Can a Bad Relationship Cause Bipolar Disorder?

Published: August 17, 2022

No relationship is perfect; it has its ups and downs. However, a bad or toxic relationship can cause several mental illnesses. While the reverse is also true, can a bad relationship cause something as major as Bipolar Disorder?

A bad relationship does not necessarily need to be with your partner. It can be with your parents, siblings, boss, or colleagues; any relationship can cause fluctuations in your mental health. Seeing red flags in relationships is vital before it jeopardizes your sanity.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder is a condition where a person experiences fluctuations in the mood on an extreme level. This disorder affects an individual’s ability to concentrate, do daily chores, and energy levels. Also called manic depression, it is of three types- Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymia.

Mood fluctuation in Bipolar Disorder
via Scrip

You can detect bipolar disorder by understanding its symptoms. The mood can swing from being too upbeat, irritated, excessively energized, or ecstatic and can go down to being sad, depressed, apathetic, or angry suddenly. One’s appetite, sleep pattern, and speech practice are also affected by this disorder. There are chances of feeling suicidal as well. However, it only happens in a depressive episode that is severe and requires medical attention.

Various mood change in a short span of time
via OSU

As per studies, bipolar disorder is caused either by brain structure and functioning or genetics. People with manic depression have a different brain structure than people with no disorder. Similarly, if a parent or sibling has bipolar disorder, there are chances of a person having it as well. However, no evidence proves a person will compulsorily get the disorder, but we cannot outlook the possibility of genetics.

SEE ALSO: How To Be Positive Again in Life?

How does Bipolar Disorder Affect Relationships?

A person with bipolar disorder can unintentionally cause hurt to another person. It can be challenging yet not impossible to maintain such a relationship. Before we move further, you need to understand that there is a difference between a toxic relationship and being in a relationship with a person who has bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder
via Answers 4 Life

In a toxic relationship, the other half purposely traumatizes or belittles you. Whereas in the case of bipolar disorder, the individual has little to no control over their behavior.

When you are in a relationship with a person with bipolar disorder, you are not just dealing with their mood swings. You have to understand how their mind works for themselves and others. There is a social construct when it comes to mental illnesses. Hence, a person with bipolar disorder may feel self-stigma, affecting their self-esteem. They may feel less accepted and end up isolated, feeling bad about themselves. Such individuals avoid any relationships or connections and even push away existing relationships.

Self-isolation is common in bipolar disorder
via Ability Today

Another thing to remember is the mood fluctuation does not remain with them. It also affects the significant other as a sudden depressive episode can easily push away or break relationships. So, the mood disorder can be uncontrollable, making the other person feel unimportant.

Lastly, you must understand that such people have to stick to a routine. Maintaining a strict routine is important for all but essential for individuals with bipolar disorder. To balance their mood changes, they stick to a specific routine. That may hinder connections as they cannot make any adjustments for anyone in any condition.

How To Know If Your Partner Has The Mood Disorder?

Mood disorder or bipolar disorder acts like a pattern in any relationship. The best part is it is manageable. So, if your partner possesses any symptoms or is clinically diagnosed with bipolar disorder, then you need to understand a few things.

Fighting Couple
via Mike and Susan Dawson

The moods’ highs and lows may affect how an individual feels, behaves, or thinks. Suppose your partner is drinking heavily, disagreeing over little things, spending too much, or irritability overcomes them, then it may be problematic for you. Sometimes your partner may feel hopeless, restless, or too emotional without any reason. They may seem less affectionate and considerate and have a reduced sex drive. The individual also may experience mixed symptoms.

You need to know that this isn’t who they truly are. As I said before, this condition is manageable, and your partner can indulge in suitable therapies to govern their disorder. Even you can help them achieve better results so that the self-stigma is removed from their mind.

SEE ALSO: Why a Divorce Can Be a Good Thing for You?

How To Manage Bipolar Disorder?

There are several ways to manage and treat bipolar disorder. However, you need to comprehend that this illness is for a lifetime. But no need to worry as long as you have the right tools.

Talk Therapy
via Expression Counselling
  • Talk Therapy or Psychotherapy – It is an effective treatment plan consisting of various techniques for an individual to identify and transform problematic behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. This is also helpful for providing the necessary education and details to the patient as well as the family/partner.
Medication for Bipolar Disorder
via Psycom
  • Medications – Like any other illness, bipolar disorder also requires medication in some cases depending upon the severity. Antipsychotic drugs and mood stabilizers are prescribed to patients with mood disorder. Antidepressants are also used along with mood stabilizers to balance depressive episodes and manic conditions.
via Health Impact news
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy – In extreme cases, ECT is a preferable option. It is a brain stimulation procedure in which a person is first given anesthesia, and then a series of treatment sessions are done for several weeks. ECT is helpful in cases that reach a suicidal level, and no medication or psychotherapy seems to help the patient.
Exercise to manage bipolar disorder
via Petos Key News

Apart from medical assistance, if you want to self-manage your symptoms, there are some ways you can do it. Regular exercise is proven to have positive impacts on mental health. Walking, jogging, swimming, yoga, pilates, bicycling, and games help to handle depression and anxiety. This will also help balance heart and brain fitness and regulate your sleep cycle.

What Can You Do When Your Partner Has Bipolar Disorder?

Whether it’s a parent-child or romantic relationship, it all needs effort to make it work. Although in the case of dating a person with bipolar disorder, you and your partner may need to make extra efforts. Both parties need to put time and nurturing to win this battle.

Couples Therapy
via MOViN 92.5

Couples therapy is an excellent option for the guidance of bipolar relationships. The biggest perk is that you have an unbiased third person to whom you can freely convey your emotions and feelings. This will also help in understanding each other’s viewpoints. Couples therapy enables you to gain an understanding of hurtful bipolar patterns that require immediate attention. This way, you can learn to set boundaries, seek or give forgiveness and know what not to repeat.

Couples cooking together
via Casual Gourmet

Doing things together can really give a boost to a happy bipolar relationship. Journaling, cooking together, working out, meditating, date nights, healthy food, maintaining a healthy sleep pattern – doing this with your partner will really help. Whether you are bipolar or your partner, self-care is never outdated. And doing self-care together will only add to extra love and affection.

Further, it’s important to motivate your partner with bipolar disorder to stick to the treatment plan. Appreciating their little steps into therapy and encouraging them to adhere to it is crucial.

Couple Bicycling
via Family Today

Another thing that may help, especially if you are new to this, is you can learn about their condition and ask what triggers them. You can also understand behavioral changes and know about their treatment plan. It’s important to communicate with your partner—this way, you are informed of the essential details.

And if you have bipolar disorder, you can always help your partner by sharing your diagnosis with them. You can share about your mood changes and ask for feedback.

How Can A Bad Relationship Affect Manic Depression?

First thing’s first, if a person has bipolar disorder, it does not necessarily mean that relationship will fail or be difficult. If they are following a proper treatment plan, you are luckily to experience a normal relationship without worrying about the symptoms.

Happy Couple
via Wallpaper Crave

Now to answer the main question if a lousy relationship can cause bipolar disorder or not, it does not. Although, a bad relationship can trigger a person with bipolar disorder, and their symptoms can worsen. We know that a toxic relationship showers mental health with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-doubt, etc.

So, whatever the situation, make sure you are in a healthy relationship with yourself as well as with your partner. And if you have any mental health issues, please don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

We wish you a healthy heart and mind!


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