If someone you love is coping with a mood disorder, you may experience certain feelings: helplessness, confusion, frustration. While you cannot help what you feel, you need to know that these feelings are normal.
As a friend or family member of someone who is coping with bipolar disorder or depression, your support is an important part of working toward their well-being. To better help someone coping with a mood disorder, there are certain things you can do to ease their struggle.
What you need to know:
- Each person experiences a mood disorder differently
- You cannot make your loved one well, but you can offer support, understanding and hope
What you need to find out:
- Contact information for your loved one’s doctor, therapist, psychiatrist, local hospital and trusted friends/family members
- The treatments and medications your loved one is receiving, dosage instructions and necessary changes to diet/activity
- The likely warning signs of a worsening manic or depressive episode and what you can do to help
How to talk to a person in crisis:
- Stay clam and talk slowly
- Ask simple questions and repeat if necessary
- Don’t take their actions or hurtful words personally
- Don’t handle the crisis alone
While it may be difficult at times, patience and understanding are especially important. Stay positive and keep reminding your loved one that you are there to help. Treatment is available for those suffering from depression and bipolar disorder. While treatment times are different for each individual, most people with mood disorders can return to stable and productive lives.