Bipolar Disorder

Self-Help for Bipolar Disorder

Rashmi Nemade, Ph.D. & Mark Dombeck, Ph.D., edited by Kathryn Patricelli, MA

female running People with Bipolar Disorder in the grip of severe mood episodes are often unable to help themselves or often even to stop themselves from acting out in ways that may damage their health. However, they actually can do a lot to help ensure their health and safety as their bipolar symptoms stabilize. This stabilizing generally happens with the help of bipolar medication therapy. Self-help methods include any activities that patients can do which will help keep their moods as stable as possible. Useful methods that patients might explore would include:

  • Regular physical exercise.
  • Setting and maintaining a standard bedtime and wake-time every day, including days off.
  • Practicing relaxation or meditation exercises regularly.
  • Taking bipolar medication at the same time every day.
  • Reducing work and family stress as much as is practical.
  • Eating a healthy diet at regular times each day.
  • Regular participation in communities (including peer-support groups, religious communities or other civic or interest-based regular gatherings); (being involved with others helps prevent depression).
  • Regular attendance in psychotherapy and/or regular self-monitoring exercises designed to help promote awareness of moods (talking about problems and problem solving help to prevent depression).
  • Avoidance of mood-altering drugs, including alcohol.

These approaches can help patients increase their ability to resist extremes of emotion (insomuch as that is possible to accomplish). It also helps patients to recognize when a shift in mood is about to occur so that they may take steps to minimize the severity and impact of that oncoming mood.

Participation in psychotherapy, in community activities, and in bipolar support groups provides patients with social support and fellowship opportunities. This is an experience that most people find very meaningful and can help them to become more resilient in the face of depression. This participation provides opportunities for self- and other-monitoring of their behavior, and for reality testing.

Patients who are interested in locating a bipolar therapy group can speak to their doctor or therapist who may be able to provide a referral. Patients desiring face-to-face bipolar support group participation may also seek group referrals from mental health associations including:

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (formerly National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association (NDMDA)) - http://www.ndmda.org/

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)

Mental Health America (MHA) (formerly, the National Mental Health Association, (NMHA).

There are online communities where support and fellowship may be found:

Bipolar Support

The Bright Side

 




Clinic Locations

Erath County
906 Lingleville Highway
Stephenville, TX 76401
(254) 968-4181

Hood County
104 Pirate Drive
Granbury, TX 76048
(817) 573-2662

Somervell County
301 Bo Gibbs
Glen Rose, TX 76043
(254) -552-2090

Johnson County
1601 North Anglin Street
Cleburne, TX 76031
(817) 558-1121

Palo Pinto County
214 SW 26th Ave, Suite A
Mineral Wells, TX 76068
(940) 325-9541

Parker County
1715 Santa Fe Drive
Weatherford, TX 76086
(817) 599-7634

Administration Office
2101 West Pearl Street
Granbury, TX 76048
(817) 579-4400

 

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