Body Image: The Role of Body Dissatisfaction on Self-Esteem

Body Image: The Role of Body Dissatisfaction on Self-Esteem

By Kim Simone

Body dissatisfaction is characterized by an individual’s persistent negative thoughts and feelings about his or her body. It is commonly influenced by external factors such as societal norms and perceived pressure from other individuals. High levels of body dissatisfaction can lead to low self-esteem and ultimately lead to harmful eating and exercising behaviors.

On the contrary, having a positive body image is associated with self-acceptance, higher self-esteem, and having healthier practices in regards to eating and exercising.

The Four Primary Elements of Body Image:

  1. Perceptual body image:  the way you see your body
  2. Cognitive body image:  the way you think about your body
  3. Affective body image: the way you feel about your body (often characterized by satisfaction or dissatisfaction)
  4. Behavioral body image: the behaviors you engage in as a result of your body image (may include unhealthy eating behaviors and exercising habits)

Body dissatisfaction fluctuates throughout the lifespan and is correlated with lower levels of self-esteem. These concerns are linked with poor self-concept, which not only affects physical and mental health, but also impacts individuals socially and academically. Since body dissatisfaction often leads to low self-esteem, individuals may be at risk for developing more serious disorders. A poor self-concept, and consequently a poor body image, may influence eating behaviors, making individuals more at risk for developing an eating disorder.

Given that the chance for recovery from an eating disorder increases the earlier it is detected, diagnosed, and treated, it is important to seek help as soon as warning signs appear. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a commonly used psychotherapeutic approach for eating disorder treatment. The approach emphasizes having the individual understand the interaction and inter relatedness between his or her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This therapy focuses on shifting negative thoughts and behaviors to more positive thoughts and healthier alternatives. Furthermore, a mental health care provider can screen and treat for other underlying issues, such as anxiety and depression, as these can influence treatment outcomes.  

If you or someone you know is struggling with body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, and/or eating disorders, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://nedc.com.au/eating-disorders/eating-disorders-explained/body-image/

https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2012-14627-021

https://www.waldenu.edu/online-masters-programs/ms-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling/resource/what-is-body-dissatisfaction-and-how-does-it-lead-to-eating-disorders

Image Source:

https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/5bb5f917210000d501c88483.jpeg?ops=scalefit_720_noupscale&format=webp

The Link between Alcoholism and Depression

By Jenna Chiavelli

Alcoholism and Depression

Alcohol Use Disorder is characterized by disordered drinking that leads to significant distress and changes in behavior. One of the strongest predictors of alcoholism is family history, as genetics can attribute to one’s predisposition to alcoholism. Underlying psychological disorders contribute to alcoholism as well as people turn to substances to numb pain. Socially speaking, one’s environment can lead to alcoholism if the environment favors a culture of drinking.

Addiction is a controlling disease and when mixed with depression, treatment can become even more complex. Depression is a common co-occurring disorder with at least 30%-40% of alcoholics experiencing a depressive disorder. Depression is a mood disorder which can generate persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and pessimism, disrupting everyday life. The combination of addiction and depression is especially harmful as the conditions fuel each other.

Depression Contributing to Alcoholism

Substances like alcohol can be appealing to those suffering from depression, as alcohol’s sedating effects offer an escape from overwhelming feelings of sadness. This form of self-medication can temporarily relieve depressive symptoms, but this is not a permanent solution. Over time, the feelings of sadness linger despite the sedating effects of alcohol, leading those struggling with depression to increase their alcohol intake to suppress the pain. This dangerous cycle contributes to a substance abuse disorder.

Alcoholism Contributing to Depression

Alcohol releases neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in the euphoric feeling of being drunk. As alcohol users consistently chase this high, the copious amount of alcohol is simultaneously limiting the brain’s ability to sustain neurotransmitters at normal levels. This disruption in the nervous system impacts one’s mood; therefore, when there is a reduction of neurotransmitters a person may feel symptoms of depression. Additionally, alcohol increases the duration and severity of depressive episodes and increases the likelihood of suicidal thoughts. 

Drinking alcohol also alters behavior and fuels acts of impulse. The consequences of one’s drunken actions may be overwhelming leading to feelings of sadness and shame. Heavy drinking can disrupt relationships and interfere with work, damaging one’s social sphere. The constant ramifications from drinking can easily contribute to depression as well.

Treatment for Co-Disorders

In some cases, removing alcohol from the equation is enough to relieve symptoms of depression. In other cases, therapy, rehabilitation, and medications may be necessary. It is important to note that medication alone will not effectively treat co-occurring depression and addiction. Therapy is required in order to understand what originally contributed to one’s depression/addiction. Gaining a deeper understanding to one’s emotions and history could help prevent a relapse in the future. Additionally, confiding in others and sharing stories of similar nature reminds people that they are not alone in their struggles, fostering a sense of community. With a little bit of help, it is possible to break the dangerous cycle of alcohol and depression.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for depression and/or addiction, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources

https://www.addictioncenter.com/alcohol/alcohol-depression/#:~:text=At%20least%2030%25%2D40,of%20the%20symptoms%20of%20depression.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/addiction-recovery/202102/healing-depression-and-addiction

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/alcohol

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Body Dysmorphic Disorder-Beautiful In Your Own Skin Month

Body Dysmorphic Disorder-Beautiful In Your Own Skin Month

By Fiona McDermut

            In light of the start of “beautiful in your own skin” month, it is important to recognize that many struggle with body image satisfaction. Not all people look in the mirror and feel content with what they see. Even if those around you do not understand your body-related concerns, your feelings are totally valid and can be helped with treatment.

            Body dysmorphic disorder (body dysmorphia) is a mental illness characterized by a hyper fixation on perceived defects in one’s appearance. This interferes with day-to-day life because one may spend a large amount of time worrying or attempting to adjust the perceived flaw. These behaviors usually result in obsessive body comparison to others, avoidance of social interaction, and frequent negative body-checking (looking in the mirror repeatedly at disliked body parts). Unfortunately, many have associated their own happiness with how closely their bodies align with current beauty standards portrayed in the media. As one lets these thoughts progress, they can worsen, and possibly be a precursor to an eating disorder or other disorders associated with body dissatisfaction such as depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

            While many believe that cosmetic surgery will fix their perceived flaws, research has shown that such surgeries do not improve psychological symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder. The first step to resolving the issue is recognizing that you have a warped view of what you look like. If you or someone you know experiences this, it can be very beneficial to seek psychological/psychiatric assistance. Professionals in the field will be able to decide the best way to treat these disordered thoughts. The most common treatment for body dysmorphia is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Other possible treatments include hypnotherapy, exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and the prescription of antidepressant medication in order to decrease the feelings of dissatisfaction.

            Working with a professional is important in situations like these, but it is still important to remind yourself that your perceived flaws are only noticed by you, and likely not those around you. Nobody is perfect, but with the constant pressure of modern media to be thin, our flaws often appear to be more apparent to ourselves than they are to others. The practice of mindfulness exercises may also help to focus your mind on what you have learned to love about yourself, and of course, do not be afraid to seek help when necessary.

If you or someone you know is struggling with body dysmorphic disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201507/whats-the-best-way-deal-negative-body-image

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shrink/201409/how-stop-hating-your-body

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1740144507000988

Image source: https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-related-body-dysmorphic-disorder/

Insomnia: How Depression Is Related to Insomnia

By Kim Simone

Symptoms of insomnia occur in approximately 33% to 50% of the adult population and undoubtedly affect a variety of areas of an individual’s life. In addition to a complaint of dissatisfaction with sleep quality or quantity, individuals may have difficulty falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, and early-morning awakening with an inability to fall back to sleep. These difficulties may occur at least 3 nights per week and be present for at least 3 months.

Oftentimes, these sleep disturbances affect various parts of an individual’s daily life. As a result of poor sleep, individuals struggling with insomnia may display difficulties behaviorally, socially, academically.

Those struggling with depression oftentimes present with symptoms of insomnia, as the condition may influence their quality and/or quantity of sleep. Depressive symptoms often influence an individual’s quality of sleep and how much they sleep.

On the contrary, those struggling with insomnia oftentimes present with symptoms of depression. Since feelings of depression may cause individuals to lose interest in their daily activities and withdraw from those closest to them, therapy is often the treatment of choice to alleviate the depressive symptoms that result from a lack of quality and quantity of sleep.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be useful in the treatment of insomnia. CBT-I is a form of CBT specifically aimed in treating the sleep condition. It concentrates on the specific thoughts and behaviors that disrupt sleep and helps in reframing the negative thoughts that may be associated with concepts related to sleep, such as “bed” and “sleep”.  As a result of CBT, anxieties related to sleep may be lessened, therefore, lessening the prevalence of insomnia.  

Sufferers of insomnia may need to speak to their therapist weekly over the course of two to three months to see an improvement in the quality and quantity of their sleep. As a result, symptoms of depression may be lessened, which may further improve the quality and quantity of their sleep.

