A Guide to Living a Happy and Fulfilling Life With Bipolar Disorder

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  • Numerous studies have shown that diet and lifestyle strongly influence the recurrence of bipolar mood swings
  • Maintaining your overall well-being with healthy foods and lifestyle habits may help reduce the effects of bipolar disorder on your everyday life
  • A good support system starts with family and peers who understand bipolar disorder, so reach out to your relatives and friends, and educate them about your condition

Living a normal life with bipolar disorder can be really difficult not just for you, but also for the people around you, especially your family, friends and coworkers. The mood swings may take a toll on various aspects of your life, including your performance at work or at school.

Unfortunately, these mood swings are not something that you can just snap out of anytime you want. In order to manage these mood swings, you have to follow the long-term treatment plan that’s given by your doctor. In addition to medical supervision, there are also other self-help techniques that you can do to reduce the impact of bipolar disorder on your life.

Actively Participate in Your Treatment Plan

It’s not uncommon for patients with bipolar disorder to suddenly go off their treatment plan due to denial, lack of patience or possible unpleasant side effects of prescription drugs given to treat your condition. Accepting your diagnosis and following your treatment plan religiously are positive first steps to living an almost normal life.1

Make sure that you’re completely honest about your symptoms to ensure that your doctor can give you the right treatment option for your needs. Keep in mind that it may take a few trials before you and your doctor finally determine the best treatment method for you, so it’s best to be patient with the process.2

Expanding your knowledge about bipolar disorder also helps you become better prepared to deal with your symptoms, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or voice any concerns. Keep tabs on your moods and watch out for early warning signs to catch budding mood episodes before they become worse.

Your needs may also change over time, so it’s best to consult your doctor regularly to check if your treatment plan is still applicable for your condition.3,4

Follow Healthy Dietary Approaches and Lifestyle Habits

Numerous studies have shown that diet and lifestyle strongly influence the recurrence of bipolar mood swings. Maintaining your overall well-being with healthy foods and lifestyle habits may help reduce the effects of bipolar disorder on your everyday life. Here are some tips to keep in mind:5

Load up on nutrients by eating real foods — Consume organic foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients, especially omega-3 fats, probiotics and antioxidants, since these are known to be helpful in improving mental health.

Avoid all processed foods — Processed foods contain loads of chemicals and ingredients that can destabilize your moods and put your health at risk. These harmful ingredients can include trans fat, gluten, excessive sugar (or artificial sweeteners), food additives, pesticides and herbicides.

Ditch caffeine and alcohol — Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks may exacerbate the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Quench your thirst with water instead to keep your overall health in check.

Get adequate exercise every day — Regular exercise helps boost the production of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which are the neurotransmitters responsible for balancing your mood and energy levels.

Manage your stress levels — Learning how to manage your stress levels reduces the impact of stressful situations on your mental health. The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a method that you should give a try.

EFT involves tapping energy meridians on your head and chest with your fingertips. The efficacy of this method when it comes to increasing positive emotions and treating stress and anxiety is backed by research. Seek out a qualified health professional to guide you through the process of EFT.

In addition to the tips mentioned above, you should also create a daily routine for your mealtimes, sleeping time and other activities. Sticking to a regular routine every day keeps your circadian rhythm in tune. As a result, you’ll be able to balance your moods and reduce stress levels more efficiently.

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Seek Out a Strong Support System

Despite the growing awareness regarding bipolar disorder, it still remains one of the most misunderstood illnesses, which is why it’s associated with social stigma and numerous misconceptions. To help you cope with the emotional, social and mental challenges of having this condition, it’s best to have a strong support system of people who are willing to listen to you and help improve your well-being.

A good support system starts with family and peers who understand bipolar disorder, so reach out to your relatives and friends, and educate them about your condition. Explain the effects of manic and depressive episodes, and let them know how they can help you control your mood swings.6

You may also look for support groups in your area. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance has a directory of local support groups in every state.7 There are different types of support groups available — some are patient-focused, while others are family-focused. If you can’t find a local group that fits your needs, you should also give online support communities a try.8

MORE ABOUT BIPOLAR DISORDER

Bipolar Disorder: An Introduction

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder in Children

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Bipolar Disorder Causes

Bipolar Disorder Types

Bipolar Disorder Test

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Bipolar Disorder Prevention

Living with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder Diet

Bipolar Disorder FAQ

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