Dealing with mental health issues is never easy. It’s always this emotional rollercoaster where you end up feeling dizzy after the ride. That’s why we’re here to help.
While every case is different, there are a few common methods on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry. Remember that tough times don’t last, tough people do.
If you have a relative or loved one experiencing bipolar symptoms, do everything you can to help them. Just remember this: none of this is in their control and being diagnosed with this disorder wasn’t a choice.
The first step in helping someone with bipolar disorder is understanding their problem. Everyone has mood swings to some extent. However, in bipolar people, their moods go into overdrive. So, what is bipolar disorder specifically?
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. This brain disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings ranging from manic to depressive episodes.
A manic episode is a period of high energy and productivity, euphoria (intense excitement), and/or irritability, all leading to a loss of sleep.
A depressive episode generally includes symptoms such as low energy, sadness, excessive crying, and general disinterest in daily activities. According to WHO, approximately 280 million people in the world are in depression.
Bipolar disorder may be hereditary or caused by environmental triggers such as past trauma or drug overdose. It can also be resultant of extreme stress overwork or personal issues.
Bipolar Disorder and Anger
During a manic episode, a person may experience racing thoughts and intense energy. As other people may not be able to keep up with their chain of thought, bipolar people may get irritable or frustrated. So, while anger may not be a symptom of bipolar, irritability during a manic episode can often be perceived as anger. It may also turn into rage.
Bipolar depression may not usually cause rage, but depressive episodes may lead to people being angry or frustrated with life.
So now that you are aware of what mood episodes are, here are sixteen solutions on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry.
Step 1 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
1. Be calm
If you often witness angry outbursts from a bipolar person and don’t know what to do, the first step is to remain calm. Don’t panic, and remind yourself that this is just a mood swing that won’t last long.
Fear won’t help as it might further fuel the panic and anger of the struggling person with this mental health condition. Keeping calm will prevent the situation from escalating. This will reassure the person experiencing bipolar anger to count on you.
Talk in a comforting, soothing voice and believe that it’s a safe space.
Step 2 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
2. Don’t yell at them
While it may seem like you have done something to offend them, it’s not your fault. Irritability and anger are just a part of mood fluctuations.
So please don’t get mad at them as it may escalate things. Breathe and realize that your actions did not provoke this anger, but they may increase it if you react strongly.
Step 3 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
3. Try to Defuse the Situation
Creating a calm, positive environment can make long strides in defusing bipolar anger. You can do this by helping them visualize their happy place. Describe a beach getaway or their perfect vacation as you would during a “Shavasana” yoga pose (lying down and relaxing the mind). This can help distract the mind from any negative thoughts that may cause anger.
Playing their favorite relaxing music or even some sleep songs can help. You can also practice breathing exercises with them. These will calm them down and reduce the rage.
If you’re like the chandler of your family, you can also use humor to defuse the situation and prevent it from escalating. However, make sure they still feel like you’re taking them seriously and are just trying to help with their anger.
Step 4 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
4. Identify Triggers
Any angry feelings might stem from an unresolved issue in their personal or work lives. Identify these issues and why they affect this person. This can help you avoid saying or doing things that might trigger their anger attacks in the future.
Step 5 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
5. Let them vent
Releasing anger may feel like opening pandora’s box, but it can be very relieving for the person experiencing these symptoms. Sometimes just talking about their problem can help them release stress caused by pent-up feelings.
Always hear what they have to say and try to create a safe space for them. You can do this by keeping judgment and argument to a minimum.
However, opening up can be hard for some people. So please don’t force them into talking about something they don’t want to.
Step 6 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
6. Don’t question their Anger or Thoughts
Bipolar people might feel constantly attacked by their minds playing on their insecurities. When their mind is questioning them as individuals, it can be hard to have others doubting them.
Imagine being trapped in a maze. The only way to get out of it is to embrace the confusion and plan your path forward. Accepting that there is a problem can be the first step to getting out of it.
So don’t dismiss your loved one by using phrases like “You’re being irrational” or “Come out of it. You’re not like this.” Let them vent their feelings out because suppressed emotions can haunt you and them. \.
Step 7 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
7. Make sure you give them Space
While talking about mental health is the right thing to do, it might be tiring or uncomfortable for the patient. So, it’s okay if they’re not okay with sharing certain things.
It might be tedious and traumatic for you as well to manage bipolar anger. So, give yourself and the person experiencing anger some space every once in a while. This way, you can take care of yourself and your mental health as well.
Step 8 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
8. Allow them to Escape
This does not mean letting them run away alone, especially if they’re minors. This means they should create a “safe spot,” such as the park or space they like to go to when they experience bipolar rage.