If you or someone you know is struggling with insomnia and is seeking therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12119-insomnia#:~:text=They%20affect%20up%20to%2070,at%2010%25%20to%2015%25.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/insomnia

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Psychotherapy: Benefits of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

By: Jasmyn Cuate

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that focuses on helping people recognize and change negative thinking patterns into positive, healthier ones. This method is an action-oriented approach helping to overcome any psychological problems or mental distress. The goal of REBT is to help people respond rationally to situations that would cause stress, depression, or other negative feelings. How does it work?

The ABC model is one concept of REBT. The model suggests that we may blame external situations for our unhappiness and it is our interpretation of these situations that truly causes the psychological distress. ABC stands for:

  • A: Activating event, when something happens in your environment
  • B: Belief, describes your thoughts about the situation
  • C: Consequence, which is your emotional response to your belief

With REBT, your therapist will help you learn how to apply the ABC model in your daily life. Your therapist may help you identify the activating event before encouraging you to figure out which belief led you to your negative feelings. Once you’ve identify the underlying issue, your therapist will work with you to change those beliefs and your emotional response towards the issue. Before changing your belief, a process called disputation takes place where your therapist will challenge your irrational beliefs using direct methods such as asking questions which causes you to re-think or have you imagine another point of view that you may have not considered before. REBT can help with Anxiety, Social anxiety disorder, distress, Depression, Disruptive behavior in children, Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Psychotic symptoms.

Benefits of REBT:

  • Reduce feelings of anger, depression, anxiety, and distress
  • Improves health and quality of life
  • Better social skills and school performance

REBT helps you understand that you are worthy of self-acceptance no matter what even if you or others are struggling; there is no need for shame or guilt because everyone makes mistakes and it’s normal to feel some discomfort. REBT gives insight that others are also worthy of acceptance even if their behavior involves something you don’t like. Overall, REBT helps you have a healthy emotional response on learning from a situation and moving on. This allows you to understand that negative things will sometimes happen in life therefore there is no rational reason to always expect it to be positive when faced with a situation.

If you or someone you know is seeking for cognitive behavioral therapy or rational emotive behavior therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-2796000

Laziness: The Harmful Effects of the Term “Lazy” on Mental Health

By: Rebecca Fernandez

               “Lazy” is a common uncomplimentary term in modern vocabulary for when someone is unproductive. Think back to a time a group member failed to pull their weight in a group project, or a time someone procrastinated severely, leaving everything for the last minute and creating a poor final product. Consider even a time where you witnessed someone who, by early afternoon, was seemingly unable to bring themselves to get out of bed to start the day.

Whether it was yourself or someone else that you imagined, it’s easy to write off everyone in those examples as lazy. However, there’s a major issue with doing that – “laziness” is often not the cause of these situations. Rather, many mental health conditions can create issues that simulate behaviors identical to laziness.

Take, for example, disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression and other mood disorders, insomnia and other sleep disorders, and anxiety disorders including obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Each of these conditions can negatively impact a person’s ability to be productive, making them appear lazy. People with ADHD can often find themselves imagining all of the tasks they could be engaging in at once and becoming so overwhelmed they feel almost paralyzed. People with depression and other mood disorders often lack the mental energy to accomplish anything. Similarly, people with insomnia and other sleep disorders often lack the physical energy to accomplish anything. People with GAD may have a crippling fear that they won’t be good enough at something, preventing them from attempting to do the task in question. People with OCD may have a crippling (rational or irrational) fear that something bad will happen if they do specific things, preventing them from doing those things.

               All of these explanations are generalized and therefore may not apply to everyone with each listed disorder, or be the only applicable factor for each disorder’s effect on laziness. However, if you or someone you know has been consistently labeled as lazy, remember that “laziness” is often more than how it appears on the surface, and that actively struggling with mental health does not make a person a failure.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of “laziness” as described above that are getting in the way of day-to-day life, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201410/the-psychology-laziness

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): Understanding BPD and how to Appropriately Respond to Provocations as a Loved One

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) not only affects the individual, but those with whom they have formed a relationship. Relationships are present and strong, but experience more turbulence due to key symptoms of BPD such as: intense reactions, self- doubt, extreme idolization or devaluation, fear of abandonment, mood swings, risky behaviors, etc. There is no one “cause” of a personality disorder like BPD, but studies show that patients with BPD come from families of severe pathology leading to their provocative behavior patterns.

