Bipolar disorder and love relationships

Who hasn't felt bipolar sometimes? Who has not been called such at least once? The ease with which we talk about bipolarity in colloquial language has little or nothing to do with bipolar disorder. Today we are talking about this pathology, paying particular attention to the necessary adjustments in the context of the couple relationship

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Bipolar Disorder and Affective Relationships

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder with a complex definition . Its most salient feature is that the person who suffers from it clearly presents sudden and drastic fluctuations in their mood. Fluctuations that prevent her from feeling really good - although she experiences moments of euphoria - and that considerably compromise her ability to adapt.



These mood swings bring with them, among other complications, problems in emotional relationships. Emotional instability harms interpersonal relationships, especially those of couples; because it is difficult to maintain a relationship with someone who experiences such drastic mood swings.

To maintain an emotional relationship, it is essential to know each other, to be understanding and flexible, but you also need a certain stability (it must be, in some way, predictable). Relating to someone who experiences episodes of mania and / or depression that don't exactly relate to their life experiences is an obstacle along the path of relationships. In this article we explain what the bipolar disorder and how it affects the social circle and the satisfaction of the person who suffers from it.



Desperate woman with hands on her face

What is bipolar disorder?

It is common, albeit erroneous, to refer to changes of opinion , thoughts or feelings as a feature of bipolarity . In other words, it is believed that to be happy one day and sad the next is to be bipolar; It is not so. To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a number of diagnostic criteria must be met. Statistics tell us that only 0.5-1.6% of the general population does it (Ministry of Health, 2014).

To be able to say that you have bipolar disorder, you have to experience a phase of intense good humor, impulsive behaviors that lead to big expenses, projects or radical changes, and little need to sleep for at least two weeks . Being very happy or sad every other day, therefore, does not mean suffering from bipolar disorder. It is possible to have mood swings or conflicting personality characteristics without this leading to a mental pathology.

What do we know about bipolar disorder and love affairs?

Relationships with a person with bipolar disorder are complicated; however, when the disorder is under control and the sufferer is stable, it is possible to lead a completely normal life. In this sense, people with bipolar disorder fall in love like everyone else, unless they are going through one phase of mania in which they feel so euphoric and positive that they confuse their feelings.



In general, therefore, falling in love and the beginning of an emotional relationship coincide with the rest of the people, despite the necessary caution not to start romantic relationships during a euphoric phase.

When we think of bipolar disorder and emotional relationships, sentimental instability comes to mind. In other words, if we think of a bipolar partner, we will most likely associate it with a chaotic and changing relationship.

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Nothing further from reality: nowadays, with the right psychiatric drugs for stabilize the mood , the right therapy and psychological checks, the person is able to maintain a stable relationship . The relationship will have ups and downs, perhaps more intense and serious than other couples, but everything will depend on how they will be managed by the couple and the surrounding environment.

People with bipolar disorder fall in love like everyone else, unless they are going through a phase of mania where they feel so euphoric and positive that their feelings are confused.

Changing opinion as a typical trait of bipolarity: myth or reality

The term bipolar is part of our everyday language. As a joke or not, many people are given this label despite not suffering from one in the slightest mental disorder .

Furthermore, bipolarity is not necessarily linked to constant changes of opinion, which is why we should not think that a bipolar partner is constantly changing his mind, attitude, motivation and goals.

However, it is very important to consider that the energy possessed by the person with bipolar disorder can change significantly from week to week. The levels of energy or activation can change easily and this, yes, can alter the couple's plans, the desire to do certain activities or go on a trip, for example.

Having a relationship with a bipolar person means adapting to their changes in terms of mental and physical activation, but they do not represent an insurmountable obstacle if they are properly managed.

Couple embraced with closed eyes

What to do if you are in a relationship with a bipolar person?

Even if kept under control it does not create major problems, you must know how to manage bipolar disorder adequately. In this sense, we can count on several tips / aspects, especially with regard to couple relationships .

First of all, having a relationship with a person with bipolar disorder requires that you have a thorough understanding of this mental illness. Both sides need to know what happens, how it manifests and how to act during a crisis . For example, the partner must be able to recognize the signs that can anticipate an episode of mania or depression.

It is also necessary to present extreme attention to daily stress levels, as they are fertile ground for sudden mood swings . The couple must find a balance in the division of activities and responsibilities, so that the person suffering from this disorder is not overloaded. The need and the feeling of not getting to do everything increase the chances of a worsening or relapse.

The couple must know that the daily load of activity and work must be healthy and not too demanding.

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For all these reasons, people with bipolar disorder must lead a very controlled routine, with stable sleep schedules and meals, avoiding abrupt changes (Becoña and Lorenzo, 2001). They may go out and stay up all night, get up early, eat at different times on weekends, but if they start feeling 'weird', they need understanding and empathy, because they are not guilty of the pain they feel or cause.

Being with a bipolar person requires a lot of adjustment effort. On the other hand, involve the partner in the psychiatric therapy and psychological greatly improves the situation. The more involved the partner is in the disease, the less the relationship will be affected.

Remember that numerous advances are made every day in controlling mental illness and that bipolar disorder doesn't always have to be an insurmountable obstacle in a relationship.

Cyclothymia: symptoms, causes and treatment

Cyclothymia: symptoms, causes and treatment

The main trait of cyclothymia (cyclothymic disorder) is a chronic and fluctuating alteration of the mood. Let's see what it's about.


Bibliography
  • Becoña, E. and Lorenzo, M. C. (2001). Effective psychological treatments for bipolar disorder. Psicothema, 13 (3), 511-522.
  • Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality (2012). Bipolar Disorder Clinical Practice Guide Working Group. Clinical Practice Guide on Bipolar Disorder . University of Alcalá. Spanish Association of Neuropsychiatry.