Tips For Family And Friends Caring For Someone With Bipolar Disorder During Manic Or Depressive Episodes

Sometimes it's bright
Sometimes it's bright
Sometimes it's dark
Sometimes it's dark

Things You Can Do

Do not take bipolar episodes personally. When in the storm of a bipolar episode, the bipolar person often says or does things that are hurtful or inappropriate. When in a  manic episode, they may become excited, difficult, overwhelmed, or even psychotic. When depressed, they may become discouraging, irritable, and despondent. These are symptoms are of a mental illness. They are not your fault. You should not feel responsible.


Prepare yourself for some very erratic behaviors. Sometimes the person with bipolar disorder will act in some very inappropriate ways. These can be extremely destructive, sexually, or spending behaviors. Knowing how to handle these kinds of behaviors ahead of time can benefit you greatly. Having a crisis plan in place is a good idea. Agree ahead of time what steps should be taken when an intervention becomes necessary. Put the crisis plan in writing, so it is always available.


Knowing what to do in a crisis is very important. Make sure you have a list of emergency contact information of doctors, therapists, and other family and friends who are able to help you. Be sure to include the address and phone number of the hospital you will take the person to if it becomes necessary.

If the person with bipolar disorder is suicidal or showing violent outbursts, you might want to call 911 or go to the emergency room and let them diffuse the situation. Someone with bipolar can sometimes escalate, and it is best for everyone's safety if professionals are involved.

Some other things you can do.

Spend time with the each other. People who are manic or depressed sometimes feel isolated and alone. Doing things together will help you both feel connected and less isolated. People with bipolar disorder sometimes need to be reminded people still care about them.

Avoid confrontation if at all possible. If the person with bipolar is manic they may have a tendency to argue.

If the person is depressed they may want to sleep a lot. This can be a good thing. Don't force them to get up. Suggesting they eat or shower with your help is a start. Remember it isn't your fault.

You can help the person by scheduling and tracking medications, making doctor, or therapy appointments, and reporting any changes in mood.

Create a support system for yourself. Have friends and family you can talk to who can listen when you need to talk, or want to get away. Sharing your feelings with a support group or a therapist can be beneficial for you as well.


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Comments 7 comments

aero 3 years ago

my sister is bypolar and keep calling me at least 15-20 times a day stressed about her life. She is in another province we have put her in the hospital for help but when she get discharged she give up her meds. She say they are doing her no good. I have a life too and I am getting depressed because it is interfering with me emotionally. Help!!!


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crazybeanrider 3 years ago from Washington MI Author

Glad to hear you are doing good now.It is good to know there is possibility for recovery and stability.


freedomspirit 4 years ago

I like your hub, it's very informative and although I don't have extremes anymore, it sheds some light into what my mum must have gone thru with me and my family too. Not to mention me too. But..I'm okay now. thanks.


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crazybeanrider 5 years ago from Washington MI Author

Roseyposey, I am sorry your partner is in a manic phase, that can be tough for you as well as them. I do hope my bipolar pages are helpful in some way for you. Thank you so much for reading and I wish you both the best in your bipolar journey.


Rosyposy 5 years ago

Thanks for some friendly and down-to-earth advice. My partner is entering the first manic stage he's had in a year or so, and it's my first experience of it. So far this page has been the most helpful.

Thank you


crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 6 years ago from Washington MI Author

This is true, it is hard for both the person with bipolar and the caregiver as well. It is complicated, and finding that middle ground is sometimes impossible. Thank you for reading, and commenting.


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LarasMama 6 years ago from a secret location, Australia

Another important thing you forgot to mention - if they won't help themselves, you can't help them. Sometimes it's just time to let them go.

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