If you are in a relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder, it can be difficult to understand how the condition affects them and what you can do to help. This article aims to give you some background information about bipolar disorder so that you can better understand your partner’s situation and how best to support them.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that affects your mood and thinking. It’s not just a phase or feeling moody, it’s an illness that can cause long-term changes in your behaviour, emotions and energy levels.

Bipolar disorder affects about 1 per cent of people in the United States who are between the ages of 18 and 54 years old (1). It’s more common among men than women—about 4 times as many men as women suffer from this condition (2).

A person has bipolar disorder if they have had at least one full episode—a period during which their symptoms last for at least 7 days—of mania (increased activity), depression (lowered activity), or hypomania/mania without a full episode being present each time they experience an episode (3).

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that affects the way a person thinks, feels and behaves. The symptoms can include:

  • Depression (lack of energy or interest in things)
  • Manic episodes or hypomania (too much energy or high irritability)

What causes bipolar disorder?

The causes of bipolar disorder are still unknown. Genetics and brain chemistry may play a role, but no one knows for sure. Stress, sleep patterns and family history also seem to affect people with bipolar disorder in some way—but it’s unclear exactly how or why these things affect them.

In addition to the above factors, there are several medications that can trigger depression or mania: Lithium (also known as Li), Lomita (lamotrigine), Ability (aripiprazole) and Wilburton SR/SR XL (bupropion). Some drugs like alcohol or street drugs may also bring on episodes of mania or depression.

Can someone with bipolar disorder still function well in society?

Yes, people with bipolar disorder can function well in society. It’s important to remember that the same way you wouldn’t want your partner or child diagnosed with cancer, you don’t want someone with bipolar disorder to be treated differently because of their illness.

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition and deserves bipolar disorder treatment just like any other chronic disease. However, it can affect your ability to perform everyday tasks like caring for yourself or cooking dinner—but not necessarily all at once! Bipolar disorder symptoms often occur in cycles during which periods of time are more difficult than others for someone experiencing them: for example, if someone has been struggling with depression recently then their energy levels may be low so they might feel exhausted from their daily routine; meanwhile if they’re feeling better after an episode then they might have an extra burst of energy which allows them to travel across town quickly without having enough sleep before bedtime (this could lead up against another bad mood later).

How is bipolar disorder treated?

You can learn more about treatment options here.

  • Medication: There are many different medications that can help manage symptoms of bipolar disorder, including mood stabilizers, antidepressants and antipsychotics. Used in combination with each other or as a stand-alone treatment for depression, these medications may also be prescribed to treat anxiety disorders such as Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia (PD) or Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). Your doctor will decide on the right dosage according to your needs and how well your body responds to it; some people may need higher doses than others due to their unique physiology or history of drug abuse/addiction. The side effects of these drugs vary depending on which one you take—some cause insomnia while others cause drowsiness—so check with your doctor before starting any new medication regimen if you’re concerned about any potential risks involved!
  • Psychotherapy: Counselling has been shown time again by studies conducted over decades at universities around the country like Yale University where I work part-time now – along with many other places such as Harvard Medical School where my husband attended graduate school before joining me here two years ago!”

What can I do to help a loved one who suffers from bipolar disorder?

  • Listen and learn. Bipolar disorder is a complicated illness that affects every aspect of your loved one’s life, including their job and relationships. Their moods can be unpredictable, so it’s important to take the time to listen when they talk about their feelings instead of rushing in with advice or suggestions for what might help them feel better.
  • Be patient. Your loved one may experience many ups and downs over the course of their lifetime; however, these ups are just as important as the down times because they provide valuable insight into how your loved one feels at any given time in his/her life cycle—and sometimes these things happen without warning!


If you think someone you love is bipolar, it’s important to reach out. Your loved one may not want to talk about it, but keeping the lines of communication open is a good idea so that you can both learn more about what’s going on, and what might be helpful in coping with the symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to live with a bipolar person?

Even though bipolar disorder is challenging to treat on its own, it becomes even more challenging when combined with OCD or other diseases like substance misuse. You will occasionally need to constructively criticise the doctors’ therapeutic approach in your capacity as their champion.

What are 5 signs of bipolar disorder?

  • Much of the time feeling depressed, despondent, or irritated.
  • Weak in vigour.
  • Having trouble focusing and recalling information.
  • Loss of enthusiasm for routine activities.
  • Emptiness or a sense of worthlessness.
  • Sentiments of shame and hopelessness.
  • Having a negative outlook on things.
  • Self-doubt.

What should you not say to someone with bipolar?

  • Bipolar Disorder Overview
  • You’re only overreacting once more.
  • “Anything That Doesn’t Kill You Builds You Up”
  • “Everyone Is a Little Bipolar Sometimes” and “Everyone Has Mood Swings Sometimes”
  • You Are Crazy

How can I help my partner with bipolar?

Below are six ways you can help a loved one who lives with bipolar disorder.

  1. Educate yourself on bipolar disorder and how it affects your loved one. …
  2. Create an episode plan. …
  3. Enjoy physical activities together. …
  4. Enjoy the symptom-free times. …
  5. Remind them that you care. …
  6. Be aware of episodes or moods.