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Bipolar Relationships - Date with Knowledge and Patience

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When dating someone with bipolar disorder, the relationship can be a roller coaster of emotions. Read on to get an idea of how to steady the ride.

Written by

Dr. Shikha

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Abhishek Juneja

Published At February 15, 2023
Reviewed AtFebruary 15, 2023

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a situation that can cause mood, energy, and capacity to operate to fluctuate. Individuals with bipolar disorder have strong emotional states known as mood episodes, which last anywhere from days to weeks. Manic or hypomanic (abnormally cheerful or irritated mood) or melancholy moods are the two types of mood episodes. Bipolar disorder patients frequently have intervals of neutral mood. People with bipolar disorder can live long and productive lives if properly treated. Even those who are not affected by bipolar disorder encounter mood swings. These kinds of mood swings, on the other hand, usually last for hours rather than days.

Furthermore, these alterations are rarely accompanied by the significant degree of behavioral changes or trouble with daily activities and social interactions that bipolar disorder patients experience. Relationships can suffer greatly from bipolar conditions, which also makes it challenging to work or attend school. There is a familial tendency for bipolar disorder. Environmental factors such as stress, drugs, sleep disruption, and alcohol can induce mood episodes in a vulnerable person. Though the exact causes of bipolar disorder in the brain are unknown, it is thought that an imbalance of brain chemicals creates dysregulated brain activity.

What Are the Types of Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar I: An individual is identified as having bipolar I disorder when they experience a manic episode. Bipolar I disorder patients have an extraordinary surge in energy and may be super happy or terribly angry during a manic episode. Hypomanic or depressive episodes occur in some persons with bipolar I disorder, while most people with bipolar I disease have periods of neutral mood.

Hypomania Episode: A hypomanic event is defined by milder manic symptoms lasting for days rather than a week. In comparison to manic episodes, hypomanic signs do not present the same serious challenges in daily life. A major episode of depression lasts at least two weeks and consists of at least five of the listed symptoms:

  • Misery or sadness that is intense.

  • Loss of interest in previously appreciated activities.

  • Feeling insignificant.

  • Fatigue.

  • Getting more or less sleep.

  • Appetite increases or decreases.

  • Slowed speech or movement or restlessness.

  • Concentration problems.

  • Suicidal or death thoughts regularly.

Manic Episode: A manic episode is described as a time period of at least one week during which a person is excessively elated or agitated for most of the duration of the day on most days, is more energized than usual, and exhibits at least three of the following behavioral changes:

  • Reduced sleep requirements.

  • Speech that is louder or faster.

  • When speaking, unchecked racing thoughts or rapidly changing ideas or themes.

  • Distractibility.

  • Enhanced activity. For example: Restlessness or increased working.

  • Risky behavior increases.

These behaviors must be noticeable to family and friends as a departure from the person's typical conduct. Symptoms must be severe enough to warrant problems at work, in the home, or in social situations. Symptoms of a manic episode frequently necessitate hospitalization in order to remain safe. Psychotic traits include disorganized thinking, erroneous beliefs, or hallucinations.

Treatment: Treatment for bipolar disorder usually improves symptoms. The core of bipolar disorder treatment is medication, although psychotherapy can aid many individuals in learning about the illness and sticking to their medications, preventing recurring mood episodes.

The most widely given form of medicine for bipolar disorder is known as a mood stabilizer, and these drugs are thought to correct a problem with brain signaling. Because bipolar disorder is a chronic illness with recurrent mood episodes, it is advised that patients get continuing preventive treatment. Treatment for bipolar illness is personalized, and persons with the disorder may need to try a variety of drugs before finding one that works best for them. When medication and psychotherapy have failed to provide relief, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be performed.

While the patient is under anesthesia, several cycles of a brief electrical current are given to the scalp, resulting in a short, controlled seizure. Family members may benefit from professional resources, especially mental health awareness and support groups because bipolar disorder can cause significant turmoil in a person's daily life and create a stressful family environment. Families can learn coping methods, participate actively in therapy, and receive support from these resources.

Bipolar II: Hypomanic episodes occur in bipolar II patients, which feature out-of-character conduct but are not as severe as bipolar I. Hypomanic episodes can include the following:

  • Increased vigor and motivation.

  • Rapid-fire speaking.

  • Sleep requirements are reduced.

