First, it’s important to identify your partner’s major symptoms, and to write these signs down in a journal. The goal is to figure out the main categories of your partner’s symptoms and to list the signs under each one. If your partner has experienced debilitating periods
of sadness, followed by periods of high excitement and activity, he or she may
have bipolar disorder. Below, you’ll find a list of typical behaviors exhibited
by those with bipolar disorder. If your spouse or significant other has been
exceptionally excited or active for a week at a time and displays three of the
symptoms below, talk with your healthcare provider about bipolar disorder.
- Exaggerated optimism and self-confidence
- An inflated perspective about abilities and
- Racing thoughts
- Brisk, speech
- Impulsive behavior
- Bad decision-making
- Reckless behavior:
Compulsive shopping, irresponsible driving choices o rash business decisions
, sexual promiscuity
- Experiencing delusions (holding untrue
beliefs) and hallucinations (seeing and/or hearing things that aren’t there)
Another way to determine if your spouse or significant other has bipolar
disorder is to consider his or her childhood. The lives of teens struggling
with mood disorders can be marred by poor decisions and/or ineffective,
misguided attempts to cope. Mood disordered teens may experience or perpetrate:
- Academic failure
- Destruction of property
- School suspension or expulsion
- Social isolation
- Drug and alcohol use
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Inability to finish projects
- Reckless behavior (speeding, unprotected sex,
- Extreme defiance
- Poor social relations
- Suicide attempts
It mean for our marriage if my spouse has bipolar disorder?
There are two answers to this question. If you
spouse fully accepts the diagnosis and resolves to get treatment, you could
begin working together and make the marriage stronger than ever.
If, on the other hand, your spouse refuses
treatment, you must learn to protect yourself from abuse. Abuse can take the
What does my bipolar partner need
- Verbal abuse (rampant blaming)
- Financial abuse (spending money; taking on massive
- Emotional abuse (controlling, cruel behavior)
- Physical abuse (when irritability spins out of
and foremost your support and understanding is needed. In order for you to be supportive you must understand this
disorder as well as you possibly can. There are many ways of learning
about the illness. Listening to your significant other is probably the best resource.
1. Ask your partner about their wants and needs for each main symptom when they’re stable. For instance, you might ask them how you can help when they’re depressed and don’t want to get up; how to contact their doctor when they’re manic; and how you can help them calm down when they’re angry. However, some of your partner’s ideas may not be reasonable.
2. Learn to respond to bipolar disorder instead of reacting to what your partner does or says. Bipolar disorder is a frustrating illness, and it’s normal to get frustrated yourself and make comments like “What’s your problem?” or “Why can’t you just calm down?” or “If you cared, you’d try harder,” according to Fast and Preston.
But this only makes matters worse and heightens your own frustration. Instead, start statements with “I can see that you are…”; “It seems to me that you are sick…”; “I know you don’t feel well right now. What can we do to treat bipolar disorder so that you can feel better?”
3. Help your partner make good choices around relationships. Stressful relationships are one of the biggest triggers for symptoms. It’s helpful if you can become a buffer between your partner and these relationships by being a good listener and talking about how your partner’s symptoms are affected. It’s also important to work on your own problematic relationships.
4. Help your partner lead a healthy lifestyle. Bipolar disorder is very hard on the body, fortunately, you and your partner can use diet and exercise to manage symptoms and boost your well-being. That’s because both diet and exercise can affect mania, depression, anxiety and anger.
Help your partner figure out which foods negatively affect their symptoms and what physical activities they enjoy doing. You also can help by cooking healthy meals that support the body, mind and spirit.
5. Learn about complementary treatments. In addition to medication and psychotherapy, complementary treatments, such as aromatherapy, massage, acupuncture, yoga and meditation, may be very helpful in managing symptoms. Help your partner by researching these methods.
But remember that just because something is “all-natural” doesn’t make it safe or effective for your partner. For instance, they note that herbal supplement St. John’s Wort can have dangerous drug interactions. Also, some treatments may not be appropriate for certain symptoms, such as an intense massage when your partner is manic.
6. Help them with their medication. When they’re stable, work with your partner to figure out what helps and what doesn’t help for taking their medications. If the medications don’t seem to be working properly, help your partner make an appointment with his or her doctor. Encourage them to voice concerns. It can take time to find the right combination.