People with BPD engage in provocative behaviors like making wild accusations, over- the- top demands, threatening suicide, etc., all with the intention of being invalidated by their counterparts as they have been their whole life. They feel invalidated (which fuels self- doubts) when they evoke one of three reactions from their counterpart: anxious helplessness, anxious guilt, or overt hostility. If these reactions are displayed, their poor behavior is rewarded and will continue, and feelings of self- doubt are reaffirmed.

When someone with BPD makes a wild accusation, resist invalidating them while disagreeing with the accusation. If they say, for example, “I can tell you hate me,” you can reply with, “I’m sorry you feel that way. I wish there was something I could do that would convince you I love you.” Here, you are disagreeing with the accusation while validating their feelings, and not showing one of the craved reactions. Their poor behaviors are thus not rewarded and feelings of self- doubt are not reaffirmed. Further, simply listen and be attentive. People with BPD most likely grew up being invalidated so they want to feel cared about. When talking to someone with BPD, incorporate the counseling technique “reflection of feelings”. This is defined by interpreting one’s feelings based on their verbal and nonverbal cues. When you’re able to interpret someone’s feelings, it demonstrates that you are paying attention and care, which is of utmost importance to someone with BPD.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for a codependent relationship, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.nami.org/Personal-Stories/What-Is-BPD

https://www.psycom.net/personality-disorders/bpd-and-relationships/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/matter-personality/201401/responding-borderline-provocations-part-iii

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/matter-personality/201403/responding-borderline-provocations-part-iv

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/matter-personality/201403/responding-borderline-provocations-part-v

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/matter-personality/201405/responding-borderline-provocations-part-vi

Physician Burnout during a Global Pandemic

By Eleanor Kim

Physicians and nurses around the world have been at the front lines fighting the coronavirus and saving the lives of those infected. Now more than ever, citizens are coming to realize the importance of those within the medical field and the bravery that comes with entering medicine. That being said, there has been an immense amount of pressure placed upon healthcare workers, often causing stress, anxiety, and depression. At the end of the day, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers are humans and can feel the effects of burnout during such a heightened and high stakes moment in medical history.

Burnout is when someone becomes overwhelmed by the demands of their daily life, becoming emotionally and physically exhausted and creating a sense of depersonalization and weakened personal accomplishments. Burnout is a common occurrence among physicians and nurses given the great amount of pressure that comes with saving lives. That being said, these feelings of burnout have skyrocketed given the additionally taxing nature of current frontline medical work such as the stress of isolating from friends and family, the extended hours of work, the tragic lack of medical supplies, and the fear of contracting or spreading the virus, to name a few. Physicians are also left to deal with the other struggles and anxieties that the past year has brought upon the general population regarding economic, political, racial, and other personal effects of the pandemic.

During these elongated periods where healthcare workers are left sleep deprived, improperly fed, and overall anxious about the current status of the pandemic, they are exposed to both mentally and physically long lasting effects. In 2020, there have been a record number of physicians who have reported feelings of burnout and other mental health concerns since the start of the pandemic. Should these issues go untreated, there is an increased risk for depression, self-medication, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. Burnout is more than just stress; it is a mental health crisis and should be treated as such.

If you or someone you know is feeling the effects of physician and healthcare worker burnout, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Resources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lipiroy/2020/05/17/doctor-heal-thyself-physician-burnout-in-the-wake-of-covid-19/

Image Source:

https://blog.frontiersin.org/2020/04/14/more-than-a-third-of-medical-staff-suffered-insomnia-during-the-covid-19-epidemic-in-china/

Borderline Personality Disorder: Misdiagnosed

Borderline Personality Disorder: Misdiagnosed

By Zoe Alekel

When struggling with your mental health, the last thing you want to hear from a doctor or therapist is that they don’t think anything is wrong. It can leave you confused, lost, hopeless, and alone. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because of the disorder’s symptoms and stigma. According to the Mayo Clinic symptoms of borderline personality disorder include:

  • Intense fear of abandonment—including real or imagined separation/ rejection
  • Feelings of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness
  • Unstable relationships—idealizing someone one moment, then suddenly believing they don’t care or that they are cruel
  • Distorted view of self and self-image—including dissociation (feeling as if you don’t exist at all or if the moment in time isn’t real)
  • Impulsive and risky behavior—including rebellion, drug abuse, reckless driving, sudden decision making, unsafe sex and promiscuity, and sabotaging success or personal relationships
  • Suicidal thoughts, threats, or behavior or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection
  • Mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days— including intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety
  • Inappropriate, intense anger—losing temper easily, acting out, intense irritability

The symptoms for BPD often look like other mental health conditions—contributing to misdiagnosis or lack of diagnosis. Sometimes BPD has similar patterns and symptoms as bipolar disorder, which can also include severe mood swings. One study shows that 40% of people, who only met the criteria for BPD, were still misdiagnosed with Bipolar Type 2; which is likely due to the overlapping and similar symptoms of each disorder.

