Caring For People with Manic Depression – Useful Tips for Every Caregiver
Commonly referred to as bipolar disorder, manic depression is a mental illness characterized by large mood swings ranging from extreme excitement to deep depression. Its symptoms and severity differ from one person to another. It is important to have a deep understanding of manic depression in order to know how to care for people suffering from it. Here are some useful tips you should consider.
You need to learn a lot about bipolar disorder to help you care for a manic depressive person. Relevant information on the illness can be found online, as well as in books. The National Institute of Mental Health's website, for instance, has a lot of information on the topic. Also, you can read the book Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide, which provides very useful and detailed information on the condition.
Avoid Stereotyping a Bipolar Person
Because bipolar disorder symptoms vary from one person to another, it is not right to stereotype all patients based on what you've read. You will find some patients managing the condition so well that it is rarely noticeable when they get an attack. On the other hand, others can be very self-destructive and reckless, and in worse situations, suffer from suicidal depression. Therefore, whatever you read should only help you know what to expect, but you should be open to the distinctive characteristics of the person you're caring for.
Assist the Patient
People with manic depression can find daily activities very overwhelming when they are having their worst periods. You can help reduce their stress by finding out how you can help them. For instance, assisting with laundry, or offering a ride to the doctor's appointment, can mean so much for them.
Do Things Together
Depressed people tend to isolate themselves from the world. That is why you should encourage them to go out and have some fun. For instance, you can invite them out for dinner, or just a walk in the park. If they refuse, don't force them; try asking again after some days.
Support the Individual Unconditionally
Offer your unconditional support to a bipolar person to help them recover properly and avoid relapse. It is important that you ensure they take their medications on time, and keep the doctor's appointments. Also encourage them to eat well, and stay away from drugs and alcohol that may further complicate their illness.
Get Professional Help When Necessary
Manic depression can make people do things that threaten both their health and life. As a caregiver, you should seek help from a mental health professional in case you suspect that the person you're caring for is in danger. In emergency cases, you should think twice to call 911 for help.