Dating Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Being There for Your Partner
By | July 25th, 2023
You’ve been dating for a few months, and things are going great. But recently, your new partner opened up about their bipolar disorder treatment in California diagnosis. If you’re like many people worldwide, you may not know much about bipolar disorder or what it really means for your relationship. Bipolar disorder causes extreme mood swings, from manic highs to depressing lows. The good news is that, with treatment like therapy or medication and your support, bipolar disorder doesn’t have to derail your relationship.
Discover the true meaning of it and its impact on your partner’s behavior. Gain the knowledge you need to navigate this journey with understanding and support. Start reading!
What Does It Mean If Your Partner Suffers From Bipolar Disorder?
If your partner lives with bipolar disorder, you’ll want to understand exactly what that means. The four main types are:
This is the most severe type, where you alternate between manic episodes (highs) and depressive episodes (lows). Manic episodes can involve risky behavior, delusions, and hallucinations. Depressive episodes involve extreme sadness, hopelessness, and lack of pleasure in life.
You experience hypomanic episodes (less severe than manic) and depressive episodes. Hypomanic episodes can make you feel energetic, irritable, and reckless.
This involves fluctuating moods between hypomania and mild depression. The mood swings are less extreme than in bipolar I or II but last for at least two years.
Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS)
This diagnosis is used when symptoms do not precisely fit the criteria for Bipolar I, II, or Cyclothymic Disorder but still involve distinct periods of mood disturbance.
It’s important to note that these classifications are based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria, which are commonly used by mental health professionals for diagnosis. The specific type of bipolar disorder diagnosed may depend on the duration, severity, and pattern of symptoms experienced by an individual.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms that may indicate bipolar disorder, it is crucial to seek professional help for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate telehealth programs.
What are Some Treatment Challenges for Bipolar Disorder?
If your partner has bipolar disorder, treatment can be a daunting task. The mood swings between mania and depression aren’t easy to manage, even with medication and telemental therapy.
- Finding the right medication combination. It can take time to find medications that work, and the side effects are often difficult to deal with. Your partner may need to try different drugs or doses to find what helps level their mood.
- Staying on medication. It’s common for people with bipolar disorder to stop taking their medications once they start feeling better. But that just starts the cycle over again. You need to encourage your partner to stay on schedule with their medication and doctor visits.
- Coping with symptoms. Even with treatment, your partner may experience mood changes, sleep problems, irritability, or other issues. You have to develop strategies for dealing with their symptoms in a caring, non-judgmental way.
- Finding good doctors and therapists. In some areas, especially rural communities, it can be hard to find mental health professionals who understand bipolar disorder and have experience with relationship counseling. Telehealth options or traveling to see specialists may help.
- Making lifestyle changes. Exercise, diet, limiting alcohol, and maintaining a routine can all help manage bipolar disorder. But making those kinds of major lifestyle changes is difficult and requires a lot of support.
The challenges of bipolar disorder are significant. But with the right treatment, coping strategies, and a strong support system, many individuals with bipolar disorder can live healthy, fulfilling lives.
What are the Common Relationship Patterns Associated with Bipolar Disorder?
When dating someone with bipolar disorder, the relationship can have extreme ups and downs. As their partner, it’s important to understand the patterns that come with the disorder and how you can provide support. Remember, every relationship is unique, and what works for one couple may not work for another. The key is learning how to navigate challenges together and cherishing the good times. With love, understanding, and the right professional help, you can absolutely make it work.
The Manic Phase
During manic episodes, your partner may experience bursts of energy, euphoria, irritability, and impulsiveness. They may start many new projects, go on shopping sprees, use drugs and alcohol, or engage in risky behavior. It can be difficult to keep up with their frantic pace and mood changes.
Gently encourage your partner to maintain a routine, limit stimulation, and avoid triggers. Suggest they speak to their doctor about adjusting or changing medications. Your patience and compassion during these times are so important.