Medication and psychotherapy are utilized to treat bipolar II, very similar to the treatment for bipolar I. Mood stabilizers and antidepressants are the most prescribed drugs, depending on the symptoms. Electroconvulsive therapy may be used if symptoms are severe and medicine is ineffective. Treatment is tailored to each individual.

Cyclothymic Disorder: Cyclothymic disorder is a moderate variant of bipolar disorder characterized by recurrent mood swings, hypomania, and depression symptoms. Emotional phases of ups and downs characterize cyclothymia but with fewer symptoms than bipolar I or II diseases. Symptoms of cyclothymic disorder include several periods of hypomanic and depressive symptoms spanning at least two years; however, these symptoms do not fit the requirements for a hypomanic or depressive episode. The symptoms have remained for at least half of the two years and have not subsided for more than a period of two months.

Medication and conversation therapy may be used to treat the cyclothymic disorder. Many people can benefit from talking talk therapy, and with the challenges of mood swings, keeping a mood journal can be a helpful tool for noticing trends in mood swings. Cyclothymia patients may begin and stop treatment at any time.

What Is It Like to Date Someone With Bipolar Disorder?

Every love relationship has its obstacles, but the bipolar disease can make things even more difficult in a variety of ways.

  • Intimacy: During manic or hypomanic stages, patients with bipolar disorder often need frequent intercourse. The partner may initiate closeness much more frequently than usual, as well as masturbate or use pornography. During manic episodes, people with the bipolar disease may engage in dangerous behaviors like unprotected intercourse or extramarital affairs. The partner may shun sexual contact entirely during depressive bouts. This might be perplexing or even seem like rejection, particularly if the partner has lately shown a strong desire for sexual engagement during a manic or hypomanic episode. Many bipolar illness drugs can also reduce sex drive.

  • Parenting: Many people regard parenting as the most challenging job they have ever had. However, for people with bipolar disorder, any stressor, good event or negative, has the potential to provoke manic or depressed episodes. Furthermore, children who depend on their parents for stability may be confused and scared by the bizarre behavior associated with bipolar disease. It is critical to assist the partner in receiving and maintaining treatment to reduce symptoms in order to provide a secure and safe environment for children.

  • Work: Bipolar disorder can influence one's partner's ability to function well at work. It is difficult to get and keep a job when one has severe mood fluctuations, as well as manic symptoms like poor judgment and impulsivity, or depressed symptoms like low energy and indifference. Workplace stressors may increase or trigger the partner's symptoms. If the partner is unable to work, one may feel extra pressure to give financial assistance until their sickness is well-managed.

How to Cope and Make the Relationship With Bipolar Individuals Work?

It is difficult to date someone who suffers from this condition. A few dating advice for those with bipolar disorder that will benefit both you and your partner.

  • Find Out More About the Condition: Learning as much as one can about bipolar disorder is the greatest way to support someone who has it. Being cool and understanding the person's actions and symptoms without being educated on the disease is tough. Learn everything about bipolar disorder and mental health so as to provide the best possible care for your partner.

  • Be Patient With Oneself and With Them: It is critical that one not only be patient with their partner but that they also take it easy on themselves. The more a person knows about mania, the simpler it will be to be patient with their partner when they are suffering from it. However, caring for a spouse with this condition continuously can exhaust anyone. Take a break now, rather than waiting until one is about to lose it. Patience is learned through repetition. If you feel overwhelmed, move to a different room and take a deep breath. Also, make time for self-care by going for walks, doing yoga, watching a favorite movie, or doing anything else enjoyable.

  • Attend a Couple’s Counseling Session: Bipolar disorder can make it difficult for a person to be intimate with their spouse, work, pay expenses, or care for their family. If not addressed appropriately, these concerns can strain a relationship and produce a lot of friction. Couples counseling provides a secure environment for a person and his partner to discuss the problems and receive guidance from a certified therapist on bettering the situation.

  • Knowing When to Bid Farewell: Do not end the relationship with someone who is having a manic episode, as this can aggravate symptoms and lead to more difficulties. Wait until they are in a cooling-off period before breaking up with them, and do so with one or two other pals.

Conclusion:

Maintaining an open channel of communication, ensuring that the person suffering from bipolar disorder adheres to their treatment plan, and seeking help when needed are all important factors in achieving success. One must be patient with their partner and take it easy on themselves. The more one knows about the disorder, the simpler it will be to remain patient with a partner suffering from bipolar disorder.

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Dr. Abhishek Juneja
Dr. Abhishek Juneja

Neurology

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bipolar disorderbipolar relationships
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