How can my family and friends help me manage my bipolar disorder?

John Preston, PsyD
A support system is a network of friends, family, and professionals who are willing and able to provide you with the help you need when you need it. This support could vary from accompanying you on medical visits to supporting you in your maintenance plan to sharing in your exercise program. Your friends or family may also be called upon to care for your children, notify your employer in the event of your hospitalization, or implement any emergency plans you've made. Your doctor, therapist, nurse, or other medical provider is also an important part of your support network, and having a professional to call in a crisis can really make a difference.

It's important to realize that you won't get support if no one knows you need it, and support is vital to your recovery and maintenance plan. In fact, having a support system may save your life. A review of past studies found that, along with medication adherence and psychotherapy, social support is a significant factor in extending survival times of people living with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar 101: A Practical Guide to Identifying Triggers, Managing Medications, Coping with Symptoms, and More

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Bipolar 101: A Practical Guide to Identifying Triggers, Managing Medications, Coping with Symptoms, and More

After receiving a bipolar diagnosis, you need clear answers. Bipolar 101 is a straightforward guide to understanding bipolar disorder. It includes all the information you need to control your...
Successful living with bipolar disorder isn't something you do on your own. It almost always involves help and support from family and friends. During periods of depression, one's connection with loved ones can be the strongest protective factor which that stands between you and your suicidal impulses.
Capacities for accurate self-perception are also frequently impaired by changes brought on by elevated mood. During these times it's essential to be able to "hear" and to trust the input of others regarding your altered mood state. The supportive guiding role of parents, lovers, spouses, close friends and roommates can all be central to your strategy for getting through those difficult times when you feel destabilized.
A diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder can be overwhelming at first. But family and friends can make a big difference in helping you to cope with the diagnosis and deal with Bipolar Disorder on an everyday basis. Family and friends can do many things, most of all being supportive and listening, and accepting you as you are. Family and friends can also help you to create and stick to your treatment plan, lessening the chance of relapse. Seek out your friends who will stick by you and help you through the tough times. Ask them for specific help if needed to create the daily routines which will keep you stable, or for help with getting the required services.

Continue Learning about Living With Bipolar Disorder

Living With Bipolar Disorder

Living With Bipolar Disorder

To manage your bipolar disorder on a daily basis, it is essential that your keep your therapy appointments and take your medications as prescribed. If you experience side effects that you find intolerable, discuss them with your d...

octor. It’s also important to live a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, plenty of sleep and a nutritious diet to avoid other health risks associated with bipolar. Take steps to reduce stress and surround yourself with supportive friends and family who can intervene during manic episodes. When it’s well treated, bipolar disorder should not prevent you from having an enjoyable and successful life.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.