What you should include and why.
Have you ever tried to assemble a piece of furniture without an instruction manual?
Dozens of parts and tools may lay before you, but until you know where each piece goes, they’re nothing but parts.
I’m a rule follower by nature, so I love instruction guides. Simple directions with clear descriptions can make everything easier, from building a bookshelf to baking a cake.
Plans are also important for managing your bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a complex mental illness that is tough to manage on your own. This is especially true if you don’t have a good support system in place. With the help of those who love you, it’s possible to create a bipolar disorder treatment plan that will make everyone happier.
This post will cover the steps you need to take to create a successful treatment plan with your loved ones. We will also discuss the warning signs they should watch for, and provide tips for how best to work together.
Creating a Treatment Plan
There are a few steps to creating a bipolar disorder treatment plan for bipolar disorder.
The first step is to come up with a plan that everyone can agree on.
This means that you will need to sit down with your family of close friends and discuss what you want your treatment plan to look like. You should also involve your doctor and therapist in this process, as they will be able to offer valuable input.
For many, a bipolar disorder treatment plan involves daily medication. You need to consider what you want from medication and if anything is a deal breaker. A few meds caused me to have intense migraines. Staying on them was impossible, no matter how stable I felt.
Talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) also help many, but some never feel comfortable talking to another person about their dark feelings. You need a plan that will work for you.
The second step is to create a contact list.
Your bipolar disorder treatment plan should include contact numbers for your professional care team and those in your family and friends you can depend on. Each member of your support system should have a copy of the contact sheet, a list of your medications, the dosage amount, and the time of day you should take it.
An effective treatment plan has two parts: what you will do and what you expect from your support team. Everyone should understand their role in the plan so that it has the best chance of success.
For example, the people in my support network know when to react and how to approach me with their concerns. There’s never any yelling or angry outbursts because we have a clear list of warning signs and how each should be handled.
Once you have come up with a plan, the third step is to put it into action.
It’s essential to be honest with your loved ones about what you are dealing with and how they can help you. It is also important to be open to feedback from them. They may have suggestions about how you can improve your bipolar disorder treatment plan, and it’s crucial to listen to their input.
Your treatment plan should include a list of warning signs specific to you. While many parts of bipolar disorder are similar between patients, the warning signs can be miles apart.
A few of my warning signs include isolating myself, excessive spending, and talking about making huge life-changing decisions. When I start saying I’m quitting my job or going to marry a new flame, both are red flags.
There are certain warning signs that your loved ones should watch for if you have bipolar disorder. These include:
- Changes in mood or behavior: If they notice a sudden or radical change in your mood or behavior.
- Increased irritability: If you become more easily irritated than usual or seem angry all the time.
- Changes in sleep patterns: If you start sleeping too much or too little.
- Changes in appetite: If you start eating much more or less than usual.
There is a learning curve to identifying warning signs. When I quit my last job, it was a toxic environment I had to get out of for my protection. My family still worried, but I laid out a clear explanation of what I was doing and why.
Warning signs can also change with time, so it’s good to review your list periodically.
Tips for Working Together
If you want to create a successful bipolar disorder treatment plan with your loved ones, there are some tips you should keep in mind.
- Be honest: It’s vital to be open and honest with your loved ones about what you are dealing with. You should agree to tell them when things get rough, explaining how you really feel and admitting any acts or plans of self-harm.
- Be open to feedback: It’s important to accept feedback from your loved ones. Your support team can see your mental illness from a different perspective, so you should listen to what they have to say. Even if you disagree, you need to hear them out.
- Be patient: Creating a treatment plan takes time and effort. Don’t expect everything to happen overnight. Be patient with yourself and your loved ones, and trust that you will be able to create a successful plan.
If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to creating a treatment plan that will work for you and your loved ones. With the help of those who love you, it is possible to manage this condition and live a happy, healthy life.
Your Bipolar Disorder Treatment Plan Contents
To create your treatment plan, be sure to address each of these topics.
- Contact Information. Every person in your support system needs to know how to reach each other in an emergency. Make a list that includes your doctor, therapist, emergency contacts, pharmacy, and spiritual leader. Make sure everyone on your team has a copy of the list.
- Medication/Treatment Method. You and your support team should agree on your treatment plan. Most of the responsibility will rest with you, so in your plan, make a promise to stick to your medication and other treatment methods. Agree that you’ll take your meds every day regardless of how you might feel. If you are seeing a therapist or are in group therapy, make a commitment to show up for every appointment.
- Self-care. Your bipolar disorder treatment plan should include steps for self-care. This includes daily activities such as bathing and eating meals at regular times. It also includes the things you will do to take care of your mind. Set up a schedule for journaling, practicing gratitude, and mindfulness. If your physical health allows it, try to also create an exercise schedule.
- Emergency Plan. There may be times when bipolar sends you spinning out of control. You and your loved ones should make a list of warning signs specific to you. It may include significant changes in mood or sleeping habits and factors like isolating yourself or going silent. Decide together when emergency care is needed and agree to go along without arguing when they decide it’s time to take action.
Bipolar disorder makes life challenging, but you can live a full and happy life. A key ingredient to your success if making and sticking to a treatment plan. By working with those closest to you, everyone will feel more at peace.
Until next time, keep fighting.