What Should You Do if You Have a Bipolar Partner?

· March 21, 2019
People who have bipolar disorder can lead normal lives as long as they continue their treatment. Understanding bipolar disorder and how you can help your bipolar partner is extremely important if you are in a relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder affects the emotions, which is why it frequently interferes with human relationships, especially romantic ones. Over the course of a relationship, a bipolar person can be positively or negatively impacted. If this is the case with you, it’s important that you understand the role you play and that you continue to support your bipolar partner.

The main thing is to be patient and be the person who provides emotional balance in the relationship. You should know that people with bipolar disorder have behavioral patterns that are not of their own volition.

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What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a very common psychiatric disorder that produces episodes of depression alternating with euphoria (mania).

In many cases, these episodes become chronic, so those who suffer from it require medical treatment for the rest of their lives.

This disorder may be hereditary, although the genetic defect that causes it has not yet been identified. The causes of affective disorders are unknown, but they’re believed to be a result of a number of neuro-biological and psycho-social factors.

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What Can You Do for Your Bipolar Partner?

Being with a bipolar partner doesn’t mean that you should be the one to care for them or set your life aside.

There are many things you can do for your partner without neglecting yourself.

It’s important that you help your partner recognize the symptoms.

You are constantly by their side – who better than you to help your partner recognize what’s happening to them? Little by little, you will gain enough experience to know when a crisis or relapse is about to occur.

This will help you act in advance to prevent it.

Work With the Doctor

You will be the perfect source of information for the doctor to continually reevaluate your partner’s progress.

If you communicate well with your doctor, you will get the most out of each consultation. Try not to hide any details and, if necessary, write down things you consider to be important.

Don’t Overprotect your Bipolar Partner

Couple restrained together bipolar partner
Being overprotective won’t do either of you any good. A bipolar person spends most of their time as if they had no illness, leading a normal life.

When your partner’s stable, don’t limit your own autonomy or responsibilities.

However, when they have episodes of mania or depression, it’s important to be with them as much as possible. That way, you can prevent any self-destructive behavior.

Don’t Criticize Your Bipolar Partner

You might criticize your partner without realizing it. Try to remember that you’re one of the people that they trust the most.

Always remember that the symptoms your partner has are not fake. They don’t want to suffer from this disorder and they may be doing their best to recover.

Make sure they take their medications

Bipolar partner make sure they take their medicationYou should monitor whether or not they take their medication properly. There are some cases when a patient starts to feel better and decides they don’t need to continue with medical treatments.

They may totally or partly stop taking their medication without consulting their doctor. However, this can cause them to relapse or worse.

How can you take care of yourself?

A lot of times you might forget to give yourself some time to recharge your energy while caring for another person.

It’s very important that you dedicate some time and space for yourself, and you may need to consider therapy. There is no cure for bipolar disorder, so keep in mind that this is something you must face for life if you stay with your partner.

You need to make sure you can care for both of you during certain times, and that’s why it’s fundamental that you have the support of your family and friends, because this can be an extremely difficult responsibility to bear in some situations.

If you feel like it’s getting harder for you to deal with your partner’s disorder, it’s a good idea to talk with a therapist.

There’s no reason for you to feel guilty. On the contrary, living with a person who has this disorder can be very difficult for some people and it’s understandable that you would want to seek many avenues of support in order to move forward.

What should you do if your partner has a crisis?

The most important thing is to be aware of whether or not your partner wants to or is able to harm themselves or those around them.

You should seek help quickly if you feel like you’re not able to take control of the situation. Avoid leaving your partner alone during a crisis at all costs, and try to communicate with their doctor as soon as possible.

When you talk to a specialist, ask them to provide their personal number in case you need their support in the event of a crisis.

If you notice that your partner has one or more of the symptoms mentioned here, encourage them to see a doctor and start treatment. This will enable you both to better enjoy your life together.

  • Rowe, L. S., & Morris, A. M. (2012). Patient and partner correlates of couple relationship functioning in bipolar disorder. Journal of Family Psychology26(3), 328.