Bipolar Disorder and Saying Hurtful Things: What to Do

December 29, 2023

A woman seeking help because she has been negatively affected by a bipolar disorder, saying hurtful things

Communicating with someone who has bipolar disorder may sometimes be difficult, especially if they say something that causes pain. Recognize, though, that such remarks are typically a manifestation of the symptoms of bipolar disorder, not a reflection of the person’s genuine sentiments. This guide offers compassionate ways to approach loved ones with bipolar disorder saying hurtful things. Ahead are some insightful methods for handling these moments with patience, comprehension, and kindness.

Why Do People with Bipolar Say Hurtful Things?

Individuals with bipolar disorder saying hurtful things during mood episodes is commonplace and understanding the reasons behind this behavior can be beneficial for both the person with bipolar disorder and their loved ones. Here are some factors that contribute to why there is a high incidence of people struggling with bipolar disorder saying hurtful things:

  • Mood swings: Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings, including manic episodes (elevated mood) and depressive episodes (low mood). During manic episodes, individuals may become overly talkative, impulsive, and lose their inhibitions. This can lead to them saying things without considering the consequences, which may hurt others.
  • Impulsivity: Impulsivity is a common symptom of bipolar disorder, especially during manic or hypomanic states. People with bipolar disorder may act on their thoughts and feelings without taking the time to filter or assess them. This impulsivity can result in hurtful comments or actions.
  • Irritability: During depressive or mixed episodes, people with bipolar disorder may experience intense irritability. This heightened irritability can lead to them reacting negatively to even minor triggers and lashing out with hurtful words.
  • Psychosis: In severe cases of bipolar disorder, especially during manic or mixed episodes, individuals may experience psychotic symptoms like delusions or hallucinations. These experiences can distort their perception of reality and cause them to say things that don’t make sense or may be hurtful to others.
  • Communication challenges: Bipolar disorder can affect a person’s ability to communicate effectively. They may struggle to express their thoughts and emotions in a constructive way, which can lead to misunderstandings and hurtful statements.
  • Stress and anxiety: Stressful situations and anxiety can exacerbate mood symptoms in individuals with bipolar disorder. When feeling overwhelmed or anxious, they may be more prone to saying hurtful things as a way of coping with their emotional turmoil.
  • Effects of bipolar medications: Medications used to manage bipolar disorder can sometimes have side effects like cognitive impairments or mood fluctuations. These side effects can impact a person’s ability to communicate and regulate their emotions, potentially leading to hurtful remarks.

Understanding these factors can help people with bipolar disorder and their loved ones navigate challenging situations and work together to develop strategies for effective communication and emotional management. Seeking support from mental health professionals and engaging in therapy can also be valuable in learning how to manage these aspects of the disorder and reduce the occurrence of hurtful statements.

A man sits on a beach, wondering why people with bipolar disorder say hurtful things

How Can I Get Help?

If you are taking medication for your bipolar disorder, seeking assistance in managing your medication can be a ueseful way to support yourself. Bipolar disorder is fundamentally a brain-related condition and should be treated accordingly. Medication plays a crucial role in managing your symptoms, so if you find it challenging to remember taking it, consider asking a close loved one for help in remembering and providing reminders.

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Need Help Getting Mental Health Treatment?

Your environment also significantly influences your ability to cope with your emotions. Several elements in your surroundings may be causing overwhelming feelings or may have undergone changes, including:

  • Relationships
  • Daily routines
  • Treatment plans
  • Life circumstances

To effectively address these issues, you should identify the source of your anger or irritability – why are these emotions surfacing?

One effective approach is to embrace your anger rather than resisting it. Your emotions have a purpose, and even if that purpose isn’t immediately clear, acknowledging the underlying cause can be the first step toward resolving the problem. Practice allowing your anger to express itself and reveal what is troubling you, and then determine the appropriate course of action.

Ultimately, managing your emotions as someone with bipolar disorder requires practice. The more strategies and coping mechanisms you have at your disposal, the better equipped you will be to navigate your emotions as they arise.

What Can I Do if Someone Is Bipolar Saying Hurtful Things?

Dealing with hurtful remarks from someone with bipolar disorder can be challenging, but there are some constructive steps you can take to support them and minimize the impact of their words on both of you:

  • Stay calm: Remain composed and do not react impulsively to hurtful comments. Understand that these remarks may be a result of their condition and not a reflection of their true feelings towards you.
  • Educate yourself: Learn about bipolar disorder and its symptoms to gain a better understanding of what the person is going through. Knowledge can help you empathize and approach the situation more compassionately.
  • Communicate: Find an appropriate time to talk to the person about their hurtful remarks when they are in a stable or receptive state. Express your concern for their well-being and the impact of their words on you. Encourage open and honest communication.
  • Set boundaries: Discuss boundaries with the person, especially during mood episodes. Let them know what behavior and language are unacceptable, and establish consequences for crossing those boundaries.
  • Encourage treatment: Encourage the person to adhere to their treatment plan, including taking medication and attending therapy sessions. Support them in seeking professional help if they are not currently receiving treatment or if their current treatment is not effective.
  • Identify triggers: Work together to identify triggers that may lead to hurtful comments. By recognizing these triggers, you can take steps to avoid or manage them.
  • Seek support: Consider involving a mental health professional or therapist to facilitate productive conversations and provide guidance on managing the challenges that may arise.
  • Self-care: Take care of your emotional well-being. Dealing with someone who says hurtful things can be demanding emotionally, so prioritize self-care and seek support from friends, family, or a support group.
  • Encourage responsibility: Encourage the person to take responsibility for their actions and words. Help them understand the impact their behavior has on relationships and personal growth.
  • Patience: Understand that managing bipolar disorder is a lifelong process, and there may be setbacks along the way. Be patient and continue to provide support and encouragement.

Remember that dealing with someone who has bipolar disorder can be challenging, but it’s essential to approach the situation with empathy, patience, and a commitment to their well-being. Encouraging them to seek professional help and actively participate in their treatment plan is often a crucial step towards better managing mood episodes and minimizing hurtful remarks.

Common Treatment Options

Addressing the issue of someone with bipolar disorder saying hurtful things often involves a combination of therapeutic approaches and lifestyle changes. Here are some key components of treatment that can help manage this aspect of the condition:

  • Medication management: Medications are a cornerstone of bipolar disorder treatment. Mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics may be prescribed to help regulate mood swings and reduce impulsivity. Ensuring consistent medication adherence is crucial in managing symptoms that lead to hurtful remarks.
  • Therapy: Various forms of therapy can be highly effective in helping individuals with bipolar disorder and their loved ones address communication challenges and emotional regulation issues. Therapies and medications are often used in combination to treat the symptoms of bipolar.
  • CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy): CBT can teach people coping strategies, problem-solving skills, and ways to identify and challenge self-defeating thought patterns that may contribute to making hurtful remarks.
  • Family therapy: Involving family members can help improve communication and provide support for both the individual with bipolar disorder and their loved ones.
  • IPSRT (interpersonal and social rhythm therapy): IPSRT helps people with bipolar regulate everyday routines and manage interpersonal relationships, which can be essential in stabilizing mood and reducing irritability.
  • Psychoeducation: Learning about bipolar disorder, its symptoms, triggers, and treatment options can empower people to better manage their condition. Psychoeducation can also help family members understand what to expect and how to provide support.
  • Lifestyle changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can have a significant impact on managing bipolar disorder. Encourage the person to maintain a consistent sleep schedule to regulate circadian rhythm. It is also beneficial to follow a balanced diet and manage alcohol and caffeine intake. Engage in regular exercise, which can help alleviate stress and improve mood. Avoid substance abuse, as drugs and alcohol can worsen mood swings.
  • Stress reduction techniques: Teach and practice stress reduction techniques together, such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga. These methods can help people manage anxiety and reduce impulsivity.
  • Monitoring and journaling: Encourage the person to keep a mood journal to track their emotions, triggers, and any hurtful remarks they may have made. This can help identify patterns and provide insights for therapy.
  • Support groups: Joining a bipolar disorder support group can offer a sense of community and provide a platform for sharing experiences and coping strategies with others who face similar challenges.
  • Regular check-ins: Maintain open and regular communication with mental health professionals involved in the person’s treatment. Adjustments to medications or therapy may be necessary as their condition evolves.

Effective treatment plans for bipolar disorder should be personalized to suit the individual’s needs and preferences. Additionally, the support and understanding of loved ones can play a crucial role in the success of treatment and the management of hurtful remarks. Collaborating with mental health professionals and maintaining a supportive environment can contribute to better outcomes for everyone involved.

An image of the natural scenery in orange county, where Connections Mental Health is located and treatment for bipolar disorder is available

Get Treatment for Bipolar Disorder at Connections

At Connections Mental Health in Southern California, we treat bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions at our luxury beachside facility, enabling individuals to restore daily functioning and improve overall well-being.

The disruptive and aggravating nature of bipolar means that our inpatient program offers the most immersive and effective pathway to long-term recovery. Over the course of a month, you can engage with a variety of psychotherapies, individual counseling, group therapy sessions, and holistic treatments. The treatment team may also prescribe and oversee the administration of bipolar medications. When you are ready to move beyond a life constrained by bipolar, call 844-413-0009  for immediate assistance.

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