Home treatment is important in bipolar disorder. There are many things you can do to help control mood swings. You don't have to do them all at once. Try to do one thing, such as eating a healthy diet, then add another when you can.
Watch what you eat
Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet. A balanced diet includes foods from Reference different food groups Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window, such as whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and protein. Eat a variety of foods from each group. (For example, eat different fruits from the fruit group instead of only apples.) A varied diet helps you get all the nutrients you need. No single food provides every nutrient.
Keep good habits
- Take your medicine every day as prescribed.
- Get enough exercise. Try moderate activity for at least 30 minutes a day, every day, if possible. A brisk walk is an example of moderate activity.
- Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs.
- Limit caffeine and nicotine.
Reduce stress, get rest
- Try to control the amount of stress in your life. Techniques to relieve stress include physical activity and exercise, breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and counseling and support groups.
- Get enough sleep. Keep your room dark and quiet, and try to go to bed at the same time every night. If you plan to travel into other time zones, ask your doctor if you should make any changes in your medicines. And ask what to do if you have a manic or depressive episode while you are away.
Ask for help
- Learn to recognize the early warning signs of your manic and depressive episodes.
- Ask for help from friends and family when needed. You may need help with daily activities if you are depressed. Or you may need support to control high energy levels if you have a manic high.
How family and friends can help
Family members often feel helpless when a loved one is depressed or manic. But you can help.
- Encourage the person to take prescribed medicines regularly, even when he or she is feeling good.
- Recognize a lapse into a manic or depressive episode. Help the person cope and get treatment.
- Allow your loved one to take enough time to feel better and get back into daily activities.
- Learn the difference between hypomania and when your loved one is just having a good day. Hypomania is an elevated or irritable mood that is clearly different from a regular nondepressed mood. It can last for a week or more.
Know the signs
the Reference warning signs for suicide. They include:
- Drinking alcohol heavily or taking illegal drugs.
- Talking, writing, or drawing about death, such as writing suicide notes.
- Talking about things that can cause harm, such as pills, guns, or knives.
- Spending long periods of time alone.
- Giving away possessions.
- Acting aggressive or suddenly appearing calm.
Get help for you
If a loved one has bipolar disorder, it may be helpful for you to get counseling to deal with its impact on your own life. Manic episodes can be particularly hard. Talk with a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker, or a licensed professional counselor for your own therapy.
Counseling can also be helpful for a child who has a bipolar parent. The parent's mood swings may negatively affect the child. This can cause tearfulness, anger, depression, or rebellious behavior.
Find out how to Reference help a person during a manic episode.
To learn more about how you can help your loved one with depression, see:
- Reference Reference Depression: Helping Someone Get Treatment.
- Reference Reference Depression: Supporting Someone Who Is Depressed.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference July 26, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry