Anyone who has had a loved one diagnosed with a mental illness knows the effects can be far-reaching. Mental illness is far from an isolated struggle, and it can take a dramatic toll on families. Families of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder will have to contend with mood swings ranging from depressive to manic episodes. While some cases are milder than others, and some families will adjust to the changes, bipolar disorder can still strain relationships and cause stress between families. One way to alleviate these stressors is through a comprehensive care program at a bipolar disorder treatment center.
A bipolar disorder treatment program such as that at Atlanta Center for Mental Health focuses on teaching you to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Many also specifically offer family therapy programs for families of people with bipolar disorder to learn to improve communication and support their loved ones. If you’d like to learn more about your options for family therapy, call Atlanta Center for Mental Health at 833.625.0458.
Effects of Bipolar Disorder on Family Members
The symptoms and effects of bipolar disorder will range in severity, and each person’s experience with bipolar disorder presents unique challenges. However, bipolar disorder will almost always put stress on family relationships. Stressors can include:
- Financial effects
- Emotional effects
- Physical strain
Bipolar disorder often imposes financial constraints on families. Manic episodes, one of the primary symptoms of bipolar disorder, can often accompany periods of intense overspending. This can lead to significant unexpected bills or incur a great deal of debt. Families often spend more on mental healthcare and may lose income sources if the loved one cannot work or loses their job due to their bipolar disorder.
Those living with bipolar disorder may need an increased level of care in their daily life. These can include medical or clinical professionals, but families often have to act as informal caretakers. This can put a lot of strain on these relationships. Caretakers report increased levels of stress and poor mental health. In turn, this can foster feelings of guilt, shame, and anger for families and loved ones alike and can impede the recovery of the patient themself.
The aforementioned mental strain also causes physical effects for family members. Family members are more likely to report poor sleep habits, higher use of medical services, and stress-related illnesses such as hypertension or high blood pressure. Mental and emotional exhaustion causes demonstrable and harmful physical effects, which can significantly strain a family member’s health.
Family Support for Bipolar Disorder
If your loved one has bipolar disorder and it is putting a strain upon your health and relationships, help is available for both you and your loved one. First, it is crucial that you educate yourself about bipolar disorder and support your family member as they contend with their illness. But, while supporting your family member is essential, it is equally important that you receive the care you need as well. You can not adequately support your family member while you are drained, frustrated, and angry.
A bipolar disorder treatment center should also offer opportunities for family members to learn more about their loved one’s illness and how they can provide support. A mental health care professional can help families in many ways, such as:
- Understanding how they are affected by bipolar disorder
- Teaching healthy coping skills
- Teaching good communication skills to address issues with a loved one
Find Support for Families and Loved Ones at Atlanta Center for Mental Health
Atlanta Center for Mental Health can teach these skills to family members and provide the resources they need to continue supporting their loved one. A bipolar disorder treatment program will also help alleviate the symptoms of bipolar disorder, decreasing the stress put upon themselves and their loved ones. If you or a loved one could benefit from a bipolar disorder treatment program, call Atlanta Center for Mental Health at 833.625.0458 or fill out our online contact form today.