What Not to Do When Someone Has Bipolar Disorder

by Ella

Living with bipolar disorder can be a challenging and often misunderstood experience. For those who have a friend or family member with bipolar disorder, providing the right kind of support and understanding is crucial. While each person’s journey with bipolar disorder is unique, there are some common guidelines on what not to do when interacting with someone with this condition. In this article, we’ll explore these crucial do’s and don’ts to help you build and maintain healthy, supportive relationships.


Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Before delving into what not to do, it’s important to have a basic understanding of bipolar disorder. This mental health condition is characterized by extreme mood swings, typically between periods of intense mania and deep depression. These mood swings can vary in intensity and duration, and they can significantly impact an individual’s life.


What Not to Do:

Don’t Dismiss Their Feelings: One of the most common mistakes when interacting with someone who has bipolar disorder is dismissing their feelings. Avoid phrases like, “It’s all in your head” or “Just snap out of it.” These remarks can be hurtful and unhelpful. Bipolar disorder is a real and complex condition, and the emotions and struggles associated with it are equally real.


Don’t Offer Unsolicited Advice: While your intentions may be good, offering unsolicited advice on how to “fix” their condition can be counterproductive. Instead, ask if they would like to discuss potential solutions or if they need your help in finding professional support.


Avoid Stigmatizing Language: Stigmatizing language can be incredibly damaging. Avoid using terms like “crazy” or “insane.” These words perpetuate stereotypes and can cause significant harm.

Don’t Minimize Their Experience: Understand that bipolar disorder is not something someone can simply “get over.” Minimizing their experiences or telling them to “toughen up” can lead to feelings of guilt and shame.

Don’t Expect Consistency: People with bipolar disorder may have inconsistent moods and behaviors. Don’t expect them to be the same person all the time. It’s important to recognize that these fluctuations are part of the condition.

Avoid Trying to Control Them: Individuals with bipolar disorder need a support system that respects their autonomy. Attempting to control their actions or decisions can lead to frustration and resistance.

Don’t Blame or Judge: Avoid blaming or judging the person for their condition or its symptoms. Remember that bipolar disorder is not a choice; it’s a medical condition that requires understanding and compassion.

Avoid Isolating Them: Individuals with bipolar disorder may go through periods of isolation during depressive episodes. However, isolating them further can exacerbate the issue. Reach out with empathy and understanding to let them know you care.

What to Do Instead:

Educate Yourself: The first step in supporting someone with bipolar disorder is educating yourself about the condition. Learn about the different types of bipolar disorder, common symptoms, and available treatments.

Listen Actively: One of the most powerful things you can do is to listen actively when they want to talk. Let them express their feelings and concerns without judgment. Sometimes, just having someone to listen can provide immense relief.

Respect Their Treatment Plan: If they’re receiving professional treatment, respect their treatment plan. Encourage them to adhere to medication and therapy schedules and offer to assist with these aspects if needed.

Offer Emotional Support: Let them know that you are there for them emotionally. Offer a shoulder to lean on and be a consistent presence in their life.

Create a Supportive Environment: Encourage a healthy and supportive environment. This includes helping them establish a routine, supporting their self-care, and creating a safe and understanding space for them.

Recognize Their Achievements: Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Acknowledging their successes can be incredibly motivating.

Be Patient: Understand that bipolar disorder can involve periods of instability. Be patient and understanding when their moods fluctuate.

Encourage Professional Help: If they are not currently receiving professional help, encourage them to seek it. Offer to assist with finding a therapist or psychiatrist and attending appointments with them if they wish.

Stay Informed: Stay informed about their condition and their specific triggers and needs. Everyone’s experience with bipolar disorder is unique, and keeping updated on their individual needs is important.


Supporting someone with bipolar disorder requires patience, empathy, and a willingness to learn. By avoiding stigmatizing language, judgment, and unsolicited advice, you can create a more supportive and compassionate environment. Recognize their achievements and encourage them to seek professional help when necessary. Remember that people with bipolar disorder are not defined by their condition, and your understanding and support can make a significant difference in their journey towards managing their mental health.


You May Also Like

Womenhealthdomain is a professional women's health portal website, the main columns include women's mental health, reproductive health, healthy diet, beauty, health status, knowledge and news.

【Contact us: [email protected]

[email protected]

Call: 18066312111

© 2023 Copyright