Helping a Loved One Who Has Bipolar Disorder

By Lynn Schneider, Director of Community Relations, Park Royal Hospital

Bipolar DisorderThe ups and downs associated with bipolar disorder can be difficult, and the road to recovery can be a long one, met with many challenges along the way. As a family member or caregiver of someone with bipolar disorder, you can greatly help your loved one through the difficult times ahead while he or she learns how to effectively manage his or her mood and other presenting symptoms. By taking an active approach and learning about bipolar disorder, as well as learning how to keep track of symptoms, you can be an immense resource for your loved one. Furthermore, your encouragement and support throughout the entire treatment process can go a long way in helping the recovery process be successful.

In addition to providing emotional support, the best thing you can do for your loved one is encourage him or her to seek help from mental health professionals. Many times, those with mental health illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, are unable to recognize the need for treatment. This can be especially true when your loved one is in a manic phase because he or she feels great and does not believe that a problem exists. Alternatively, when people with bipolar disorder are depressed, they may just completely lack the energy to reach out for help. While you cannot force your loved one to get the care that he or she needs, there are some things you can do that may encourage your love one to eventually agree to seek treatment. Some suggestions include:

• Start a conversation with your loved one about the need for treatment. Express to your loved one that you are concerned about him or her and want him or her to get help. While you may be met with hostility, keep encouraging your loved one because, over time, he or she may come to accept that he or she does, in fact, need help.

• Take the time to research different treatment options and treatment centers and then present those findings to your loved one. This way, when your loved one agrees to treatment, the research is already done and together you can decide which program will work best to meet his or her unique needs.

• While your loved one is in treatment, you can still be immensely helpful by continuing to provide him or her with unconditional support and understanding. Offer to go along to any appointments he or she may have and let your loved one know that he or she can always come to you if he or she needs to talk.

• You can also help with the recovery process by helping your loved one remember to take his or her medication, monitoring his or her moods, tracking his or her treatment process, and watching for signs of relapse.

• Finally, remember to be patient with your loved one and do not push too hard. The treatment and management of bipolar disorder takes time and maintenance.

When you are going through the process of finding care for your loved one, it is important to know that there are many different treatment programs and services available, such as the ones provided at Park Royal Behavioral Health Services. The severity of your loved one’s symptoms, as well as the presence of another mental health condition or substance use disorder, is ultimately going to determine the level of care that your loved one needs.

Located in Fort Myers, Florida, Park Royal Behavioral Health Services provides comprehensive treatment for adults who are suffering from mental health concerns and/or chemical dependency issues. With a multidisciplinary team of highly-qualified professionals, Park Royal is dedicated to providing those entrusted into our care with the most effective treatments possible while offering support during the therapeutic process.

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