How to Help Someone with Bipolar Depression

Bipolar disorder is a disorder associated with episodes of mood swings that range from manic highs and depressive lows. These episodes can last for weeks or months, so it’s important to understand how to help someone with bipolar depression.

In this article, we’re exploring how to help someone with bipolar depression.

How to Help Someone with Bipolar Depression

The ups, downs, and swings of a mood associated with Bipolar disorder can be challenging, especially when they happen to someone you love. You may feel the need to walk on eggshells because you fear something you do will create a mood change.

You love the person you know who has Bipolar, but their behaviors make it hard to stay with them. When the relationship is good, it is terrific. When it’s bad, it’s terrible.

You are not alone. There are millions of people with Bipolar disorder who have loved ones feeling exactly the way you do. You want to help, but you don’t know where to start.

Here’s how to help someone with bipolar depression.


Loving someone with bipolar disorder can be difficult. It is stressful and easy to spend most of your time trying to care for them. You must make your mental and physical health a priority before you begin trying to help someone else.

If you are unhealthy, you are not capable of being a positive support for someone else.

Get counseling and advice from professionals at the mental health center. Build a support system. Stick with the goals you set for yourself. Set boundaries so you can reach those goals. Ask for help.

Then, you will have the strength to take the next steps.

Understand Bipolar Disorder

To help someone with Bipolar disorder, you must define it and understand all aspects of the disease. Bipolar disorder is much more than mood swings from depression to mania.

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder in which the chemicals in the brain become imbalanced. This happens for most people but on a mild level. For those with Bipolar disorder, depression can become severe and debilitating. Mania can mean days without sleep and involvement in risky behaviors.

Bipolar disorder interferes with a person’s ability to complete daily functions if left untreated.

Know the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

There are several common signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder. Those with Bipolar disorder can have many days where there are no mood swings. They seem “normal,” and your relationship seems to be thriving. Then, out of the blue, they may exhibit signs that show things are not “normal.”

In the manic phase of Bipolar disorder, a person will appear hyperactive. Their speech is more rapid, and at the time, they may come across as aggressive.

They have so much energy they may not be able to sit still, focus, or even sleep. They get a lot accomplished when manic, which makes it hard for them to see that mania can be harmful. Plus, mania feels good, almost euphoric.

As their mood swings towards depression, everything starts to slow down. Bipolar depression causes a person to move and talk slower, process thoughts slower, and sadness creeps in, making it hard for your loved one to wake up each day. They may want to spend all their time in bed, hiding from the world.

You can help your loved one by recognizing these symptoms and having a plan of action for when they appear.

Be Prepared

Everything is easier to handle when you are prepared for it. Bipolar disorder is no different. If your loved ones have Bipolar symptoms and aren’t prepared, you feel out of control, and stress rises.

If you create a plan for dealing with your loved one’s mood swings, you take back control of the situation and the outcome.

Working with a psychiatrist and mental health professional, you can create a plan of action that includes everything from a support team, treatment options, crisis intervention, and aftercare.

Participate in Treatment

Bipolar disorder is a family problem. You can help someone with Bipolar disorder by assisting them in finding qualified mental health professionals who can provide services to meet medication and bipolar disorder treatment needs for your loved one and for anyone else in your family who may need help.

Think of therapists as teachers who can help you understand your loved one’s medications and the importance of tracking progress. They can also teach you how to watch for warning signs of a relapse.

Most importantly, a therapist can give you a list of actions to help someone with Bipolar disorder maintain recovery and long-term good health.

Supportive Actions

Don’t feel like you have to be a fixer of all problems related to a person with Bipolar disorder. You cannot do this, and unrealistic thinking can lead to problems. Instead, provide support rather than solutions.

Supportive actions that help someone with Bipolar disorder include actively listening to them, be patient, and understanding. Bipolar is not something they choose to have. Remind yourself that they have a mental illness that was created by factors out of their control.

Show support by attending counseling sessions, doctor appointments, and support groups with your loved one. Help them feel they are human, valued, and worthy. They need to know their disorder does not define their life. They can have a fully functional life that includes a promising career, healthy relationships, children, and more.

Be a cheerleader for your loved ones when they are taking care of themselves. Do not enable them; however, when they make choices that could lead to a Bipolar relapse. For example, if they refuse to take their medicine to avoid mood swings or choose illegal drugs as a form of medication.

Supportive actions sometimes involve not supporting negative behaviors.

Finally, know your limits. Helping someone with Bipolar disorder starts and ends with your ability to set boundaries and take care of your physical and mental health. Do not allow yourself to be threatened or pushed into abusive situations.

Call for help. In a crisis, call 911. Other times, contact a mental health center for guidance. Rely on the experts for help. The moment you start to feel overwhelmed or unable to handle a person either in the mania or depressive stages.

Help is out there for both you and the one you love who may be struggling with Bipolar disorder symptoms.