Strategies for Coping With Bipolar I Disorder
Living a balanced lifestyle can help make coping with bipolar disorder a little easier. By incorporating strategies that promote wellness in your everyday life, you can help take control of your illness. Below are some strategies that may help:
- Become an expert on your illness
Learn as much as you can. Do research on your own, discuss your illness with your doctor, or visit mental health and bipolar disorder Web sites for information.
- Always be aware of your earliest symptoms
Paying attention to your symptoms and knowing when they first arise are the keys to helping manage them.
- Partner with your doctor or healthcare professional
Be open and honest with your doctor about any symptoms or side effects you may be experiencing. You can use this weekly planner to help you track any symptoms and side effects you may be experiencing during the week and then bring it with you to your appointments.
- Create an emergency plan with your loved ones
Have a plan in place with your caregiver and loved ones should an emergency occur.
- Join a support group
Support groups are a great place to share your thoughts, concerns, and questions with others who are living with Bipolar I Disorder .
- Avoid alcohol and other mood- or mind-altering substances
These drugs can have dangerous interactions with your medicines.
- Tell your doctor about any drugs you are taking
Make sure that any food, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, or herbal supplements you plan to take won’t have a harmful interaction with your illness or its treatment.
- Eat a well-balanced diet
By eating a well-balanced diet, you can help yourself feel better. For example, limiting your caffeine and sugar intake may help.
- Establish a regular sleep schedule
If you don’t get enough sleep, symptoms are more likely to arise. If you are sleeping much more than normal, or if you are unable or unwilling to sleep, you could be at the beginning of a mood episode.
- Reduce and relieve stress
Determine what normally brings you stress and always try your best to reduce it. Call your doctor if your symptoms or emotions become overwhelming, or if it becomes difficult for you to sleep.
- Build a personal support system
Choose friends, family members, and other loved ones whom you trust and who are willing to learn all about Bipolar I Disorder and support you throughout treatment.
- Exercise regularly
Routine exercise has both physical and emotional benefits.
- Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
- Follow a daily routine
Establishing a schedule can help provide structure in your life. Be sure to make time for both activities and relaxation—balance is key.
- Discover new hobbies or do volunteer work
If employment is not an option at this time, taking up new hobbies or volunteering will give you a sense of purpose and enhance your life.
- Continue to live your life
Bipolar I Disorder doesn’t have to take control of your life—just remember that some plans might have to be changed now and then.