How to help someone with bipolar disorder: 7 helpful tips

Bipolarity is a disorder of which there are many myths; the term is often mistakenly used to refer to changes in people’s attitudes, but these do not qualify as symptoms of bipolar disorder.

In this article we will cover the topic of how to help someone with bipolar disorderWe will also clarify the doubts regarding the symptoms of this pathology, in order to clearly determine when we may be in the presence of this mental disorder.

    What is bipolar disorder?

    Before we move on to tips on how to help someone with bipolar disorder, you should know exactly what it is. What is called bipolar disorder is a mental state characterized by alternating cycles in which a person’s mood reaches very intense extremes; a series of extreme changes in people’s mood, Which are maintained for a constant length of time.

    It can be assumed that a person exhibits typical bipolar disorder behaviors when the changes between one mood and another occur after a period of about several months, that is, they are not changes sudden events that occur within minutes. In addition, the intensity of moods must be high and involve discomfort or significant risks for the integrity of the person and / or his environment.

    The psychic polarities that manifest in bipolar personality disorder are 1 manic, characterized by intense states of euphoria and restlessness in people, and another depressive; characterized by strong states of apathy and a general lack of enthusiasm.

    In some cases, we usually see patients in which the two polarities coexist; is called mixed bipolar disorder. This variant of bipolarity is more complex than the classic one and carries a greater risk for the subjects who suffer from it.

    In mixed cases of bipolarity, manic and euphoric behaviors mix with depressive behaviors, which leads subjects to live with treacherous attitudes motivated by intense depressive thoughts. In these scenarios, the risk of self-flagellation and suicide increases.


      As mentioned above, the symptomatology of bipolar disorder goes beyond simple mood swings in people.

      During manic states physical symptoms such as constant restlessness, verbiage, hyperactivity may be evident, Etc. These will always be accompanied by an attitude of abnormal enthusiasm, nervousness or tension.

      As for the depressive states that occur in bipolar disorder, people they exhibit fairly marked discouraging and intimidating behaviors, Slow behavior in the face of any circumstance, insomnia and fatigue. In severe cases, the possibility of suicide is considered.

      So, to help a person with bipolar disorder, it is first necessary to understand the main symptoms of this psychological disorder and to understand that those who suffer from this condition do not choose to behave in this way. Based on that premise, let’s look at a number of tips on how to do it.

      Tips to help someone with bipolar disorder

      In the following list of tips, we’ll go over some tools to support and help people with bipolar disorder.

      1. Help them come to terms with their disorder

      The sooner we get the person to accept that they have a condition, closer we will be than she is willing to seek the necessary help. Remember that our role is to accompany and support, and that it is necessary to have a mental health professional for the improvement to be significant.

      Talking to the person about the benefits of going to therapy is a good way to help them agree to attend the consultation, even if you have to be careful about the way you say things; we don’t want us to feel like we are making value judgments about how you behave and make decisions.

      2. Understanding depressive and manic states

      As supporting numbers, we need to understand the behaviors of subjects as they go through a polar crisis of this disorder. We should not judge or treat a subject as a bad person or someone who does not deserve respect for having serious problems; their behavior responds to an organic pathology that escapes their voluntary control.

      This is one of the most important tips for helping a person with bipolar disorder, as lowering their self-esteem could cause them to stop taking therapy.

      3. Learn to recognize the indicators

      In general, when a subject is about to switch from one polarity to another, they generally present certain indicators that anticipate it. It is important that we know how to recognize what they are. In this way, every effort can be made to prevent progression to a full episode or to delay its onset.

      In addition, it is also useful to encourage the person to recognize these warning signs in themselves, so that they can better organize themselves and gain autonomy.

      4. Support therapy

      The fact that we are willing and available to accompany the subject to therapy this means for him an additional source of motivation. In addition, we will prevent the person from feeling alone, which will greatly help them to be consistent with the sessions and to follow the therapist’s instructions correctly.

      5. Watch your medications

      Patients with bipolar disorder should be monitored together with the psychologist and psychiatrist. Medication is often essential to keep the subject stable and prevent manic and depressive episodes from drastically affecting their quality of life.

      Therefore, as friends or relatives of the patient, it is necessary to do everything possible to check if you are taking your medicine as prescribed by your doctor, And in case you don’t talk to him.

      6. Spend quality time with the person

      People who suffer from bipolar disorder usually do not have the means to maintain lasting and stable personal relationships, since they change their attitude in a very extreme way; sometimes they are too articulate and frantic, and sometimes they don’t feel like talking to almost anyone.

      It is important that we spend quality time with these people and facilitate their relationships, thus preventing them from isolating themselves from others. We can look for activities to do together, in which they interact with other people and can feel that they are able to lead a normal life.

      7. Avoid tense situations in front of the subject

      It is recommended that you always try to maintain an attitude of assertiveness and respect towards people with bipolar disorder, as times of tension can be triggers for manic or depressive behaviors.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Angst, J, Sellaro, R. (2000). Historical perspectives and natural history of bipolar disorder. Biological psychiatry (review). 48 (6): pages 445 to 457.
      • Cipriani, G., Danti, S., Carlesi, C., Cammisuli, DM, Di Fiorino, M. (2017). Bipolar Disorder and Cognitive Dysfunction: A Complex Link. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (Revue). 205 (10): 743-756.
      • Goodwin, GM (2012). Bipolar disorder. Drug. 40 (11): pages 596 to 598.
      • Leibenluft, E .; Rich, BA (2008). Pediatric bipolar disorder. Annual review of clinical psychology. 4: pages 163 to 187.
      • Newman, CF, Leahy, RL, Beck, AT and Reilly-Harrington, N. (2005). Bipolar disorder: an approach to cognitive therapy. Barcelona: Edicions Paidós Ibérica.

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