Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health disorder that can cause a person to shift between episodes of mania and depression. When these occur, they can have an extreme effect on a person’s life. So what can someone with bipolar disorder do to avoid the shift? If you have bipolar disorder, to help avoid mood swings, it is important to understand what is triggering those swings. Keep an eye out for these common bipolar triggers:
- Missing out on sleep: A change in your sleeping pattern could be a trigger for you as well as a symptom of bipolar disorder. The most effective prevention is making sure you have a consistent sleep cycle. You can also try social rhythms therapy, which helps you to develop an orderly life schedule surrounding sleep, diet, and exercise habits in order to make you more effective at managing your bipolar disorder.
- Bad Breakup: A number of people living with bipolar disorder, unfortunately, have failed marriages. If you are going through a divorce or breakup, working with your therapist through the breakup process can help to minimize those mood swings.
- New Season: Almost 20% of people who have bipolar disorder experience swings in mood when the weather changes. They are more likely to undergo seasonal depression during early winter, and mania or hypomania during spring or summer. Researchers think the reason behind this is sunlight. Your circadian rhythm responds to the amount of sunlight. Your response is controlled by a complex set of genes known as “clock genes”. If some of those are abnormal, you could be at risk for seasonal bipolar disorder. If you notice your mood swinging towards mania as we move into spring, speak with your doctor about your mood right away.
- Drugs and alcohol: Abusing alcohol and drugs can set off a serious bipolar episode. According to an analysis of data on young adults with mental illness, 1 in 5 people with bipolar disorder have a substance abuse problem. Seek treatment if you find yourself abusing drugs and alcohol.
- Grief: The death of a loved one can be one of the most stressful life events any of us will ever face. You can continue to manage your bipolar disorder successfully through your mourning, or, you may, as many do, develop “funeral mania”. This occurs when someone with controlled bipolar disorder attends the funeral of the loved one and almost instantly has a manic episode. Prepare with your therapist before the funeral to help potentially prevent a bipolar mood swing.
Take a look at some more bipolar disorder triggers here!
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