Having a newly diagnosed bipolar disorder can be frightening. If you’ve just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may feel a wide array of conflicting emotions. However, there’s good news: Bipolar disorder doesn’t have to ruin your life. Indeed, if you’ve just been formally diagnosed, you should feel hopeful. Now that you know what you’re suffering from, you can begin to deal with it. With proper therapy, treatment and lifestyle changes, someone with bipolar disorder can lead a good and happy life.
Understand What Being Just Diagnosed With Bipolar Means
“I’m bipolar. Now what?” If you’re asking yourself this question, you should take a step back and evaluate your life. More than anything else, you should ensure you fully understand what happens when you’re diagnosed with bipolar disorder and how that can impact you.
Once referred to as manic depression, bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme and cyclical mood swings. An individual suffering from bipolar will switch between two moods.
One side of the disorder is called mania, characterized by periods of high energy, hyperactivity and talkativeness, as well the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors. Someone in a manic stage may appear extremely happy, bouncy hyper-focused on projects and energetic. However, they may make rash decisions, lose inhibitions or be highly irritable and angry.
The flip side of bipolar disorder is depression. During this time, a person may lose energy, experience depressed moods, have thoughts of self-harm and lose interest in participating in activities they’d otherwise enjoy.
Bipolar disorder is a relatively common mental health disorder. According to available information, 4.4% of adults suffer from bipolar disorder during their adult life.
You may benefit from some self-reflection if you’ve just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Have you found times when your energy level seems to peak for no reason? When you seem to make more foolish decisions than usual, or when you’re more depressed than normal? Have you swung between these moods for seemingly no reason?
You may discover that the diagnosis of your bipolar disorder explains these otherwise unexplained moods. If that’s the case, you can begin to treat this condition.
How to Improve Your Daily Life With Newly Diagnosed Bipolar
If you have a newly diagnosed bipolar disorder, you should know that there’s good news: There are many proven methods to improve your life. In addition to therapy and medication, there are things you can do to better manage this disorder. This includes positive habits and lifestyle changes, such as:
- Creating a solid routine regarding eating, sleeping and personal hygiene. Such a routine can help you manage and regulate sleep and nutrition, both of which can influence manic or depressive episodes.
- Building a healthy diet. Nutrition and bipolar disorders are connected. As such, if you better regulate your diet, you can improve your feelings.
- Avoiding the use of illegal drugs and minimizing or eliminating alcohol. These substances can exacerbate the feelings of euphoria or depression that someone with bipolar experiences. Unfortunately, someone with a bipolar disorder has an elevated risk of addiction. Furthermore, there are often negative interactions between medication, alcohol and other drugs.
- Developing a support network. By confiding in friends and family, you can build the social support you need to help you better manage bipolar.
Therapy and Treatment
The outcome for people who get the therapy they need is very positive. Fortunately, numerous proven therapeutic methods can help people manage their bipolar disorder. These specific therapeutic modalities include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular therapies for people suffering from various mental health challenges. CBT teaches a person how to manage what they’re thinking about and how they feel. This leads to better regulation of thoughts, feelings and emotions.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which helps a person alter the way they think and take a step back in their heads, allowing for better monitoring and observation of thoughts. By engaging in DBT, a person can become more aware of troublesome thought patterns and ultimately be better positioned to regulate their thoughts and feelings.
- Family-focused therapy (FFT), which works with both an individual newly diagnosed with bipolar and their family members. This type of therapy focuses on education about bipolar disorder and what a family can do to manage the disease and help their suffering family member. It also teaches better communication skills and helps family members take a problem-solving approach to managing the disease.
Above all, you’ll want to find a therapist with specific experience managing bipolar disorder.
One of the most significant challenges of a newly diagnosed bipolar disorder is adjusting to taking medication. Many types of medication can help with this condition, and the type a person takes will ultimately depend on various factors. Still, the most common classes of medicine include mood stabilizers, antidepressants and antianxiety medication.
It’s important for an individual with bipolar disorder to learn how to manage their medication. Manic and depressive swings are commonly known for altering someone’s cognition and ability to stick to a routine. This can make it far too easy for someone to forget — or willfully skip — their medication. As such, a person with bipolar must develop a routine that makes it easy for them to stick to their medication regimen. These can include:
- Using electronic aids, like smartphone reminders, to remind a person to take their medication.
- Relying on an external support network, including family and friends, to ensure that the person with bipolar has taken their medication.
- Regular sessions with a therapist who works with the person with bipolar, discusses their medication and reviews any adverse side effects. Side effects can unquestionably stop a person from taking their medication. By working with a professional to address side effects — or shift medicine — the person is ultimately more likely to stick to their drug regimen.
You Can Lead the Life You’ve Always Wanted
At FHE Health, we understand the challenges bipolar disorder can bring. However, if you find you’re still struggling or need more intensive help than you’re getting, we’re here for you. Remember, seeking a higher level of care while in crisis is more than okay; it may be the necessary and brave thing to do. Contact us today for more information about our mental health rehabilitation services and learn how to get your life back on track.