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How to Live with Someone with Bipolar Disorder

Living with a person with any significant mental health issue is demanding and living with a spouse or partner with bipolar disorder can be incredibly challenging. Learning how to equip yourself with the skills needed to support a loved one and practice good self-care daily is essential. Let’s introduce some strategies you can begin using right away to reduce some of the stress of your situation and create healthier habits within your household.

Someone with bipolar disorder may exhibit certain signs, including euphoria, changes to energy levels, and changes to sleep patterns. Symptoms may disrupt their ability to function daily. Treatment for bipolar disorder is available for your loved one at Hanley Center’s Residential Mental Health Program. In addition to the support, you provide your loved one, it’s essential to take care of yourself, set limits, and determine what kind of involvement is realistic.

Signs of Bipolar Disorder

When looking for signs of bipolar disorder in a loved one, pay attention to changes in behavior. You may notice the intensity of emotions increase. Their sleep patterns may change. Your loved one may become much more active or far less active. They may exhibit some behaviors at times that seem totally out of character. Your loved one may not even be aware of these changes to their behavior and the negative consequences they’re creating around them.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

It’s important to recognize the distinction between symptoms seen during major depressive episodes and ones involving mania.

Major Depressive Episode
During this type of episode, you may see these symptoms on any given day:
● They seem depressed, sad, or hopeless
● They lose interest in preferred activities
● Their behavior slows down
● They seem restless
● Their words suggest a sense of guilt or worthlessness
● They’re indecisive
● They talk about self-harm or suicide

If your loved one is talking about harming themselves or others, seek professional help immediately.

Mania and Hypomania

With these types of episodes, the behavior you see will routinely feature the following symptoms:
● Your loved one seems unusually excited, jumpy, or wired
● You notice an increase in their activity, vigor, or agitation
● They exhibit an exaggerated feeling of self-confidence and well-being
● Their need for sleep is lower
● Hyperverbal, where they talk excessively
● They appear to have racing thoughts and seem distracted
● Their behaviors suggest a lack of sound judgment

Importance of Self-Care

While you’re caring for someone with bipolar disorder, self-care shouldn’t be overlooked. Meeting your own needs can remain the foundation of each day. That means getting adequate rest, staying hydrated and nourished, and staying committed to your personal goals. To accomplish this, you will need to consider setting limits on your time and determining how involved you can be in helping your loved one each day. Educating yourself on what’s happening with them due to bipolar disorder can help as well.

Seeking Support

No amount of love you have for someone is expected to compensate for the effort it takes to live with someone with bipolar disorder. It’s unrealistic to think you can carry the burden alone without some kind of ongoing support for yourself. You can find help and support from friends, family, and professional services that can allow you to remain prepared to face challenges on a daily basis. Support can also be found for you and your loved one together through family counseling. This type of counseling can help both of you set boundaries and appropriate expectations of each other.

Help at Hanley Center for a Loved One

Hanley Center offers treatment for bipolar disorder for adults of all ages. Hanley Center’s Residential Mental Health Program‘s evidence-based therapies include Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and trauma therapies, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). During this program, your loved one can learn how to transition back to their lives, homes, families, and careers while possessing a sense of self-worth, direction, and control.


Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.

For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1296.

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If you or someone you love has a substance use or mental health disorder, Origins Behavioral HealthCare can help. We will work alongside you to provide the most comprehensive treatment available.