Medication and therapy is a huge part of managing bipolar disorder. Another part of managing bipolar is to learn how to adjust your life according to what works best for you. Medication will help to lessen symptoms of mania and depression but along with medication, a patient needs to remember to take care of themself. Once you get off a regular sleep schedule due to insomnia that may be a part of your disorder or allowing yourself to live too much in the moment, your life can show effects of this for days afterwards. Learning how to stick to a schedule can help you to manage your symptoms.
Sleep patterns are a huge issue for bipolar patients. Sometimes you get too much sleep and other times you get too little sleep. Insomnia that happens on a semi-regular basis can sometimes be controlled by changing lifestyle habits. Adding prescription medication for sleep should be the last resort after trying other methods. Bipolar patients normally take several medications and every time one is added there is always a chance of having to adjust to new side effects. In order to get better sleep, do things like avoiding strenuous exercise late at night, limit your caffeine intake and try to keep a bedtime routine. Having a routine might help you to sleep better.
The symptoms of bipolar along with the medications to treat them often can cause changes in appetite and digestion. Eating a healthier diet can help with this. Taking vitamin supplements like B vitamins can help with energy and mood levels. Trying not to skip meals is another way to keep yourself healthy. Some experts say that if you eat a well-balanced diet there is no need for vitamins and other supplements but if you are eating healthy and still feel sluggish, trying a multi-vitamin may help.
Having a regular exercise routine is great for your body and for your mental health. Exercise helps to release endorphins which help to boost your mood. Keeping yourself in good physical condition also helps to combat sleep issues. Exercise is a part of a well-balanced lifestyle.
Keeping a log of your medications, your reactions to them and how you cope daily with symptoms is a great way to get your bipolar disorder under control. It wouldn’t hurt to also log what you eat, how you slept and any other activities that might cause you to experience a worsening of your mood swings. This is so helpful for when you see your doctor. Managing your medications to treat your bipolar disorder is the hardest part of being bipolar. For some people it can take time to find the right “cocktail” for their body. Speaking of cocktails, alcohol and medications to treat bipolar disorder do not mix. If you have a problem with alcohol, meaning that you cannot give it up, seek out treatment. Alcohol is a depressant and for people who have bipolar disorder it messes with their body chemistry. It makes your medication not as effective as it should be.
Therapy and support groups.
Having friends that you can lean on is great but when you are bipolar and not yet stable, finding a support group can be the best therapy. You can learn from others and have a place to vent where you will find acceptance and understanding. Even though your family and friends may want to help you, sometimes they do not understand what it is like to be bipolar. Part of living with bipolar is learning how to handle the mood swings, side effects of medication and acceptance of the disorder. You will come to a place in your life where you are able to manage the mood swings and find the balance in your life.
Many bipolar patients are very creative people. Sometimes we feel this urge at strange times and indulging this side can be very healthy. A bipolar patient can get into trouble when it disrupts their sleep or causes them to be late for a job or other necessary appointment. Self-discipline is the key here. It is great to be able to express yourself whether it is through art, writing or other media. It can even be a form of therapy. Keeping it under control and not allowing yourself to forget about your responsibilities is a problem that some have. As you get more stable with your medication and learn more about what triggers your highs and lows, you may be better able to flow with your creativity without becoming obsessed with it.
Bipolar disorder may mean that you march to the beat of your own drummer but as long as you learn what you need to do in order to not let bipolar control you, you can have a healthy and happy life.