Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that is presumed to be as a result of chemical imbalances that alters the moods of a person. It is characterized by episodes of extremely elevated and depressing emotions. This imbalance, as studies suggest, may be directly linked to irregular hormone production or neurotransmitter (chemicals that act messengers to neurons) production in the brain.
Research has also put genetics on the front line as a possible cause since hormones proteins and are influenced by genes. This points out the issue of hereditary in families. The best possible way to counter bipolar and prevent mood swings is to get treatment.
However, it is possible to mitigate the frequency and intensity of attacks by having awareness of the situation or certain events that could potentially trigger mood swings. According to Michael First, MD, a number of triggers have been known to activate and/or worsen bipolar episodes. The common triggers associated with bipolar disorder include:
- Erratic ad overbearing schedules
- Alcohol and caffeine
- Corticosteroids and Antidepressant medications
- Seasonal changes (onset of winter can worsen already underlying depression, and summer increases the risk of mania, both triggering mood swings)
- Abandoning your bipolar treatment for the already diagnosed
- Substance abuse
- Thyroid gland defects and problems
Now, with these common triggers outlined, it presents us with a much easier challenge to cope with bipolar mood swings.
Coping Strategies for Mood Swings
Despite some triggers like seasonal changes being impossible to avoid, making appropriate changes to your lifestyle and providing strategies to manage mood swings can impact hugely. Experts have provided suggestions for managing and effectively coping with mood swings;
- Control stress levels
Stress is a major trigger for bipolar. Stress is encompassed in our everyday aspects of life, it could be at work, or in personal relationships. Therefore, it is advised to simplify your life as much as possible. Detach yourself from toxic relationships, and if you are overburdened with household chores, kindly ask for assistance from your spouse, family members or friends. If your job is overall “crazy” you should switch to a less-demanding one, or you could maximize use of vacations and days off.
Stress-management techniques like meditation and yoga have been known to help. Most importantly keep your stress management schedule regular, sleep, eat, do chores at the same possible time every day.
- Practice healthy sleeping habits
Lack of adequate sleep, from being overly tired is a potential trigger to mania in bipolar people. It is often advised to relax hours before bedtime, there are many ways that can happen, from listening to soothing music, reading or even taking that warm bubbling bath. Experts also suggest providing your bedroom with a calming atmosphere for sleep, remove that television from the bedroom and avoid entirely electronics before bedtime.
- Exercise regularly
It doesn’t have to be intense, even moderate exercises will help along. Aim to work out on most days of the week.
- Avoid alcohol, drugs, and caffeinated drinks
Caffeine is a stimulant that can disrupt sleeping patterns and potentially exacerbate manic episodes. Alcohol and drugs, on the other hand, may affect how your bipolar medication works. It is usually advised to avoid them at all cost to prevent triggering of mood swings.