The intense emotional swings that are characteristic of bipolar disorder can be challenging for friends and loved ones of individuals who have this condition. In today’s post, we look at the relationship between bipolar disorder and anger, and we discuss how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Before we address how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry, let’s take a moment to review what bipolar disorder is and how it affects people.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by dramatic shifts in mood, attitude, energy level, and self-esteem. People who have this condition may experience the following types of episodes:
- Manic episodes are times of elevated mood and increased energy. During a manic episode, a person may seem to have no need for sleep. They may launch several projects, take on a variety of tasks, and exhibit a self-confidence that verges on grandiosity. They may also behave recklessly in terms of spending, gambling, eating, driving, and sex.
- Hypomanic episodes are similar to manic episodes, but they don’t last as long. To meet the criteria for a manic episode as established in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a person must have symptoms for at least a week. A hypomanic episode may only last for four days.
- Major depressive episodes are times of profuse sadness, low energy, and diminished self-esteem. These episodes may also involve disrupted sleep patterns, changes in appetite, inability to feel joy, and recurrent thoughts of death and dying. Major depressive episodes will last for at least two weeks, with symptoms occurring most of the day for most days in that period.
There are three types of bipolar disorder. They are differentiated by the types of episodes that a person has:
- Bipolar I disorder involves manic episodes. People with bipolar I disorder may also have hypomanic and major depressive episodes, but these are not required for this diagnosis.
- Bipolar II disorder involves hypomanic episodes and major depressive episodes.
- Cyclothymic disorder involves hypomanic symptoms that don’t last long enough for a full hypomanic episode and symptoms of depression that don’t rise to the level of a major depressive episode.
The Connection Between Bipolar Disorder and Anger
One of the myths about bipolar disorder is that all people with this condition are angry, violent, and dangerous. The truth is that people who have bipolar disorder may exhibit a wide range of emotions, including anger, which can be extremely intense at times.
As we explore the connection between bipolar disorder and anger – and as we discuss how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry – it is important to understand that anger is neither omnipresent nor a defining characteristic of bipolar disorder.
Anger can occur at any time, but it is most common during manic or hypomanic episodes. It may result from situations such as the following:
- The individual becomes overly excited about some grandiose project they want to undertake, and they resent any obstacles that are preventing them from doing so immediately.
- They feel that their loved ones are not as supportive of their plans and ideas as they should be.
- They are on a spending or gambling spree, and they have run out of money, exceeded a limit, or been denied additional credit.
- Their behavior has caused a problem at work, in school, or in another area of their life.
- They have been abusing alcohol or another drug.
How to Deal With Someone Who is Bipolar and Angry
Regardless of what prompted the anger, here are a few suggestions for how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry:
- Remain calm: This can admittedly be difficult, but it is important. The last thing you want to do is exacerbate the situation by responding to anger with anger of your own.
- Don’t argue: This one can also be difficult, but there is no value in arguing with someone who is exhibiting anger due to bipolar disorder. Remember that the aggressiveness that the individual is expressing is a symptom of a mental health disorder, not a rational response.
- Speak directly: Stay positive, but establish that you will not allow yourself to be intimidated or pushed into doing something that you don’t agree with.
- Maintain your boundaries: Your loved one may be in crisis, but you can’t give in simply to dissipate their anger. This codependent tendency can cause more problems than it solves.
- Stay safe: If the individual becomes either physically or verbally abusive, extricate yourself from the situation. Tell your loved one that you will continue the discussion when they are able to do so in an appropriate, non-threatening manner.
- Get help: When your loved one’s anger has subsided, talk to them about getting the professional help they need. With proper treatment, they can prevent future episodes like this from occurring.
Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorder in Atlanta, GA
Treatment for bipolar disorder typically involves both medication and therapy. Medication can ease or eliminate some symptoms of this condition, while therapy can help people learn how to better manage their symptoms, control their emotions, and govern their behaviors.
Depending on which type of symptoms a person has been experiencing, the medication component of their care may involve antidepressants, anti-psychotics, or mood stabilizers.
Examples of services that may be included in a person’s treatment plan for bipolar disorder may include:
- Individual, group, and family therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
- Neurofeedback therapy
- Biosound therapy
- Holistic therapy
Find Treatment for Bipolar Disorder in Atlanta, GA
Peachtree Wellness Solutions is a trusted source of customized care for adults who have bipolar disorder and certain co-occurring conditions.
At our bipolar disorder treatment center in Atlanta, Georgia, experienced professionals provide life-changing services at the residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient levels. At every level, our patients receive focused care and comprehensive support in a safe and welcoming environment.
To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our admissions page or call us today. We look forward to answering all your questions and helping you decide if Peachtree Wellness Solutions is the perfect place for you or your loved one.