Bipolar Disorder (cont'd)

Helping Others

The support of family and friends is important to the recovery process for anyone diagnosed with co-occurring anxiety and bipolar disorders. Taking these steps can help a loved one:

  • Learn about the disorders.
  • Recognize and praise small accomplishments.
  • Modify expectations during stressful periods.
  • Measure progress on the basis of individual improvement, not against some absolute standard.
  • Be flexible and try to maintain a normal routine.
  • Keep track of symptoms. Loved ones may notice a change in behavior or symptoms before the person suffering from them does, and treatment modification based on these changes may help stave off a severe episode.
  • Provide ongoing encouragement during the treatment process, and help your loved ones consistently take their medication and keep therapy appointments, particularly when they are not feeling well. Be aware that it may take awhile to find the best individual treatment plan.
  • Make a clear plan for emergency situations should symptoms become severe or hospitalization become necessary.
  • Keep in mind that the recovery process is stressful for family and friends. Try to build a support network of relatives, friends, and therapists, if necessary.

Children With Co-Occurring Anxiety and Bipolar Disorders

Many children with bipolar disorder also suffer from at least one co-occurring anxiety disorder.

The age of onset for an anxiety disorder often precedes the age of onset for bipolar disorder. The co-occurrence of an anxiety disorder with bipolar disorder can worsen the symptoms and course of each disorder, so it’s essential that both are treated.

Sometimes severe mood episodes, extreme irritability, and other pronounced symptoms of bipolar disorder mask underlying obsessive thoughts, compulsions, worries, or other anxiety symptoms. It’s recommended that children with bipolar disorder are also assessed for an anxiety disorder.

Helping Your Child

Consult a mental health provider or physician as soon as possible if your child exhibits symptoms of an anxiety or bipolar disorder.

Find out more information about helping your child, including suggestions to find the right mental health professional. The Balanced Mind Foundation website provides information about finding a therapist.

NOTE: This information is not intended to provide a diagnosis or specific clinical advice to individuals about their psychiatric condition, nor to the family members or friends of individuals with psychiatric conditions. Anyone seeking to rule out or establish a diagnosis or anyone seeking immediate help for a psychiatric condition should contact a mental health professional.

Find Out More

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
The Balanced Mind Foundation
Mental Health America
National Alliance on Mental Illness

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