Summary: People who live with a bipolar spouse more often than not give up the relationship because of the difficulties in handling the mood swings of the affected spouse. It is essential to get a good understanding of the disease in order to cope with the challenges.

Current statistics tell us that ninety per cent of marriages where one of the spouses is bipolar end up in divorce or annulment. Bipolar disease is a difficult psychiatric condition to live with because of the challenges and sacrifices one has to make in order to make life livable in a marital relationship. Part of coping with someone who has bipolar disorder is to understand the disease thoroughly and thereby learn how to cope with the shifts of mood that can occur once the spouse starts manifesting it. It is important to also understand that both people not just the sufferer have a responsibility for managing the condition. 

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric condition that is characterized by changes in mood. There are two poles of manifestation exhibited, hence the term bipolar. We have the manic and the depressive state. The manic or positive symptoms of the disease manifest with grandiose feelings of oneself, elevation of mood with no apparent reason, insomnia and other positive symptoms. On the other hand, the depressive state manifests as intense feelings of sadness and guilt, lack of energy, inability to enjoy things that are regularly enjoyed, withdrawal and an overall sense of emptiness without cause. Meanwhile, there is also a mixed condition where the sufferer experiences both manic and depressive states within a span of a few moments. If you suspect that your wife or husband may be exhibiting any of these symptoms for more than a week, it is essential that you get the proper psychiatric intervention to diagnose or rule out this condition. If left untreated, bipolar disorder can have serious financial ramifications as the person in a manic state will tend to spend all their money and credit without regard for the consequences. On the other hand, if the person is in the depressive state, the possibility of suicide is always seriously entertained. 

Get Proper Counseling

When you live with a bipolar spouse, it must be realized that the person by your side will have some difficult and challenging moments especially when it comes to dealing with the shifts in mood and behavior. The most important thing to remember is to get counseling from an expert such as a psychiatrist so as to learn how to live with someone that has this condition.

One of the most important things to consider when living with a bipolar spouse is to recognize the triggers that can cause a relapse. It is also equally important to detect small changes in mood and behavior to identify if there is an impending episode of either the manic or depressive states. For instance, a sure fire way of knowing if an episode is going to happen is when your spouse begins sleeping late or not getting adequate rest. He or she may begin to have difficulty concentrating on a simple task and may begin to talk in a hurried manner. Part of the management of living with a bipolar spouse is to modify the living environment so that triggers can be avoided and relapses kept to a minimum. One of the best ways to do this is to follow a strict daily routine, avoidance of alcohol and caffeine as well as reduction of stress causing factors such as work or emotional issues.

While it is true that a bipolar spouse needs extra attention and support, the caregiver should also seek support when it comes to emotional needs. It is important to participate in your own personal recreational activity. Likewise, it is recommended that spouses attend support groups and counseling sessions in order to get a handle on the challenges of living with a bipolar spouse.