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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Bipolar Disorder

En Español (Spanish Version)

Main Page | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Screening | Reducing Your Risk | Talking to Your Doctor | Living With Bipolar Disorder | Resource Guide

Developing good habits can help you live better with bipolar disorder. Here are some tips:

Take Your Medications

You may be taking a number of medications. Under certain circumstances, you may be tempted to skip your medication. Remember that it’s extremely important that you take your medications as recommended by your doctor. Do not let it slip your mind, or your symptoms may recur.

Ask your doctor for guidance on when to take your medicines. Find out what to do if you miss a dose. Try using "sticky notes" in visible places to remind yourself to take your medicines.

Get Adequate Sleep

Getting adequate sleep on a regular schedule is very effective for preventing mood cycling. Sleep deprivation alters your brain chemistry. It can bring on manic episodes. If you are having sleep problems, discuss them with your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe a medicine that will help you sleep better.

Learn How to Manage Stress

Stress can trigger manic attacks. Make sure that you get plenty of rest and relaxation. Have a job that you enjoy. Try not to take on more responsibilities than you can handle. A variety of relaxation techniques can help you to cope more effectively with stressors that can trigger your symptoms. You may want to consider meditation , deep breathing, progressive relaxation, yoga , biofeedback , or massage . Make sure you do other activities that you find pleasurable and relaxing.

Eat a Healthful Diet

Eat a healthful diet on a regular basis—Your diet should be low in saturated fat. It should be rich in whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. If your medications cause weight gain, you may need to cut back on your calories.

Exercise Regularly

Exercising on a regular basis can help you to manage stress. It also helps control weight gain that may result from medications, and can help increase feelings of well-being.

 

References:

  • American Psychiatric Association. Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with bipolar disorder (revision). Am J Psychiatry . 2002;159:1-50.
  • Bipolar disorder. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance website. Available at: http://www.ndmda.org . Updated October 2007. Accessed September 9, 2008.
  • Bipolar disorder. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/bipolar.cfm. Updated April 2008. Accessed on June 21, 2008
  • Carson RC, Butcher JN. Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life . 11th ed. New York, NY: Allyn and Bacon; 2000.

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