The Depressive Phase
Outpatient treatment for depression is needed because depression can bring feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, changes in sleep and appetite, and suicidal thoughts. Your partner may withdraw from social contact and not engage in activities they normally enjoy. Offer comfort through active listening, physical affection, and words of encouragement and support. Help with daily tasks like cooking meals, cleaning up, or running errands. Remind your partner that this low period will pass, though that may be hard for them to see.
The time between episodes is when stability is possible. Work with your partner and their treatment team to identify triggers and warning signs, and make a plan to avoid or address them early. Help your partner stay on a regular schedule for sleep, diet, exercise, and medication.
Attend therapy or support groups together. Set small, achievable goals, and acknowledge progress and milestones. Learn strategies for effective communication and conflict resolution.
What It’s Like Dating Someone With Bipolar Disorder?
Dating with someone who has bipolar disorder may not be easy. Their moods and behaviors may fluctuate between emotional highs and lows. One day they feel on top of the world, and the next they plunge into deep sadness. These shifts can be difficult to understand and adapt to as a partner.
- During manic episodes, they may have bursts of energy, excitement, irritability, and impulsiveness. Their spending may increase, and they get little sleep.
- When depressed, they may feel hopeless, worthless, and fatigued. Simple tasks seem difficult, and they withdraw from social contact.
- At the height of manic or depressive crises, your partner’s ability to communicate effectively may be affected. They might have racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, or struggle to express themselves clearly. It’s essential to establish open lines of communication during stable periods to address any concerns and develop strategies for navigating episodes.
The most important thing is to be there for your partner. Listen without judgment, provide comfort, and remind them you care. By being there through difficulties and working together, you’ll gain a deep understanding and connection with your partner. If needed, don’t hesitate to utilize resources like online counseling and telehealth services in California. Treatment options include medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and hospitalization during severe episodes. With work, bipolar disorder does not have to define your partnership.
How to Make Bipolar Disorder Work
The keys to making a relationship work when bipolar disorder is involved include education, patience, support, clear communication, and exploring treatment options together.
Educate Yourself on the Disorder
The first step is learning about bipolar disorder. Bipolar I disorder involves severe mood swings from mania to depression. Bipolar II disorder also affects mood swings, but with less severe mania (called hypomania).
The cyclothymic disorder involves milder mood swings. Moreover, understand its symptoms, triggers, and treatment options. This knowledge will help you empathize with your partner and navigate the challenges together.
Be Patient and Offer Your Support
Having a partner with bipolar disorder can be challenging. Educate yourself on the symptoms and treatment options so you can offer your patience and support. Be there for your partner through the ups and downs. Help them stick with treatment plans and accompany them to doctor visits. Let them know you care and are there to listen without judgment.
Watch for Warning Signs
Learn to spot the warning signs that your partner’s mood or behavior is shifting, like changes in sleep, energy level, or activity. Address issues early and notify their doctor immediately if there are any concerns about self-harm. Call emergency services immediately in crisis situations.
Set Healthy Boundaries
While being supportive, set clear boundaries to protect your own mental health and the relationship. Don’t make excuses for behaviors that concern or hurt you. Make sure to also take time for yourself to avoid caregiver burnout. Consider seeing a therapist yourself.
Explore Treatment Options Together
Discuss treatment options with your partner and offer to explore some together, like online counseling or support groups. New “telehealth” options make mental health care more accessible. Trying different options together can help you support each other through the process.
Evolve Wellness Inc Offers Bipolar Disorder Treatment via Telehealth
Evolve Wellness Inc, based in California, offers bipolar disorder treatment through telehealth for those struggling. Telehealth allows you to meet with a mental health professional via video chat, meaning you don’t have to travel to an office for appointments. This can be helpful for several reasons:
- Less Stressful
By offering telehealth services with the right treatment and support in place, we make it easier for you to get the help you need and the support you deserve. Contact us today!