Helping Someone with a Mood Disorder
Mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder affect millions of people. Their family members and friends are affected, too. If someone you love has a mood disorder, you may be feeling helpless, overwhelmed, confused, and hopeless, or you may feel hurt, angry, frustrated, and resentful. You may also have feelings of guilt, shame and isolation, or feelings of sadness, exhaustion, and fear. All of these feelings are normal.
What You Need to Know
What You Need to Find Out
When talking with your loved one's health care providers, be patient, polite, and assertive. Ask for clarification of things you do not understand. Write down things you need to remember.
What You Can Say That Helps
What You Should Avoid Saying
How long will it take before the person feels better?
Some people are able to stabilize quickly after starting treatment; others take longer and need to try several treatments, medications, or medication combinations before they feel better. Talk therapy can be helpful for managing symptoms during this time.
If your friend or family member is facing treatment challenges, the person needs your support and patience more than ever. Education can help you both find out all the options that are available and decide whether a second opinion is needed. Help your loved one to take medication as prescribed, and don't assume the person isn't following the treatment plan just because he or she isn't feeling 100% better.
There is hope!
As a friend or family member of someone who is coping with bipolar disorder or depression, your support is an important part of working toward wellness. Don't give up hope. Treatment for mood disorders does work, and the majority of people with mood disorders can return to stable and productive lives. Keep working with your loved one and his or her health care providers to find treatments that work, and keep reminding your loved one that you are there for support.
Online Support Groups
DBSA offers online support groups for parents, friends, and family members of people living with mood disorders. Take care of yourself while helping a loved one.
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