How To Deal With Someone Who Is Bipolar

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 educate you on how to deal with someone who is bipolar.

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 symptoms1, 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.

how to deal with someone who is bipolar
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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 brain2. 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.

1. Bipolar Disorder and Anger

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

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.

1.1. Be calm

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Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash

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 3to count on you.

Talk in a comforting, soothing voice and believe that it’s a safe space.

1.2. Don’t yell At Them 

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Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

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.

1.3. Try To Defuse The Situation

how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry : imagining positive things
Image by Quang Le from Pixabay

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 their 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.

1.4. Identify Triggers

How to Identify What Triggers Your Anger Outbursts

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 your anger attacks in the future.

1.5. Let Them Vent

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Photo by Tony Rojas on Unsplash

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.

1.6. Don’t Question Their Anger

how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry : don't dismiss their struggle
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

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. \.

1.7. Give Them Space

how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry : giving them space
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While talking about mental health as 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.

1.8. Allow Them To Escape

how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry : creating a safe space
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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.

1.9. Give Them An Outlet

how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry : giving them an outlet
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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:

1.10. Help Them See Rationally

A Simple Mind Trick Will Help You Think More Rationally  | Big Think

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:

1.11. Minimize Stress

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Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash

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:

1.12. Slowly Regain Control

how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry : exercising
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Physical well-being is important to maintaining mental health.4 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 most important, staying away from drugs!

1.13. 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.

1.14. Take Them To A Mental Health Professional

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Photo by Total Shape on Unsplash

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.5

1.15. 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.

1.16. 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.

2. Conclusion

Recovering from bipolar disorder is a journey that requires dedication, perseverance, and a willingness to seek support. By combining professional treatment, lifestyle adjustments, therapy, and a supportive network, individuals with bipolar disorder can lead fulfilling lives and manage their condition effectively.

Embracing the process of recovery with an open mind and a positive attitude can make all the difference in the pursuit of stability and overall well-being.

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!

FAQ

1. Can bipolar disorder be treated?

Yes, bipolar disorder can be treated and managed effectively. Treatment often involves a combination of medications (mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants), psychotherapy (such as CBT or DBT), and lifestyle changes. It’s essential to work closely with a mental health professional to develop a personalized treatment plan.

2. Can bipolar disorder be cured?

Bipolar disorder is a chronic condition, and currently, there is no cure. However, with proper treatment and self-management strategies, individuals with bipolar disorder can lead fulfilling and stable lives.

3. How is bipolar disorder different from regular mood swings?

Bipolar disorder involves extreme and long-lasting mood swings that go beyond the normal ups and downs of everyday life. Regular mood swings are generally temporary and typically not as severe as those experienced in bipolar disorder.

Read more from us here.

  1. Vieta, Eduard, et al. “Bipolar disorders.” Nature reviews Disease primers 4.1 (2018): 1-16. ↩︎
  2. Welch, Edward T. Blame it on the brain: Distinguishing chemical imbalances, brain disorders, and disobedience. New Growth Press, 2012. ↩︎
  3. Johnson, Sheri L., and Charles S. Carver. “Emotion-relevant impulsivity predicts sustained anger and aggression after remission in bipolar I disorder.” Journal of Affective Disorders 189 (2016): 169-175. ↩︎
  4. Houghton, Joan F. “First person account: Maintaining mental health in a turbulent world.” Schizophrenia Bulletin 8.3 (1982): 548-552. ↩︎
  5. Koole, Sander L., and Ad van Knippenberg. “Controlling your mind without ironic consequences: Self-affirmation eliminates rebound effects after thought suppression.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 43.4 (2007): 671-677. ↩︎

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