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Bipolar Disorder - Home Treatment

Home treatment is important in bipolar disorder. There are many things you can do to help control mood swings. You don't have to do them all at once. Try to do one thing, such as eating a healthy diet, then add another when you can.

Watch what you eat

Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet. A balanced diet includes foods from different food groups camera.gif, such as whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and protein. Eat a variety of foods from each group. (For example, eat different fruits from the fruit group instead of only apples.) A varied diet helps you get all the nutrients you need. No single food provides every nutrient.

Keep good habits

  • Take your medicine every day as prescribed.
  • Get enough exercise. Try moderate activity for at least 30 minutes a day, every day, if possible. A brisk walk is an example of moderate activity.
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs.
  • Limit caffeine and nicotine.

Reduce stress, get rest

  • Try to control the amount of stress in your life. Techniques to relieve stress include physical activity and exercise, breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and counseling and support groups.
  • Get enough sleep. Keep your room dark and quiet, and try to go to bed at the same time every night. If you plan to travel into other time zones, ask your doctor if you should make any changes in your medicines. And ask what to do if you have a manic or depressive episode while you are away.

Ask for help

  • Learn to recognize the early warning signs of your manic and depressive episodes.
  • Ask for help from friends and family when needed. You may need help with daily activities if you are depressed. Or you may need support to control high energy levels if you have a manic high.
actionset.gif Bipolar Disorder: Preventing Manic Episodes

How family and friends can help

Family members often feel helpless when a loved one is depressed or manic. But you can help.

  • Encourage the person to take prescribed medicines regularly, even when he or she is feeling good.
  • Recognize a lapse into a manic or depressive episode. Help the person cope and get treatment.
  • Allow your loved one to take enough time to feel better and get back into daily activities.
  • Learn the difference between hypomania and when your loved one is just having a good day. Hypomania is an elevated or irritable mood that is clearly different from a regular nondepressed mood. It can last for a week or more.

Know the signs

  • Learn the warning signs for suicide. They include:
    • Drinking alcohol heavily or taking illegal drugs.
    • Talking, writing, or drawing about death, such as writing suicide notes.
    • Talking about things that can cause harm, such as pills, guns, or knives.
    • Spending long periods of time alone.
    • Giving away possessions.
    • Acting aggressive or suddenly appearing calm.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 03, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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