How to Deal with Someone Who is Bipolar and Angry
Anger is commonly overlooked as a symptom of bipolar disorder, even though it often accompanies both manic and depressive moods. While living with someone who experiences this mood fluctuation more often, the high amount of instability associated with it can get exhausting for the caregivers. Another challenge in this context is that most of these bipolar individuals lack understanding and insight into the severity of their problem and, therefore, refuse to seek treatment.
Suppose you are in a relationship with someone who is bipolar and frequently difficult to deal with, especially when they are exhibiting bipolar anger. In that case, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and start doubting the relationship’s worth. However, before you completely give up hope, continue reading to know how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry.
Anger is a common response to many life situations, but it does become problematic when it starts occurring frequently and interferes with the quality of life. The chemical imbalances and structural differences associated with bipolar disorder greatly contribute to the emotional dysregulation and consequent exaggerated physiological responses linked with anger. As a result, many people with bipolar disorder find it difficult to control their outbursts.
For someone with a diagnosis of bipolar, even minor incidents can trigger angry outbursts. Small things that would normally not provoke rage may result in passionate breakdowns and outbursts. Such people may even become enraged in the absence of an external cause, and their responses can be exhausting, especially for those around them.
Being in a relationship with someone who frequently experiences bipolar anger can be extremely hard due to the unpredictability that comes with it. But when these emotions start to get a hold of you, remember that it is equally difficult for your loved one to be in this position too. These patients may very well acknowledge that their anger is not justified but may not be able to suppress it due to the nature of their underlying diagnosis.
Unexpected mood fluctuations and activities are the hallmarks of bipolar disorder. These mood episodes are intrinsic to bipolar disorder and often appear unpredictable and spontaneous; however, certain triggers may also initiate them. Identifying these triggers is possible when an easygoing individual suddenly starts to grow irritable. You may also consider looking for signs of an impending shift to depression or mania based on certain triggers.
Spotting triggers for bipolar disorder and the associated anger outbursts can be extremely helpful for devising a suitable treatment plan. It also helps to know what to expect from these episodes and seek necessary resources when your loved one goes through this challenging time. Following are some early signs and triggers precipitating bipolar rage:
Changes in sleep routines
Sleep disruption is one of the most powerful triggers for depressive episodes and sudden mood shifts. Evidence suggests that it is also the most commonly reported trigger of a mood episode in people with bipolar disorder.
Alcohol and drug use for recreational purposes is quite common and can easily lead to bipolar rage. While heavy, long-term substance use is of great concern for such people, even casual and occasional use can trigger anger outbursts in some by causing an imbalance in the brain’s neurochemistry.
The death of a loved one can be difficult and extremely traumatic for anyone involved, even those who do not suffer from a mental health problem. For people with bipolar disorder, grief can bring significant mental changes, increasing the risk of rage.
Any extent of friction in a relationship can lead to stress, forcing a person with bipolar disorder to undergo a mood episode. As per research, problematic interpersonal interactions are among the top events that spark anger and even suicidal thoughts in patients with bipolar disorder.
Regardless of what triggers a bipolar person to develop anger, the issue remains: what to do when a bipolar person gets angry?
Learning different coping mechanisms and practising them with your bipolar spouse can help maintain overall happiness in relationships. Once you have acquired a profound knowledge of the association between anger and bipolar disorder, you will eventually learn to foresee the anger and, with some practice, know how to respond appropriately.
Until then, the following are some techniques to cope with bipolar anger.
Accept their limitations
Your partner, friend, or family member with bipolar disorder can sometimes fail to manage their temperament. They may experience extreme reactions, making it hard to find balance. Hence, it’s unrealistic to expect such individuals to immediately snap out of an angry outburst and regain emotional balance in the middle of a manic episode.
Practice ways to calm them
You understand their triggers, emotions, and moods when you have lived long enough with a bipolar spouse. This can make you capable of sensing their escalating anger levels in time, providing an opportunity to take action before the situation worsens. Experiment with different methods until you find the best and the most effective ones.
