Living With Bipolar Disorder (& Working, Too)

Working With Bipolar Disorder

Living with bipolar disorder makes it harder to maintain relationships and employment because of challenges associated with the disease, but it is possible. People diagnosed with the mental health condition can take steps to increase their chances of a stable relationship and steady employment. Through proper diagnosis, honesty, and treatment for bipolar disorders, individuals increase their odds of enjoying healthy relationships and successful careers.

An accurate diagnosis is the first step to deal with symptoms of bipolar disorder. If the person is already involved in a relationship, spouses or partners should be included in doctor visits to help them gain an understanding of the disease. Couples who become familiar with symptoms and triggers of manic and depressive episodes are better prepared to deal with them when they arise. Attending counseling together might deepen the relationship and make challenges more manageable.

A couple can work together to devise a plan to handle bouts of mania or depression before they occur. If children are in the home, the couple might discuss options for child care if the home environment becomes unstable. Friends or family members can assist with childcare to protect youngsters from undue stress until the situation at home comes under control.

Bipolar sufferers who hope to enter a new relationship typically worry about disclosing the disorder. If a dating relationship starts getting serious, an honest discussion might be warranted to answer any questions a potential partner might pose. The timing of disclosure is important and probably shouldn’t be done in the initial dating stage. Waiting until true feelings develop gives the relationship a better chance of success.

Bipolar disorder represents a mental disability recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law that protects patients from discrimination. Employers cannot refuse to hire qualified job candidates simply because they have been diagnosed with a mental illness. People suffering from the disorder can seek job opportunities that provide sick leave in case bouts of depression or mania cause them to miss work. Those who follow recommended treatment plans, which usually include medication to control symptoms and counseling, often function at work without problems.

Some people choose to discuss the disorder with immediate supervisors to get support coping with bipolar disorder in the workplace. Employees can request the information remain confidential within the human resource department and not be shared with co-workers. Some people with bipolar disorder bring a doctor or counselor to the meeting to help explain the illness and offer tips to foster a successful working relationship.

Bipolar disease is a mood disorder that affects people differently. Most patients suffer from manic episodes marked by euphoria and impulsive behavior. They may feel invincible and engage in dangerous behavior without considering the consequences. During bouts of mania, patients might not sleep for days. Depression typically follows the manic phase with periods of extreme sadness and guilt. These emotional symptoms can occur in unpredictable cycles.

Medication to stabilize mood helps people with bipolar disorder maintain healthy relationships and careers. People who take drugs as prescribed can better cope with the disease while living a full life. Psychotherapy gives them tools to reduce stress and recognize triggers that might lead to manic or depressive episodes.