Summary: It is no secret that living with a bipolar spouse has many challenges that at times are quite hard to deal with. It is important that spouses be able to recognize bipolar triggers so that they can avoid situations where the sufferer can have a relapse.
Bipolar disorder is a serious psychiatric condition that warrants prompt diagnosis, treatment and long term counseling. People that have bipolar spouses often find it very difficult to come to grips with this condition. As a matter of fact, this condition has resulted in many failed marriages because of the hardships of dealing with the changes in behavior. It is very crushing to see someone you care for fall into a deep melancholy and then steadily go into stages of manic behavior. Part and parcel of the treatment of bipolar disease is to know the triggers that cause its appearance in people that have it. Here are some important tips on how to help a bipolar spouse manage their triggers.
A bipolar trigger can be considered as an event or situation that a person with bipolar disorder experiences, which can lead to the manifestation of mood swings associated with the disease. A lot of these so-called triggers are personal choices and include events that are beyond the control of the person. However, the key here is anticipation of the trigger so that the situation can be augmented in such a way that the bipolar trigger is avoided or minimized to a manageable level. A big part of that is to have control over the person’s environment so that variables can be kept at a minimum. An important thing to consider about bipolar triggers is that they are quite different and unique to the sufferer. It is really up to the sufferer and the spouse to be able to identify these during the course of their psychotherapy and counseling so that it can be managed more efficiently.
It is important to note that family and friends play a major role in helping the bipolar sufferer to identify his or her triggers because they are in a unique situation where they can observe the sufferer’s lifestyle habits and then manage ways to change or improve them. In some instances, a bipolar trigger could also be the family member themselves. That is why it is essential that they undergo counseling as well when living with someone who has the condition.
Bipolar triggers come in many forms. However, there are some common characteristics of triggers that can be discovered in the course of knowing the spouse. A common bipolar trigger is the inability to maintain a regular sleeping schedule. Spouses can help their loved one avoid this problem by enforcing a sleep schedule. For instance, they should set an agreement as to when they would go to bed and how many hours of sleep the sufferer should have. It is recommended that 6 to 8 hours be initiated so that the sufferer may be able to feel rested and avoid any mood swings during the day that can cause a relapse. If the person is having trouble sleeping, the spouse must identify any environmental factors such as noise, bright room, caffeine and even exercising during bedtime, which can cause the bipolar sufferer to have difficulty initiating sleep.
Another good method that can help spouses control their bipolar triggers is to modify the environment they live in. For instance, if the trigger for the bipolar spouse is work related stress, then it is only natural that they take steps to lessen the work load. If necessary, quit the job and get one that has less stress and responsibilities. It is essential that the spouse ensures that the bipolar sufferer is taking the medications on time and not secretly neglecting it. A classic sign of mania is a feeling of invulnerability. If they all of a sudden see this in their spouse then it is possible that medications have been neglected. Attending bipolar support groups for spouses living with a bipolar person can help provide support and understanding for this kind of condition.