bipolar disorder self care
manic depression
daily schedule
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Bipolar Disorder Self Care

by Patty E. Fleener M.S.W.

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After you have been diagnosed with the bipolar disorder, are taking medications or undergoing medication trials, and seeing a therapist, you will discover that there are other things you can do that may assist you with this disorder.

First of all, be sure you are diagnosed and treated for *all* disorders. The bipolar disorder many times accompanies other disorders.

Bipolar disorder (BP), or manic depression as some still call it, is a chronic disorder that may disable you in certain or all areas of your life. In fact, it is common for "breakthroughs" of depression, mania or mixed episodes to occur even though one is taking medications for this disorder. Many factors of these "breakthroughs" can be both a trigger and a symptom. Lack of sleep is one example. 

The following are some ways that may help you to reduce manic and depressive episodes. To what extent these self care activities help, I do not know. 

Daily Schedule

  Eating Habits

Keeping yourself on a daily schedule is vital. It is important to eat 3 meals a day or eat small amounts throughout the day. Eating one meal later on in the day has been said to make your BP harder to treat. This new eating schedule will also assist you with weight loss that many of us face with our medications.

  Sleep Schedule

It is imperative that you stay on a schedule regarding your sleep. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time. Lack of sleep can trigger mania. 

Many of us with the BP have difficulty leaving our enjoyable project due to having the BP to go to bed and get the rest we need. We need to sleep at least 6 hours a day, depending upon how much your body needs.

Follow good sleep hygiene.

  Mood Chart

Keeping a mood chart daily can be invaluable by helping you and your Dr. determine which medications are helping, etc. Also, it is important for you to keep one so that you can learn to identify your triggers. Is it stress or something else?

Avoid

  Caffeine

  Alcohol / Illicit Drugs

  Smoking

  Toxic People and/or Negative People

  Stress 

Managing your stress is extremely important as stress can easily trigger "an episode." Learn what works to reduce your stress.

This could include: exercise, meditation, deep breathing, guided imagery, soft music, etc.

Remove yourself from all stressful situations when possible.

  Antihistamines

  Forgetting Your Medicines (If you are like me you take them more than once a day).

  Food Allergies

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