Bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person’s life. While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, there are ways to help prevent the frequency and severity of manic episodes and mood swings.
Here are seven healthy habits to help you manage your bipolar disorder.
Find quality treatment right away.
The sooner you receive treatment, the more proactively you can manage your symptoms and avoid disruption to your life. But don’t just seek out any treatment; find a quality doctor or psychiatrist whom you feel comfortable with and respected by. Trusting your doctor will help you open up about your illness and allow you to work together as you cope with and treat your illness.
Take your medications.
Many people with bipolar disorder need to be treated with mood stabilizers and other medications. It’s common for people with bipolar disorder to stop taking their medication when they’re feeling healthy or in a manic episode. If your doctor has prescribed medications as part of your treatment plan, it’s important to take them until you both agree that you can safely come off them, regardless of how you’re feeling.
Maintain a healthy diet.
Eating a diet rich in nutrients will help you maintain a stable mood. Avoid foods high in sugar, fat and empty carbohydrates, which cause your blood sugar, energy and/or mood to rise and crash and trigger depressive feelings. You also want to avoid caffeine and nicotine, which act as stimulants and can make manic symptoms worse. Talk to your doctor about which nutrients and supplements you can take to help you manage your symptoms.
Moderate physical activity, even 30 minutes a day, can help elevate your mood and control mood swings. Try introducing activities such as yoga and tai chi, which help release stress and create mental clarity.
Stress can easily trigger a manic or depressive episode. Keep stress at bay by reducing stress at work and home and scheduling time for relaxation and recreation even for short periods during the day.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
Changes in sleeping patterns can sometimes trigger a manic or depressive sleep episode. Make sure you get plenty of sleep every night and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Also try to avoid traveling long distances that require you to enter different time zones.
Avoid drugs and alcohol.
Substance use can aggravate bipolar symptoms and trigger a manic or depressive episode. Even one drink of alcohol can interfere with your medication, change your mood or disrupt your sleep, which can make your symptoms worse.
If you think that you suffer from bipolar disorder or know someone who may be, it’s important to seek help and support right away, especially if substance abuse is present. The symptoms of bipolar disorder are disruptive enough without the added stress and health risk of alcohol or drug abuse.
At Casa Palmera, we understand how difficult it is to suffer from mental illness and a substance abuse problem. Our caring staff is highly skilled and trained at helping patients overcome their addiction to drugs or alcohol while at the same time addressing the mental health issues underlying the substance abuse. Don’t suffer in silence any longer.