Taking a run in this spot, maybe reading an exciting book or scribbling down their thoughts on an innocent piece of paper, might make them feel better.
Step 9 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
9. Give them an Outlet
Speaking of feeling better, channeling rage in productive activities can also help reduce it. Some people are a little more artistic than athletic, so their outlet can be painting or even composing a song! They can exercise, demolish a punching bag, or dance to feel peace.
If your loved one is artistic, encourage them to take art therapy. It helps patients use art as an outlet for their emotions. This can help calm your loved ones and channel their rage into their art.
While they might feel better sharing their problem, tell them you might not always be there. So the most effective solution is for them to distract themselves through an activity they like or express their anger through physical exercise.
Step 10 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
10. Help them see Rationally
They may calm down a little once they have expressed their rage through physical exercise, art, or words. This is when you should help them realize that the issue they were unhappy about can be dealt with by being calm.
Explain to them how their situation could be seen differently and paint it more positively. If no environmental factors caused the anger, they realize that their anger stems from their negative thought patterns and that treatment is necessary to overcome this.
You can also voice if their words affected you or if you were scared or concerned about their actions. Voicing your concerns will help them reflect and think about their actions. Eventually, their anger outbursts will be more controlled.
Step 11 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
11. Minimize Stress
Most of the time, the main reason for angry outbursts is stress caused by daily activities. This is why you should help your relative or friend reduce stressful activities and pick up ones that make them feel calm (like physical exercise).
If they have too much workload, you can help them out with their daily responsibilities. However, always accept that you can’t do everything. Your mental health is also important, and you won’t be able to treat their disorder as only medication can do so.
Stress can also be reduced by supporting your loved ones and trying not to argue with them.
Step 12 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
12. Slowly regain control
Physical well-being is important to maintaining mental health. After all, the mind and the body are connected. So, as soon as your relative or friend feels better, help them regain control of their health to avoid anger attacks in the long term. This can be done by regular exercise, staying hydrated, and the most important one, staying away from drugs!
Step 13 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
13. Advise Them
You can give them advice on preventing getting angry in their daily lives. Give them real-life examples of how you managed stressful situations without getting frustrated. However, don’t tell them to suppress their emotions because that might lead to unresolved feelings and extreme anxiety.
Step 14 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
14. Take them to a Mental Health Professional
While you should try to be there for your loved one, always listening and giving advice may be tiring for you. Make sure you encourage your loved one to also get help from a professional. A therapist would be more suited to do so.
They provide exercises that help bipolar people move ahead in their lives without having extreme mood swings in the long term. In case immediate medical attention cannot be provided, practicing slow breathing, writing affirmations, or simply listing things in a room may help. However, every case is different.
CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy) is commonly used for bipolar patients. It can help manage anger problems and other aspects of mood episodes. It’s suitable for people with bipolar disorder as it helps identify and avoid triggers for these mood swings. Cognitive-behavioral therapy determines negative thought patterns that cause these behaviors and replaces them with positive, self-affirming thoughts.
Step 15 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
15. Follow up on Medication
Bipolar disorder is treated mainly through therapy and medication. While therapy includes learning how to manage mood swings daily, medication covers the long-term aspect of recovery by restoring the chemical balance in the body. Thus, medication is also extremely important.
If your loved one has already approached a psychiatrist, they must have medication that they have to take. Help them follow up on meds by reminding them every time you meet them. You can also suggest they set alarms or make a chart to track their daily intake of meds.
If they don’t have a treatment plan yet, suggest they go to a psychiatrist to prescribe medication for them. These mood stabilizers will help balance an adverse reaction to issues.
Step 16 on how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
16. Practice Self-Care
A very important aspect of recovery is practicing self-care. Soothing the mind with yoga and maintaining a healthy body with nutritious foods can be your knight in shining armor against bipolar rage.
However, please remember that taking medication and therapy is crucial along with these practices for recovery.
Yoga and meditation play a major role in calming a person down by reducing the rapid thoughts during a manic episode. On the other hand, nutrition will help maintain physical health related to mental health.
You can do yoga with them and practice a healthy diet to encourage them to do it. So, help your loved one make a routine to follow these practices every day and slowly pave your path to recovery together.
Equip yourself with the right resources, including professional help, medication, and an outlet for rage. Throughout, it would help if you remembered that when there are lows, there are always highs.
Now that you are aware of how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry, please do what you can to fully support them. Remind yourself that it’s not the person’s fault but the situation. So, let’s end this stigma together and spread the love!
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Content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. Reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students.