Coping with a spouse who suffers from bipolar disorder – Some tips for the better half

Bipolar disorder actually wears many faces and the experiences with people suffering from bipolar disorders range from confusing to exciting, devastating to disappointing. Like all normal individuals, people suffering from similar disorder have numerous good qualities but at times, they display some of the less known qualities like being irritable, withdrawn, depressed and moody. They might be distant and cold at times and then be loving and affectionate. He/she might enjoy the experience of sex one day and then reject the same kind of affection the next day. Such variations in behaviors can become a challenging thought for their better halves or any other family member who is close to that person.

If you’re married to someone who suffers from bipolar disorder, you’re perhaps already aware of the fact that it’s going to be a tough ride for you. The mood swings can sometimes make your days frustrating and sometimes exhilarating. Yet both you and your spouse can beat the dire ups and downs which usually anticipate the end of most of those marital relationships. If you too have been in a nuptial bond with some spouse, you need not worry as the concerns of this article will deal with the ways in which you can cope up with such people.

Psychological impact of Bipolar Disorder on a spouse

Everyone goes through bipolar disorder of some kind and such people have various levels of functioning. While there are times when there is a lot of support and help needed, sometimes you might require less support. Coping with bipolar can be difficult as it generates tension, rift and anger in a relation. Rarely does something positive come out of such an issue and it is seen that this burden is tougher on women who are married to men with bipolar than men who are married to women with bipolar.

As per recent research from London Kings Medical College, it has been found out that the mental impact on a spouse with this disease not only varies according to how much severe the disease is but it also varies according to genders. In fact, there are 2 types of disorder, bipolar I and bipolar II. The former is associated with maniac episodes where extreme irritation is accompanied by elation and risky behavior, sometimes even depression. The latter involves hypomania where the highs aren’t as emphasised as Bipolar I. The key feature of Bipolar II is depression. Contact a bipolar London psychiatrist for more help.

Trying to cope with a spouse who suffers from mood swings

BIPOLAR-DISORDERIrrespective of whether a woman suffers more with a suffering husband or the vice versa, you have to know the ways in which you can take care of your spouse and thrive in a healthy relation as much as you can. Have a look at some tips to survive in such a relationship.

  • Take a deep breath: When things are on the rocks and you find it tough to cooperate, take a deep breath and move back. Remind yourself that it’s not the person who is doing this, it’s the disease! Don’t provoke yourself to surrender as that can leave your spouse totally alone.
  • Join a support group: When you’re dealing with your spouse who suffers from bipolar, you will always have to concentrate on his needs. However, amidst all this, you also have to take care of your own support sources. It is then that you can join a support group where family members of bipolar patients can help you. If you get support from your family members, that will also be invaluable for you.
  • Try to avoid the tantrums: The spouse who is not affected with the disease needs to keep his/her sanity at the right place. If you’re doing a job which demands you to travel, move away at times so that you can get back your sanity. Even if that would coincide with the husband’s mood swings, you should still try to avoid him. Sometimes, this therapy works.
  • Try to laugh a lot: It entirely depends on an individual whether or not you can find humor in any situation and demand a good response. If you think you can make the person laugh, do it often as a good round of laughter can help you in many ways.
  • Force him to take medicines: You should make it clear to your better half that having to take his regular medicines is a part of his daily routine and that is non-negotiable. It will almost seem like having another child. In case he doesn’t take his medicines, leave the home for a night so that he knows what my happen due to his behavior.
  • Bring back moments of your love: There are indeed tough times in a marriage but if you wish to bring back the same person with whom you’ve fallen in love years back, you have to recall your love by speaking about old days and some golden moments.
  • Watch out for triggers: When you see that your spouse is in a more favorable mood, you should watch out for the environmental triggers that are contributing in bringing back stability. If you can trace such triggers, use them to maintain the positive mood which both of you are looking for.
  • Keep talking and asking: In spite of the mood swings, always keep the relation wherein your spouse can tell you what he or she needs. Ask him what he needs and tell him to notify you about his needs. There might be days when communication is not easy but you shouldn’t depend on those bad days forever.

If you want to speak to a consultant psychiatrist in London, you may get in touch with a psychiatrist at Harley Street. Without the perfect treatment, this disease gradually spirals out of control and hence you should ask him to be on medicine as much as possible so as to keep the disease under control.

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About Ferland Manuel

Dr, Manuel Ferland is health care specialist,