Lifestyle Changes to Manage Bipolar Disorder
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Developing good habits can help you to better manage living with bipolar disorder. Here are some tips:
- ]]>Take your medications.]]>
- ]]>Get adequate sleep.]]>
- ]]>Learn how to manage stress.]]>
- ]]>Eat a healthful diet.]]>
- ]]>Exercise regularly.]]>
You may be taking a number of medications. Under certain circumstances, you may be tempted to skip your medication, or it may simply slip your mind. Remember that it’s extremely important that you take your medications as recommended by your doctor or your symptoms may recur.
Ask your doctor for guidance on when to take your medicines and what to do if you miss a dose. Try using "sticky" notes in visible places to remind you to take your medicines.
Getting adequate sleep on a regular schedule is very effective in preventing mood cycling. Sleep deprivation alters your brain chemistry and can bring on manic episodes. If you are having sleep problems, discuss this with your doctor. If necessary, your doctor may prescribe a medicine that will help you sleep better.
Stress can trigger manic attacks. Make sure that you get plenty of rest and relaxation, have a job that you enjoy, and don’t take on more responsibilities than you can handle. A variety of relaxation techniques can help you to cope more effectively with stressors that can trigger your symptoms. You may want to consider meditation]]> , deep breathing, progressive relaxation, ]]>yoga]]> , ]]>biofeedback]]> , ]]>massage]]> , or other activities that you find pleasurable and relaxing.
Eat a healthful diet]]> on a regular basis—one that is low in saturated fat and rich in whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. If your medications cause weight gain, you may need to cut back on your calories.
Some preliminary studies suggest that consuming ]]>omega-3 fatty acids]]> may help reduce symptoms of bipolar disorder. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish, such as mackerel, sardines, salmon, and bluefish.
Exercising]]> on a regular basis can help you to manage stress, control weight gain that may result from medications, and can help increase feelings of well-being.
American Psychiatric Association. Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with bipolar disorder (revision). Am J Psychiatry. 2002;159:1-50.
Bipolar disorder. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance website. Available at: http://www.ndmda.org/ . Updated October 2007. Accessed September 9, 2008.
Bipolar disorder. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/bipolar.cfm . Updated April 2008. Accessed on June 21, 2008
Carson RC, Butcher JN. Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life . 11th ed. New York, NY: Allyn and Bacon; 2000.
Last reviewed June 2008 by ]]>Janet H. Greenhut, MD, MPH]]>
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