How to Help Someone with Bipolar Disorder

September 19, 2023

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Learning how to help someone with bipolar disorder is crucial for loved ones who are affected by someone with this disruptive condition. Living with a person who has bipolar disorder can be particularly challenging due to the unpredictable behaviors and mood swings. In this guide, family members who want to establish how to handle a bipolar person most effectively can learn more about:

  • How to deal with someone who is bipolar.
  • How to support someone with bipolar throughout ongoing treatment.
  • How to help someone with bipolar disorder who refuses help

How to Help Someone Who is Bipolar

Dealing with a bipolar person requires understanding and patience. Here is how to help a bipolar person in five simple steps:

  • Learn about bipolar disorder: Educate yourself about bipolar disorder, including its symptoms and warning signs. Early recognition of symptoms can inform timely intervention when dealing with someone with bipolar.
  • Practice patience: Understand that mood swings are beyond the person’s control. During episodes, your loved one may act impulsively or say hurtful things – it is not intentional. Helping someone with bipolar requires plenty of patience.
  • Open communication: Maintain open and honest communication. Ask about their feelings, concerns, and needs. Encourage them to keep mood diaries to track patterns.
  • Encourage professional help and provide ongoing support: Emphasize the importance of seeking professional treatment. Don’t wait for symptoms to improve on their own, as the condition can worsen. Bipolar disorder often requires lifelong management. Avoid pressuring them to “snap out of it” and commit to providing consistent support through ups and downs. Offer assistance during treatment, such as attending appointments, managing medications, and providing emotional support. This involvement reinforces their commitment to recovery.
  • Create a crisis plan: Prepare for extreme mood episodes by having an emergency plan. Include contact information for doctors, therapists, family members, and the nearest hospital. Keep a record of medications and dosages. Involve your loved one in creating this plan when they are stable.

By following these steps, you can provide valuable support and help your loved one manage their bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder and Relationships

Bipolar disorder can significantly impact relationships, but understanding the condition can help maintain healthy connections.

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Need Help Getting Mental Health Treatment?

Learning how to deal with someone with bipolar in your closest relationship takes time. If your loved one has bipolar disorder, start by learning more about the condition. Understand the various mood states, triggers, and treatment options. This knowledge can lead to better support and empathy.

Open and honest communication is vital. Encourage your partner to express their feelings and concerns. Listen actively and avoid judgment.

Bipolar disorder can lead to unpredictable mood swings. Demonstrate patience during both manic and depressive episodes. Avoid taking mood-related behaviors personally.

Encourage your partner to seek professional help and adhere to their treatment plan. Attend therapy sessions together, if appropriate.

Learn to recognize signs of an impending mood episode. Early intervention can prevent severe episodes.

Take care of your own mental health, too. Supporting someone with bipolar disorder can be demanding, so make sure to seek support and respite when needed.

Couples therapy can provide a safe space to address relationship challenges related to bipolar disorder. A trained therapist can offer strategies for both partners.

Develop an emergency plan together for extreme and disruptive episodes. Ensure that you both know how to seek emergency assistance if necessary.

Remember, a loving and understanding approach can make a significant difference in maintaining a healthy relationship when one partner has bipolar disorder.

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7 Tips for Supporting Someone with Bipolar

Supporting someone with bipolar disorder can be challenging, but it is incredibly important. Here are seven pointers that show you how to deal with bipolar people more effectively and provide meaningful support:

1) Learn about bipolar and show empathetic understanding

Cultivate empathy by learning about bipolar disorder. Familiarize yourself with its symptoms and early warning signs. Discover more about the symptoms of bipolar disorder and effective treatment options. Understanding the condition will enable you to offer informed support.

2) Encourage treatment and remain actively engaged

Gently encourage your loved one to seek professional help and adhere to their treatment plan. Medication and therapy are vital components of managing bipolar disorder.

Offer support and assistance during their treatment journey. This could involve attending medical appointments, helping with medication management, and providing emotional support. Your active involvement reinforces their commitment to recovery.

3) Open communication and respect boundaries

Maintain open and non-judgmental communication. Let them know that you are there to listen without criticism and offer a safe space for them to express their feelings.

Understand that there may be times when they need space. Respect the person’s boundaries while reassuring them of your continued support.

4) Recognize mood swings

Be aware of their mood swings and symptoms. This can help you anticipate their needs and offer support during both manic and depressive episodes.

5) Support self-care

Encourage healthy habits like regular sleep, a balanced diet, and exercise. These lifestyle choices can help stabilize moods.

6) Join a support group

Consider joining a support group for loved ones of individuals with bipolar disorder. These groups provide a space to share experiences and coping strategies.

7) Crisis preparedness

Create a crisis plan together for extreme mood episodes. Compile a list of emergency contacts, including doctors, therapists, and family members, as well as the nearest hospital’s contact information. Maintain a record of their medications and dosages. Collaborate with your loved one to develop this plan during stable periods.

Remember that bipolar disorder affects each person differently, so your support should be tailored to their specific needs. Patience, empathy, and consistency are key when helping someone impacted by bipolar disorder.


Can I help someone with bipolar disorder who refuses help?

Supporting someone with bipolar disorder who refuses help can be challenging. You can try educating yourself about the condition, maintaining open and non-judgmental communication, and encouraging them to consider professional assistance. However, ultimately, they have the right to make their own choices about treatment.

How can I support someone with bipolar?

Supporting someone with bipolar disorder involves several steps. Educate yourself about the condition, encourage them to follow their treatment plan, and provide emotional support during mood swings. It is also essential to be patient, understanding, and non-judgmental.

How can I deal with someone who is bipolar and pushing me away?

If someone with bipolar disorder is pushing you away, respect their boundaries while expressing your willingness to support them. Offer your assistance when they are ready, maintain communication, and encourage them to stay connected with their healthcare provider.

Is there residential treatment for bipolar disorder?

Residential treatment for bipolar disorder is less common than outpatient care but may be necessary in severe cases. Some mental health facilities offer specialized programs for individuals with bipolar disorder that provide intensive, round-the-clock care, including medication management, therapy, and structured routines. It’s essential to consult with a mental health professional to determine the most appropriate level of care.

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Get Treatment for Your Loved One with Bipolar Disorder at Connections

Now you know how to deal with a bipolar person in your life, place your trust in Connections Mental Health in Southern California for individualized and compassionate treatment for bipolar disorder in Orange County.

At our luxurious facility, your loved one can take advantage of a nurturing and inclusive setting in which to improve functioning and overall well-being. Our team of committed experts blend science-backed and holistic treatments to help your loved one life unconstrained by bipolar.

If you or a family member is grappling with episodes of bipolar disorder, call Connections Mental Health today at 844-413-0009 for immediate mental health treatment in Southern California.

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