Bipolar Disorder: How to Support a Spouse with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder: How to Support a Spouse with Bipolar Disorder

By: Isabelle Siegel

Bipolar Disorder is characterized by alternating manic (“elevated, expansive, or irritable mood”) and depressive (“depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in life”) episodes. The disorder causes significant suffering for the individual diagnosed, as well as his/her loved ones. It can be extremely difficult to support a partner or spouse with Bipolar Disorder, but it is possible with the right mindset and preemptive actions.

Develop an understanding of Bipolar Disorder and how it manifests in your partner/spouse. Psych Central suggests creating a list of warning signs that your partner/spouse starts to exhibit before or while entering a manic or depressive episode. This will help you to better understand your partner/spouse, as well as enable you to interpret his/her behaviors in the context of the disorder.

Learn what helps (and what does not help) when your partner/spouse is in a manic or depressive episode. When your partner/spouse is stable, work together to create a list of actions you can take to alleviate symptoms when he/she is in a manic or depressive episode.

Communicate. As cliche as it sounds, open communication is integral to maintaining a relationship with someone who has Bipolar Disorder. It is important that each partner/spouse feels heard and validated at all times.

During manic or depressive episodes, understand your partner’s/spouse’s behavior in the context of the disorder. During episodes, it is important to view your partner’s/spouse’s actions and words as symptoms of a disorder rather than as reflective of his/her true feelings. If your partner/spouse says something hurtful, for example, try to understand the role that the disorder is playing in causing this behavior.

Allow yourself to feel frustration, upset, or any other emotion. Understand that Bipolar Disorder is an illness and that it is normal for difficult or conflicting emotions to arise. Do not feel guilty for feeling frustrated, upset, angry, resentful, or even for wanting to leave your partner/spouse at times. All of these feelings are normal.

Most importantly, take care of yourself and seek therapy. Understand that your partner/spouse is not the only one who needs support and never feel guilty for prioritizing your own needs. It can be beneficial to seek therapy or other support in order to take care of your own mental health and to work through difficult emotions.

If you or a loved one needs support and help understanding yourself and/or a family member, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:
https://psychcentral.com/blog/helping-your-partner-manage-bipolar-disorder/
https://www.nami.org/personal-stories/living-with-someone-with-bipolar-disorder
https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/relationship-guide
https://www.psycom.net/bipolar-definition-dsm-5/

Image Source:
https://medium.com/@christinacare/a-guide-to-supporting-a-partner-in-therapy-f0d64575558

Depression: Difference between Unipolar and Bipolar Depression

By Gabriella Phillip

Eliciting a history of brief periods of improved mood is the key to differentiating between unipolar and bipolar depression. Bipolar spectrum disorders typically begin earlier in life than unipolar depression; the usual sign of bipolar disorder in young children could be depression and/or a combination of depression and states of mania/hypomania. It’s significant to ask the patient how old they were when they first experienced a depressive episode. Men have a higher rate of bipolar disorder than women, but the rates for unipolar depression in men and women are more equal.

Some patients with bipolar spectrum disorder can go from normal to severely depressed technically overnight whereas unipolar depressive episodes tend to occur more gradually. Patients with bipolar spectrum depression tend to experience weight gain and crave carbs, while those with unipolar depression usually experience weight loss or loss of appetite. Patients suffering from bipolar depression tend to show irregular responses to antidepressant monotherapy, including switching into mania. Bipolar spectrum disorder is an inheritable mental illness, so it’s vital to take family history into consideration. While patients diagnosed with unipolar depression usually note that their symptoms fluctuate in a more stable, regular pattern, those with bipolar depression have moods that can vary unpredictably, usually with no cause.

