Dealing with loss or trauma can be especially difficult for those who suffer from bipolar disorder. Not only are they trying to cope with the traumatic experience, but they are also trying to remain stable and avoid a depressive or manic episode as a result of the stress it caused. Some with bipolar disorder may need to seek extra support to cope with the grief or anxiety that the traumatic event causes.
Everyone experiences grief or anxiety when they experience a loss or trauma. Living with bipolar disorder can be a delicate balancing act. If something creates a lot of stress or anxiety for them, they can easily become overwhelmed and slip into mania or depression. When grieving, it is not unusual for someone to feel depressed. However, if someone with bipolar disorder grieves and feels depressed, they have to make a conscious effort to try to avoid having a full-blown depressive episode. Sometimes, the looming depressive episode simply cannot be avoided.
A support system is absolutely necessary when dealing with trauma. Family, friends, support groups, and mental health professionals can all help the manic depressive person through the traumatic event. Often, all it takes is an understanding individual to listen to the person with bipolar disorder and offer encouragement.
Helping alleviate some of the stress and responsibilities from the person suffering from bipolar disorder can help them focus on maintaining balance and managing the additional stress the trauma has caused. Encourage the manic depressive person to take some time for themselves to do something they enjoy. Taking a walk with the person can help provide exercise and social stimulation, which is often lacking. Many people with bipolar disorder tend to isolate themselves when under too much stress. This can be counterproductive to their health and emotional well-being.
If the person with bipolar disorder begins to experience nightmares, sleeplessness, anxiety, restlessness, distress, or if they are repeatedly recalling or reliving the acts of the traumatic event, they probably need additional assistance from their psychiatrist or doctor in order to cope with the trauma. Medication can help the person to manage the anxiety and distress caused by the event. It is better to get the extra help necessary to control the effects of the trauma and avoid an episode than to neglect getting help and face the anxiety and distress plus a manic or depressive episode.
People with bipolar disorder who have experienced trauma or a loss should consider expanding their support system to include support specifically related to the trauma. Depending on the nature of the trauma, support groups and specialized counseling may be available. If the person with manic depression had not been receiving therapy, they should consider doing so to help them through this difficult time.
Moses Wright is the founder of Bipolar Disorder . He provides more useful information on Bipolar I Disorder and Mania and Hypomania on his website. Webmasters are welcome to reprint this article if you keep the content and live link intact.