Bipolar disorder is most often associated with mood swings, ranging from depression lows to manic highs. Because bipolar is a mood disorder, these mood swings are chronic. However, it is a common belief that mood swings are rapid, if not instantaneous, bipolar mood swings over a few weeks at a time. This means someone experiencing a depressive episode may experience a manic episode two weeks later.
As with most mood disorders, scientists cannot pinpoint the exact cause of bipolar disorder. However, it is thought that genetics, environment, and differences in the brain may lend a hand in the development of the disorder. Mood swings are a keystone symptom in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, but different types of bipolar disorder experience mood swings in different ways.
Cyclothymia disorder, also known as cyclothymic disorder or just cyclothymia, is a rarer type of bipolar disorder that occurs less frequently than bipolar I disorder or bipolar II disorder. Cyclothymic disorder is typically only seen in around 1 percent of the population.2
Not only is cyclothymic disorder rarer, but it is also milder than other types of bipolar disorder. Some of the signs and symptoms of cyclothymic disorder can include:
Bipolar disorder can make relationships difficult for both parties. However, this isn’t to say that a relationship with bipolar is impossible. It’s important to remember that individuals with bipolar disorder are just as capable of loving and being loved as people without bipolar disorder. Many times, therapy and actively practicing healthy relationship habits can aid in navigating a relationship when one or both individuals have bipolar disorder. There are still some unique symptoms and situations to navigate with bipolar disorder, however.3
The symptoms of bipolar disorder play a significant role in how an individual can interact and connect to those around them. As a result, not taking the time to learn how to manage symptoms and reconnect with loved ones can lead to a decline in relationships.
Some of the issues that can arise from a relationship where bipolar disorder is involved can include:
It is important to note that these symptoms can occur in any relationship, whether bipolar disorder is a factor. However, certain symptoms or situations may be more common.4
There are many ways to manage a relationship with bipolar disorder, whether you are the partner with or without the disorder. These are often important factors in a healthy relationship, even without bipolar disorder. However, for many, these steps are necessary in ensuring a healthy relationship for both partners when bipolar disorder is a factor.
Some of the most important ways to manage relationships with bipolar disorder include:
Although bipolar disorder can make it difficult to navigate romantic relationships and with family and friends, treatment options are available. These treatment options can help address and manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder themselves. They can also be beneficial in helping the individual develop new skills to communicate more effectively while also teaching healthy relationship skills such as understanding boundaries and safe coping mechanisms for triggers.
Along with therapy, medication is one of the most common treatment options for bipolar disorder. Medication can help balance brain chemistry, which can help manage mood swings and their symptoms. It can also be beneficial in treating many other conditions, such as another mental health disorder, increasing the severity of bipolar disorder symptoms.
Some of the most common medications for bipolar disorder include anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, and SSRIs, which are typically used in the treatment of depression.
Therapy is another common treatment option for bipolar disorder. These can help address the symptoms, just like medication can, but they can also help the individual to better learn how to manage their reactions and coping mechanisms.
Therapy is a beneficial step in better learning to understand yourself and others. As a result, this is an essential step for those seeking treatment for bipolar disorder to help improve their relationship.
Although navigating a relationship with bipolar disorder can be difficult, it’s not impossible. This is especially true when you learn more about the resources and services available to you and your partner. If you’re worried that bipolar disorder is affecting your relationship, take time to learn more about the medication, therapy, and counseling services available for you and your partner. These can be invaluable resources when learning how to better navigate a relationship with bipolar disorder.