How to Support Someone with Bipolar Disorder

Supporting someone who suffers from bipolar disorder can be a difficult and challenging experience. Having lived with two people who suffer from some form of bipolar disorder, I’m only now starting to figure out how to help people with bipolar disorder. It’s taken years for me to understand how their ailment affects their way of thinking and how best to help them when they have emotionally intense episodes.

There’s plenty that’s been written about how to deal with emotional conversations, but not so much about those specifically related to bipolar disorder. Here’s a three-step process that I’ve found to be very effective in helping your partner, loved one, friend or colleague calm down and deal with their emotions in a more balanced, healthy way.

Step #1 to Support Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Stabilization

Supporting someone with bipolar disorder is tough. Use this three-step process to help someone with bipolar though and emotional episode.Simply put, it’s not effective to try reasoning with someone who isn’t in a balanced state. When overcome with powerful emotions, the human brain isn’t in a good position to think and communicate effectively.

What to do then? To support a person with bipolar disorder, simply let the person talk. Ask clarifying questions as they arise, but otherwise just let the person take you through their story.

This serves two main purposes.  First, talking about problems is extremely therapeutic. This will help them work through the intense emotions they’re feeling and return to a more balanced state. Second, you’ll be able to identify the greatest issues they’re dealing with and start to prepare how you’ll respond.

Step #2 to Support Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Problem Solving

Once the person with bipolar disorder has calmed down, you can start to problem-solve. Through the initial phase, you should have picked out one or two major points that are upsetting the person.

Start to work through these issues. Sometimes concerns aren’t based in reason, but often times they are. Help the person by sharing your perspective, thoughts, advice and suggestions.

Step #3 to Support Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Reassurance

Many of these problems build up over time.  Whether it’s stress at work, a relationship that isn’t steady or the ebb and flow of regular life, you’ll see the best results if you contact the person with bipolar disorder regularly and help with the issues being faced.

The best friend, family member or loved one isn’t someone who only shows up during tough times. Supporting someone who suffers from Depression and Bipolar Disorder means helping them along every step of the way, not just when they’re in crisis mode.

Supporting Someone with Bipolar Disorder Isn’t Easy

Even with the best of intentions, long emotion-driven conversations may not play out the way you like. Use the three steps above to help work through intense dialogue with your friend or loved one next time he or she is upset or not feeling well.

This post was written by:

Supporting someone with bipolar disorder is tough. Use this three-step process to help someone with bipolar though and emotional episode.Jeffery Williams, the founder and author of, is based out of Seattle, WA.  When he’s not researching medical news for his next article he enjoys hiking, spending time with friends and taking advantage of the wonderful culinary offerings of the Pacific Northwest.

To be a guest author on the Your Mental Health Blog, go here.

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