Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that can profoundly affect your quality of life. For those who have it, an estimated 82.9% experience severe impairment, while 17.1% experience moderate impairment. If you suspect your spouse has bipolar disorder, you may spot the signs and difficulties associated with the condition, but what can you do?
As an experienced, board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Hadi Estakhri understands the impact bipolar disorder can have on relationships. If you or a loved one need help, we encourage you to reach out to Allied Psychiatry & Mental Health in Newport Beach, California.
In the meantime, read on as our team addresses a common concern faced by many individuals: recognizing potential signs of bipolar disorder in their spouse. Understanding and identifying these symptoms is vital for providing support, seeking appropriate treatment, and fostering a healthier relationship.
Understanding bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme shifts in mood. These mood swings can range from manic episodes of heightened euphoria to depressive episodes marked by sadness, lethargy, and withdrawal. There are three types of bipolar disorder: bipolar 1 disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymic disorder.
It’s important to remember that bipolar disorder affects individuals differently, and symptoms can vary in intensity and frequency.
Recognizing the signs
Being able to recognize the signs of bipolar disorder is the first step in helping your loved one. Common signs include:
Extreme mood swings
Everyone can experience quick shifts in mood, but one of the key indicators of bipolar disorder is the presence of significant mood swings.
Your spouse may experience prolonged periods of elation, enthusiasm, or irritability during manic episodes, followed by periods of sadness, hopelessness, or disinterest during depressive episodes. The mood swings likely interfere with daily tasks or functioning.
Changes in energy levels
Pay attention to noticeable changes in your spouse's energy levels. During manic episodes, they may exhibit heightened energy, restlessness, and a decreased need for sleep. Conversely, during depressive episodes, they might lack energy, feel fatigued, and experience difficulty getting out of bed.
Another common symptom of bipolar disorder is impulsive behavior. Your spouse may engage in reckless activities, spend excessively, make impulsive decisions, or have an increased desire for thrill-seeking during manic episodes. These behaviors can have significant consequences on their personal and financial well-being.
Disturbed sleep patterns
Keep an eye out for any significant changes in your spouse's sleep patterns. They may experience difficulty falling asleep, suffer from insomnia, or conversely, have an increased need for sleep during different phases of the disorder.
Rapid speech and racing thoughts
During manic episodes, your spouse may exhibit rapid speech patterns, talk excessively, and experience racing thoughts. They might have difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or maintaining coherent conversations.
Approaching the situation with empathy and care
Talking about mental health struggles isn’t easy for everyone, and if your spouse is sensitive, it’s important to approach the situation with empathy and care.
Here’s what you can do:
Learn as much as you can about bipolar disorder to better understand the challenges your spouse may be facing. Familiarize yourself with available treatment options and support resources.
Open and honest communication
Create a safe and nonjudgmental space for your spouse to share their feelings. Encourage open conversations about their experiences and emotions. Active listening and expressing empathy will help build trust and strengthen your bond.
Encourage professional help
Suggest seeking professional support. Bipolar disorder is a complex condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Estakhri can provide the necessary guidance and develop a personalized treatment plan for your spouse.
Offer your support throughout their journey. Encourage them to adhere to their treatment plan, attend therapy sessions, and take prescribed medications regularly. Help them establish healthy routines and coping strategies that promote stability and well-being.
Take care of yourself
Supporting a loved one with bipolar disorder can be challenging, so remember to prioritize your own self-care. Seek support from friends, family, or support groups. Taking care of yourself will enable you to be a better source of support for your spouse.
Get the help you need
Recognizing potential signs of bipolar disorder in your spouse is the first step toward understanding and providing the necessary support.
Remember to be patient, empathetic, and understanding throughout the process, and don't forget to take care of your own well-being. With the right support and treatment, individuals with bipolar disorder can lead fulfilling lives and cultivate healthy relationships.
To learn more, book an appointment with Dr. Estakhri today by calling us at 949-945-0927 or scheduling online.