Having bipolar disorder can present emotional, practical, and social challenges. Know that there are strategies that can help you deal with any problems you or your loved ones face every day. Once you ask the healthcare team for help, they will provide proven advice, connect you with others facing the same situation, and even help you implement solutions into your daily life. The most important first step is to contact them.
Many symptoms of bipolar disorder can make you face emotional challenges. In addition to treatment to control symptoms, it is important to find someone who understands the lives of people with mental illness to help you cope. Ask your doctor about local support groups where you can meet other people with bipolar disorder. You can also join an online support group.
Meeting other people who have experienced similar experiences can provide you with the emotional support you need to deal with issues such as stigma. Others can also share valuable resources that you might find useful.
You may also want to consider talk therapy. Meeting with a therapist can help you cope with your illness in many ways, including helping you decide whether you should tell your boss, family, or friends about your illness. You may find it helpful to ask your doctor if you can use psychotherapy classes as part of your regular treatment plan.
Bipolar Disorder Discussion Guide
Get our printable guide to make an appointment for your next doctor to help you ask the right questions.
Outside of the family, it is important to consider telling a romantic partner. Bipolar disorder can affect your sex life in many ways, and make sure your partner understands that this may be the key to maintaining a healthy relationship.
Although all mental illnesses are generally stigmatized, bipolar disorder is particularly stigmatized.People with bipolar disorder are often portrayed as “lunatics” in books and movies, and these people often commit crimes or cannot live independently.
People who are stigmatized due to mental illness, whether real or even perceptual, often suffer discrimination at work, school, or other social settings (such as churches or clubs).
They may be avoided by acquaintances, friends or even family members; they may be laughed at behind or in person.
Stigma usually stems from ignorance, prejudice or fear. For example, when a person tells a friend or colleague that they have bipolar disorder, the reaction may be:
- “Oh, everyone is a bit polarized, why are you so special?” (ignorance)
- “Oh, man, are you one of them? Oops, it’s too hard,” then avoided. (bias)
- “You mean you might turn over and start shooting people?” (ignorance and fear)
Unfortunately, for some people with bipolar disorder, stigma can cause them to hide their diagnosis, or it can cause great stigma. As a result, many patients with bipolar disorder do not receive the treatment or support they need to control their symptoms.
To eliminate stigma, education and informing others may be helpful. Once people learn more about your medical condition, they will begin to see you truthfully rather than through their fears.
You also need to fight your own negative emotions: believe that your mental illness does not define you, and people around you will feel this confidence and learn from it.
These things are not easy, they may challenge you. But in any case, eliminating stigma is not an immediate process-it will take time. The more you think you can do, the more it can help you and other people with bipolar disorder or other forms of mental illness.
Published in a paper Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association In 2013, it was recommended to use human-centered language when discussing diseases such as bipolar disorder, which means it emphasizes that a person’s diagnosis does not define them.
- “They have bipolar disorder” or “they are diagnosed with bipolar disorder” instead of “they have bipolar disorder”.
- “They have mental health problems or challenges” instead of “They have mental illness/lunatic/lunatic”.
Avoid drug abuse
Coping with bipolar disorder can be difficult, especially when a person is ashamed or embarrassed. Therefore, some people self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to help them feel better. In fact, a study published in 2017 showed that about half of people with bipolar disorder have dealt with substance abuse at some point in their lives.
Compared with people with other mental illnesses, people diagnosed with bipolar disorder may be more likely to use cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, cannabinoids, and hallucinogens.
Those with a history of both bipolar disorder and substance abuse often have the following in common:
- Slow recovery time
- Decreased medication adherence
- Poor quality of life
- Increase suicidal tendency
If you think you are prone to drug abuse, please discuss with your doctor. They may provide strategies to help you avoid substance use and control bipolar symptoms.