouts of marching in place or riding a stationery bike, or dancing. You'll be surprised how fast you start getting strong and craving the oxygen to your brain and muscles.

Ask your doctor about supplements, particularly fish oil. Fish oil and the omega fatty acids in it have long been studied as helpful in all sorts of therapy involving nerves and the mind, for those with and without mental illness. Eating lots of oily fish, even tuna, canned salmon and mackerel has proven to lower heart rates, blood pressure, and the rate at which people become upset.

Exercise mentally. Write, keep a journal, paint, even do puzzles. Eventually you may decide on a project you'd like to complete, whether it's building a cabinet or knitting a sweater, or learning to toll paint. Having a hobby is far more than just "having a hobby." It's a healthy validation of your expression and creativity to remind you that you are more than your disorder.


Bipolar, Depression, Mania, Medication, Self Care, Stability, Symptoms

Meet the author

author avatar Helen Stuart
I've spent most of my life in the Deep South, and I love animals, nature, and what makes my fellow humans tick. I have an obsession with self-expression, I write, sculpt and paint, anything I can do.

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author avatar Songbird B
30th Apr 2013 (#)

A really informative article Helen, and taking away so much of the scary tales associated with Bi-polar. Both my Sister-in-law and one of my friend's has this medical condition, so I know a little about it and how difficult it can be with the highs and lows.. Good advice and an insightful read. \0/x

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
16th Dec 2013 (#)

Good morning, Helen; working with the addicted population for more than 25 years, there have been a significant number that carry Bi-polar as another diagnosis. You are exactly right about learning skills to better function today. Delving into the past is beneficial, for patterns and healing and this can be true for Bi-polar as well, however, solutions for today, above and beyond medications are appropriate and you have covered many of them quite well. Thanks for this article. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Helen Stuart
16th Dec 2013 (#)

Thanks Marilyn, since I wrote this I learned that I also have DID, and that may be my main dx, been working on it in therapy, doing good and starting to enjoy life.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
16th Dec 2013 (#)

Good morning, again; you are fortunate to have found some help and I encourage your determination to get better. ~Marilyn

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