When treating bipolar depression, antidepressants are used in combination with some sort of mood stabilizer. Treatment for unipolar depression can include medication like SSRIs and antidepressants, often in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychotherapy. Screening instruments including the Bipolar Spectrum Diagnostic Scale and the Mood Disorders Questionnaire can be effective and helpful tools in differentiating unipolar from bipolar depression.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Bipolar Disorder or Unipolar Depression, Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can help. 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.psychiatrictimes.com/special-reports/major-depressive-episode-it-bipolar-i-or-unipolar-depression

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850601/

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/unipolar-and-bipolar-depression-different-or-the-same/AE364DFBFFBAF1F66A9294A55120C64E/core-reader

 

 

Bipolar Disorder: Cognitive Deficits of Which You May Not Be Aware

By Samantha Glosser

When you hear the term “bipolar disorder” your first thoughts are most likely about the cycle of elevated and depressed moods, of extreme highs and extreme lows. This is to be expected, as these states of mania and depression are hallmark features of bipolar disorder, and they are typically the symptoms highlighted by mainstream media. In mania, individuals exhibit symptoms of high energy, decreased need for sleep, feelings of euphoria, extreme irritability, and impulsivity. In a depressive state, individuals display symptoms of low energy, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, avolition, and suicidal ideation.

Sometimes there can be more to bipolar disorder than just these symptoms. For some, after the onset of bipolar disorder symptoms, there is a marked decrease in cognitive capacity across a few different areas. Typical cognitive deficits reported with bipolar disorder include the following: difficulties with working memory, such as word retrieval, and executive functioning, such as problems with planning, prioritizing, and organizing behavior. Individuals also experience difficulties retaining information that was just presented to them and can even experience slowed thought processes. These adverse cognitive impacts appear at both polarities of mood. It is also important to distinguish between two types of cognitive deficits: mood-phase specific and enduring. Mood-phase specific cognitive deficits are typical to most individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder, as these symptoms are only present during periods of mood intensity. Enduring deficits, on the other hand, will remain present even when an individual has sustained a period of partial remission or is at a baseline level of functioning (i.e., they are not experiencing mania or depression). Not everyone diagnosed with bipolar disorder experiences enduring cognitive deficits. Individuals with a history of higher acuity symptoms, as well as individuals with a history of treatment resistant symptoms, treatment non-compliance, and/or unhealthy lifestyle choices are more likely to suffer from enduring cognitive deficits.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from bipolar disorder, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/


Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/bipolar-you/201412/cognitive-deficit-in-bipolar-disorder

Bipolar Disorder: What Is It and What Treatments Are Available

By Stephanie Osuba

Bipolar disorder is classified as a mood disorder with cycling emotions of highs (mania) and lows (depression) by the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Periods of mania can last for as little as two days and as long as fourteen days at a time. It is this period of elevated mood and heightened irritability that sets bipolar disorder apart from the diagnosis of clinical depression. During a manic episode, people experience elevated moods of extreme happiness, decreased need for sleep, hyperactivity, and racing thoughts which manifest in pressured speech. Because mania makes people feel like they are on top of the world, people also tend to engage in risky behavior of sexual nature or even substance abuse to maintain the high. Manic episodes can also bring on an intense and easily irritable mood, which can also lead to a risk of violence. Besides one manic episode, in order to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder one must have had a depressive episode as well. This period can last from a few days to even months and is characterized by extreme sadness, disinterest in pleasurable activities, lack of energy, and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

There are two kinds of bipolar disorder, one being more manic and the other being more depressive. Bipolar I is characterized by one fully manic episode, that must last at least a week, and a depressive episode. Bipolar II is characterized by a period of depression and a period of hypomania. Hypomania has all the symptoms of a manic episode; however it usually doesn’t last as long, only about a few days. The speed at which people cycle through emotions largely depends on the person. Treatment for this disorder can either psychotherapy or medication. Most people seem to benefit greatly from a combined treatment of both. A common medication prescribed for this disorder is a mood stabilizer and even sometimes an antidepressant or other psychotropic medication. It’s best to talk to a professional in order to find the best individual treatment plan.

Source: Grohol, J. M., Psy. D. (2018, May 18). Bipolar Disorder – What is it? Can it be treated? Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/disorders/bipolar/ 

If you or someone you know is struggling with bipolar disorder, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/