Dating and Marriage Whether you or your loved one has bipolar disorder, you can learn to make the relationship work. Add bipolar disorder with its roller-coaster ride of emotions into the mix, and relationships become even more challenging. During his "up" or hypomanic states, he would spend huge sums of money he didn't have. Then he would hit the "down" side and sink into the depths of depression. These wild swings put stress on his marriage and threatened to run his family's finances into the ground.
He eventually signed the house over to his wife to protect her and his two young children. Finally, he says, "She asked me to leave because she couldn't live with the illness anymore.
Haltzman is clinical assistant professor in the Brown University department of psychiatry and human behavior. He tells WebMD that bipolar disorder can seriously complicate a relationship. But when those episodes do occur they can wreak havoc on a relationship. During the manic phase, a person can lose his or her sense of judgment.
That means spending money recklessly, becoming promiscuous, engaging in risky behaviors like drug and alcohol abuse , and even getting into trouble with the law.
Depression can cause the person to withdraw completely from everything -- and everyone -- around him or her. When you first meet someone you like, it's natural to want to make a good impression. Introducing the fact that you have bipolar disorder may not make for the most auspicious beginning.
There is always the fear that you might scare the person off and lose the opportunity to get to know one another. At some point, though, you will need to let your partner know that you are bipolar. Weissman is professor of epidemiology and psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
She is also chief of the department in clinical-genetic epidemiology at New York State Psychiatric Institute. Warning signs, she says, can include disturbed sleep and changes in activity level.
Bipolar Disorder and Marriage Any number of things, from work stress to money issues, can lead to arguments and put strain on a marriage. But when one partner has bipolar disorder, simple stressors can reach epic proportions. McNulty watched not only his own marriage fall apart, but the marriages of others with bipolar disorder as well. But it's not impossible. It takes work on the part of both partners to make sure the marriage survives. The first step is to get diagnosed and treated for your condition.
Your doctor can prescribe mood stabilizing medications , such as Lithium , with antidepressants to help control your symptoms. Therapy with a trained psychologist or social worker is also important. With therapy you can learn to control the behaviors that are putting stress on your relationship. Having your spouse go through therapy with you can help him or her understand why you act the way you do and learn better ways to react.
And it will actually increase the sense of bonding. For the spouse of the bipolar person, knowing when to offer help involves recognizing how your partner is feeling. When one of them notices that the other is starting to slide into depression, he or she will ask, "How do you feel?
Here are a few other ways to help relieve some of the stress on your relationship: Take your medication as prescribed. And keep all of your appointments with your health care provider. Take a marriage education class. Manage your stress in whatever way works for you, whether it's writing in a journal, taking long walks, or listening to music.
Try to balance work with more enjoyable activities. Stick to a regular sleep cycle. Eat healthfully and exercise regularly. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. If you ever think about hurting yourself or committing suicide , get help immediately. American Family Physician, ; vol National Institute of Mental Health: