Bipolar disorder (BPD) is a complex affective disorder that can often leave you feeling hopeless that you will achieve long-term mood stabilization. In addition to psychiatric treatment, there are ways you can help manage BPD.
Live A Healthy Lifestyle
Eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise can help you manage BPD by coping with daily stress in a positive way. Life stress can easily trigger manic or depressive episodes. In general, you will want to minimize unhealthy fats and processed foods in your diet. Simple carbohydrates can make you feel sluggish and sleepy, which can exacerbate depressive symptoms.
Make sure you stay well hydrated, preferably by consuming water, and use dietary supplements when needed to ensure you have adequate nutrition. If you normally consume caffeine throughout the day, you should limit your caffeine to the early part of your waking hours. Caffeine can contribute to problems with irritability that occurs with comorbid anxiety disorders or if you experience mixed-manic episodes.
Be Mindful Of Sleep Patterns
When you are sleep-deprived, you are more likely to experience mood fluctuations. You can increase the number of hours you sleep and your sleep quality making a sleep schedule and sticking to your schedule. A sleep schedule can make it easier for you to wind down and get to sleep at a reasonable hour.
Use your alarm, even on days off, to prevent oversleeping. It is common with BPD to experience atypical depression, which may cause hypersomnia. Excessive sleep can be just as detrimental as insufficient sleep when you are trying to prevent mood cycles.
Alcoholic beverages can have many counterproductive effects when you have BPD. Since alcohol acts as a depressant, you may notice changes in your mood after consuming alcohol and you may easily find yourself in a depressive episode. Furthermore, alcohol can impede the effectiveness of medications used to treat BPD. If you take a specific class of antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), consumption of red wine can cause a lethal reaction. In general, it is best to avoid alcohol entirely and do not skip your medication to drink.
Be Honest About Side Effects
A common complaint about some medications used to manage BPD is side effects, such as significant weight gain and fatigue. Before you choose to stop taking your medication, speak with your psychiatrist about newer medications used for BPD. Newer atypical antipsychotics can be equally effective at reducing mood cycling, while having a lower risk of side effects. Just like most mental or physical health conditions, finding the right combination of medications can take trial and error. A major incentive for persevering through the trial and error phase is that the fewer manic and depressive episodes you have, the easier it will be in the future to avoid relapses of BPD.
Managing BPD requires a combination of treatment by a psychiatrist, counseling and living a lifestyle that minimizes depressive and manic episodes. Although the road to mood stabilization can be difficult, it is possible to effectively manage BPD and live a fulfilling life. For more information, contact a professional such as Ghaly, Nasri - Ghaly Healing & Wellness Center.