You may ask your loved ones what they need the most during stressful times like these to calm their anger. For instance, some people de-escalate an anger outburst from their loved ones by removing them from the situation. If your loved one is already in treatment, consider discussing various calming techniques with their therapist as a part of family therapy.
Make sure they are regular with medication
The treatment for bipolar disorder often involves medication, yet many fail to comply with regular use. A lot of them stop using medications altogether the moment they start feeling better. In such circumstances, the caregivers must do their best to encourage their loved ones to continue taking their meds. Talk to them about habit tracking, accountability, and other ways to meet their goals and achieve recovery.
Open and honest communication is a must in dealing with bipolar disease in a loved one. As a caregiver, express your worries and concerns in a caring manner. Don’t forget to enquire how your loved one is feeling and try to be an active listener, even if you do not agree with what is being said. This helps your loved one feel understood and heard and positively contributes to anger management.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic condition that needs to be assessed and evaluated continuously throughout life. If you notice the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder in a loved one, encourage them to seek professional help as soon as possible.
Remember that staying silent and ignoring the issue will never make it go away. On the contrary, it will only exacerbate it and make things worse for both of you. Even if your loved one is in remission and doing great, attention must be given to detecting and coping with all possible triggers. Close collaboration with the treating doctors and therapists is also necessary to preserve stability.
Treatment for bipolar anger can be greatly beneficial and considerably enhances the overall life quality if enough time is dedicated to it. Contact a professional today to choose the best combination of therapies and medications.
Finding a treatment for bipolar illness and the associated rage, whether for yourself or a loved one, is not difficult. The first step is to recognise and accept the problem, followed by working on understanding more about it. After that, you may look for a therapist who can help you commit to a plan for recovery. It is recommended to seek professional consultation to choose a care plan according to individual circumstances.
As a friend or partner of someone with bipolar anger, it is also your responsibility to prioritise your health throughout your illness. Being a caregiver is a huge duty that may strain your emotional and physical health. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your loved one.
At the end of the day, multiple treatment options and healthy habits are there to improve the quality of life of the primary sufferer and their caregivers. Contact your nearest rehab today to plan an initial assessment.
What does bipolar anger feel like?
Anger in bipolar disorder can be brutal, explosive, and very damaging if it is not managed timely. It often feels unpredictable and too intense to be controlled or stabilised until it runs its course and resolves on its own. According to experts, bipolar anger does not always need a trigger to express itself. It may, and often does, show up without any prior warning or reason. So if you encounter someone with bipolar disorder and anger mood swings, keep in mind that they do not choose to go into a range. In fact, they are desperately attempting to gain control, making their anger outbursts even more chaos-inducing.
Some commonly reported symptoms associated with bipolar anger include:
Uncontrollable anger that may last for an hour
Sometimes, a bipolar range may involve physical violence that reportedly brings them a sense of pleasure and relief. However, intense feelings of sorrow and remorse soon follow.
Can bipolar irritability and anger affect your health?
In addition to damaging relationships, the rage of any kind can exert devastating physiologic effects on health. Anger works by activating the fight or flight response in the body, which, in turn, leads to a release of the stress hormone, such as cortisol and adrenaline. Over time, as the levels of these hormones rise, they cause wear and tear on all body systems. When people who are easily frustrated and irritated by temperament go into an angry mood, all components of their anger response occur at enhanced levels. As a result, several physical consequences may follow, such as hardening of coronary arteries at a very early age, particularly due to enhanced responses. Such individuals are also at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
How can I immediately deal with bipolar anger to calm myself down?
Whenever you are faced with anger, there are certain strategies to use to calm down the rage immediately. These include:
breathing deeply from the diaphragm
logically reframing the anger-provoking situation
repeating calming words or phrases
visualising a relaxing scene
listening actively to another person
using humour to de-escalate the anger
redirecting energy by going for a walk or run
listening to soothing music
making an action plan.
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