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Bipolar Community› Bipolar Articles› 10 Tips for Managing Bipolar Disorder
|10 Tips for Managing Bipolar Disorder|
|Written by glory|
|05 August 2008|
Date: Sunday, November 07 @ 17:12:21 CST
Topic: Maintenance and Acceptance
By Michael R Lyles M.D.
There is an excellent article in a recent issue of Christen Counseling Today by Dr. Michael R. Lyles M.D. who emphasizes that the patients can do a lot to minimize the impact of bipolar disorder on their lives. He says they can develop more âˆšÂ¨mastery and controlâˆšÃ† over the disorder by learning triggers and following a few simple tips. 1. Try to get at least 6 hours of continuous sleep every night.
He says that a disrupted sleep rhythm is the number one trigger for a shift or swing in mood. So avoid jet lag, all nighters, and that if you have two consecutive nights of not sleeping well, then contact your Dr. for help.
2. Watch Your Diet.
Beyond maintaining a normal balanced diet, be careful not ingest an excessive amount of caffeine. Caffeine is not only in coffee but chocolate and many sodas. Too much caffeine can trigger mania as well as disrupt a good nights sleep.
3. Be aware of seasonality and light.
Be prepared for a potential shift in mood when daylight time changes in the fall and spring. This is similar to seasonal affective disorder. Longer brighter days can promote mania as well as cloudy short days can contribute to depression For light sensitive patients, he suggests avoidance of tanning beds and full spectrum sunlight fixtures.
4. Use a diary or calendar to chart your moods.
According to Dr. Lyles, every patient has a signature mood rhythm and by keeping a daily journal of their moods will, over the long term, allow them to predict their mood in the future and gain more control over their lives. He also points out that unforeseen life events can alter this rhythm. This being the case, a patient should not only tracks their moods, but also life events, medication taken, etc. Then a patient can not only learn the rhythm of their mood cycles but also learn what triggers alter them. ( Bipolar Support. Org will soon have such a mood chart available.)
5. Use support groups.
These can be the local DBSA or NAMI support groups or they can be your own personal support group such as your family members, psychologists, friends, etc. Also, You can always turn to our forums and chat rooms for a friendly ear, support and help.
6. Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
They are not only dangerous, but can cause disruptions to your mood cycle, trigger mood swings and make appropriate medication less effective. In other words they can really screw up your life.
7. Be careful with antidepressants.
Most bipolar people deal more frequently with depression. But if antidepressants are over used they may cause a shift towards mania. Especially if there is not a mood stabilizer such as Lithium or Depakote being used.
8. Monitor thyroid function.
A low functioning thyroid can interrupt or actually stop the effectiveness of drugs prescribed for bipolar disorder.
9. Take medications consistently.
Once going through the task of finding the right mix or âˆšÂ¨cocktailâˆšÃ† of medications that effectively control your mood swings be sure to take them consistently because other wise they may trigger unexpected moods or âˆšÂ¨episodesâˆšÃ† or lose a great deal of their effectiveness.
10. Employ a separate set of eyes.
Mood swings can be very subtle at the onset and difficult for the patient to self observe. Listening to the observations of a spouse, parent, loved one etc. can help the patient to control a developing mood swing and keep them in control of their life.
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