How To Be Supportive Of A Loved One With Bipolar Disorder

How To Be Supportive Of A Loved One With Bipolar Disorder

Presented by BetterHelp.

It can be difficult to navigate a relationship with someone with bipolar disorder, whether they’re newly diagnosed or not.

So you might want to learn how to support someone with bipolar disorder in a way that benefits them. To help someone with bipolar disorder, one must first understand this condition. People have preconceived assumptions and misconceptions regarding bipolar disorder that lead to negative stigmas and feelings of isolation. 

Beyond that, you should recognize and accept your own and others’ limitations. You can’t “fix” or “cure” bipolar disorder, nor can they. While you may not be able to treat their illness, good treatment and support can help them live a full life. You’ve already taken a positive first step by researching how to help someone with bipolar disorder.

Taking the following steps can help a loved one or acquaintance with bipolar disorder:

1. Understand Bipolar Disorder

The first step in helping a friend with bipolar disorder is learning as much as you can about it. You can refute the disorder’s myths. You may have more of an opportunity to learn more about mania and depression and how to help a friend or loved one if they are having an episode. 

Bipolar disorder has dangers, including risky activities during manic and suicidal thoughts or behaviors during depression. Knowing more about the disease will help you recognize potential warning signals and seek appropriate care for your friend or loved one. Learn more about living with bipolar disorder at

2. Hear Your Friend Out

People with bipolar disorder may be dismissed by those around them. Listen to your friend or loved one and be a reliable support system. Like everyone else, bipolar people want to be heard. You should not make them feel foolish for expressing their true feelings.

Being a support system does not include giving advice or doing anything other than being an active listener. Keep calm, pay attention, and avoid arguing or debating as an engaged listener.

3. Be Curious

While someone with bipolar disorder may not want to be treated differently, you can still ask open-ended questions. Rather than presuming you know something about someone’s disorder, ask. Show that you want to know more.

Don’t assume your friend is embarrassed or unwilling to talk. It may appear that you are denying the existence of bipolar disease by not asking serious questions. However, respect their boundaries and stop asking questions if they get upset. 

4. Demonstrate That You Support Them

It’s easy for bipolar people to acquire a “me against the world” mentality. They may feel misunderstood and judged by everyone. Show your support for your bipolar pal. Being a champion for someone doesn’t imply that you agree with everything they do or say, or that you enable them. It means you love them no matter what.

When a friend or loved one is sad or has negative thoughts, question them. Positively affirm them and highlight the exceptional things in their lives.

5. Don’t Force Them To Do Something They Aren’t Prepared To Do

When it comes to bipolar disorder, medication is vital, but do not try to force your friend with the disorder to do something they aren’t ready for, whether it’s treatment or anything else. If you see an emergency or something that looks like it could be dangerous, this is a separate situation and may require medical attention.

6. Assist Your Friend in Reducing Their Level of Stress

Stress can exacerbate symptoms in people with bipolar disorder. In any way you can, assist your friend in reducing their level of stress. As an example, you could offer to come and do some light housework or run an errand for them on a regular basis. You may be able to alleviate some of their stress by doing small favors for them.

When everything else fails, remember to look after yourself as well! Supporting a buddy who has bipolar disorder can put a strain on your health and well-being. Not from the individual but from the situation, you may need to take a step back.

Embrace the opportunity to do so without feeling guilty. Do not lose sight of the fact that you, too, require a sense of equilibrium in your own life. Don’t be afraid to look for ways to experience joy and relief while helping a loved one suffer with a mental illness.

Scroll to Top