Another reason why BPD can go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed is because of the myth that teens can’t have BPD. Many of the symptoms of BPD can be seen as “typical teenage behavior” as this is a crucial time in an adolescent’s life when they are developing personality and identity. Diagnosing younger adolescents with BPD is often avoided because of the stigma attached to the diagnosis. Some clinicians may fear that the client’s symptoms may only worsen with a BPD diagnosis. This can be very dangerous and harmful to the client who is not accurately being diagnosed, especially because it limits the resources they can receive for help.

BPD does not only appear in a specific age group or gender, and sometime can mirror other diagnoses or the experience of a typical adolescent. Health professionals and advocates must continue to educate and understand the reality of BPD, and know when to properly diagnose so their client can receive the help they need.

If you or someone you know is struggling with borderline personality disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources: https://nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/October-2017/Why-Borderline-Personality-Disorder-is-Misdiagnose

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20370237

Image source: https://wakeup-world.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Genie-in-a-Bottle-The-Spiritual-Gift-of-Borderline-Personality-Disorder-1.jpg

Bipolar Disorder: Loving someone with bipolar disorder, the ups and downs

Bipolar Disorder: Loving someone with bipolar disorder, the ups and downs
By Zoe Alekel

Loving someone with bipolar disorder can be a challenge if you don’t have the right tools and knowledge to help both you and your loved one. The first step in loving someone with bipolar disorder would be to understand what it means to be bipolar. Although you may never know exactly how your loved one feels, it is important to understand and educate yourself about their behaviors and emotions. According to the Mayo Clinic, bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). To understand what your loved one is going through, it is key to remind yourself that your loved one can’t always control these emotional mood swings—and more importantly it is not a reflection of you or how they feel about you.

It is understandable that it can be difficult to understand these seemingly sudden and intense mood swings, and your loved one struggling with bipolar disorder may already know this and feel bad about how it affects you. Make sure you approach them with kindness, and always ask them what you can do to help them. Sometimes space and understanding that the mood swing will pass is enough support for your loved one. No matter how involved or uninvolved they want you to be with their mental health, always respect their wishes.

One thing you can do to help you cope with your loved one’s bipolar disorder is to find others that have loved ones with bipolar disorder as well. Additionally, you can reach out to a therapist to share your feelings and the struggles that you experience as someone who has a loved one diagnosed with bipolar disorder. A way you can further educate yourself on bipolar disorder is to visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website. NAMI provides credible information for those with loved ones diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and suggests you can try the following to help a family member or friend with bipolar disorder:

  • Recognizing and preventing serious mood episodes/ mood swings
  • Being able to recognize the warning signs of mania and depression
  • Making sure your loved one is taking their medication regularly and consistently (as directed)
  • Communicating and making time to talk to your loved one about their feelings when they feel ready
  • Remaining calm and rational with your loved one
  • Keeping a positive attitude and a clear mind to help your loved one the best you can
  • Reaching out for psychological support for you and your loved one

If you or someone you know is struggling with bipolar disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources: https://nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder/Support#:~:text=NAMI%20and%20NAMI%20Affiliates%20are%20there%20to%20provide,about%20bipolar%20disorder%20or%20finding%20support%20and%20resources.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/insight-is-2020/201206/bipolar-disorder-loving-someone-who-is-manic-depressive

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955#:~:text=Both%20a%20manic%20and%20a%20hypomanic%20episode%20include,sprees%2C%20taking%20sexual%20risks%20or%20making%20foolish%20investments

Image Source: https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=Yu1OAouO&id=1B4D516A8A17EF4EE248CCCBAD2EC46DA7E6585F&thid=OIP.Yu1OAouOT_6cQM6Ql4oDYQHaLW&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fi.pinimg.com%2foriginals%2f13%2fbb%2f82%2f13bb82bf3d3c1b28a560d610c2d17fad.jpg&exph=1128&expw=736&q=loving+someone+with+bipolar+disorder&simid=608040637685434558&ck=DC1BFB40548A0FA375883D67352A1C1F&selectedIndex=21&FORM=IRPRST&ajaxhist=0