When we think of bipolar disorder, we naturally focus on the individual with the illness and their emotions, whether those be anger or rage. It’s not often we stop to think about all the challenges their bipolar loved ones face, outside of their anger or rage.
Constantly wondering if those around you are going to feel anger or even be mad at you can be uncomfortable. This anger especially can be intimidating.
You may feel like you’re losing a part of yourself and wonder if the relationship is worth fighting for. You feel intimidated, scared, or hurt. But before you lose all hope, find out what you can do to interact with someone who experiences bipolar anger.
NOTE: If bipolar anger has ever caused you or someone you love to become the victim of abuse, reach out to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline.
Bipolar disorder is a common mental health condition that causes people to experience extreme shifts in mood and behavior. These mood swings can occur without warning and may severely impact the individual’s life.
Unpredictable behavior patterns can make it difficult to carry out day-to-day tasks. Those patterns may also affect the individual’s energy and activity levels. People experiencing the symptoms of bipolar disorder often go through polar opposite phases, meaning they’re either “up” or “down.”
During the “up” times, they’re full of energy and can give the appearance of being “overly happy” and easily excited. On the flip side, the “down” times come with extreme lethargy, apathy, and anger. Psychologists know these lows as depressive episodes.
Emotions are a normal aspect of human life. We experience them every day as we swim through the ebb and flow. But people who experience the symptoms of bipolar disorder feel these mood swings more intensely and unpredictably.
Moreover, their moods don’t shift as quickly as some people think. There’s a long period of high or mania in most cases, followed by an equally long period of low or depression. Anxiety, low self-esteem, irritability, and paranoia are often tagalongs. And untreated bipolar disorder may also lead to bouts of rage and anger.
Bipolar anger is not like normal, healthy anger. Like happiness and sadness, anger is a perfectly natural reaction to meaningful or upsetting experiences. However, bipolar anger is different because it’s not always caused by external events and is less easily controlled.
With bipolar anger, seemingly small things can trigger a big reaction. Little stimulants that might otherwise be handled more calmly get processed through anger instead. And something that wouldn’t normally make someone mad might make a person with bipolar anger symptoms lash out irrationally. This could manifest as angry outbursts or emotional meltdowns.
Thus, being in a relationship or living with someone who experiences bipolar anger can be extremely difficult. Due to the volatile nature of their anger, maintaining healthy communication may prove impossible. So, if you’re in a relationship with someone who experiences bipolar anger, remind yourself that it’s not easy for anyone.
At times, your loved one may even recognize that their anger is unwarranted. Yet, the intense emotions are still impossible to control, especially during a depressive episode. The best thing you can do for your relationship and your mental health is to learn how to recognize bipolar anger. Then, develop the tools to respond in a productive and supportive way.
Both you and your partner may develop unhealthy coping mechanisms in response. For example:
Some people may be tempted to use alcohol or drugs to numb their emotions. Substance abuse usually starts with small acts, such as wanting or needing a glass of wine at the end of a bad day. And while drinking wine is fine, using it to cope with a rocky relationship can be a slippery slope.
Mood-altering substances seldom improve the situation. Circumstances can become even harder to manage as well. So, if you or your loved one has turned to drugs or alcohol to cope, seek help through the American Addiction Centers immediately.
Disconnecting with the people and things you love is common when bipolar anger is in the picture. Most people can only put up with someone’s uncontrolled fury for so long before they have to disconnect. This can cause major rifts in your personal and professional life.
Putting some space between you and an uncontrollably angry person may be wise, but complete isolation is not. That habit may perpetuate the problem or make it even worse. In this case, the smartest solution is counseling from a licensed mental health therapist.
You and your loved one may cope by overspending or overcompensating in another way. The angry one may feel guilty and try to win back the other’s affection through material means. Overspending may also be the result of trying to fill a proverbial hole in your heart.
Spending money to cheer yourself up may make you feel better for a moment. But living beyond your means will only cause more problems and stress. Nothing you can buy will address the negative feelings and confusion you’re experiencing. Get professional help instead.
Some relationships that orbit around bipolar anger symptoms can turn abusive, and that’s not okay. Neither is just dealing with abuse to keep the peace. There needs to be mutual respect and understanding despite any underlying, undiagnosed, or untreated mental health conditions.
Meanwhile, abuse can take many forms. It can be physical, mental, emotional, financial, sexual, or verbal. Here’s how to tell the difference:
Remember, having a mental illness is not an excuse to be abusive. If you or your loved one becomes violent or cruel, seek help right away.
Interacting with someone who experiences the symptoms of bipolar anger can be challenging. So first, practice healthy coping skills to avoid the common pitfalls discussed above. As you begin to understand your loved one’s condition better, you’ll also learn to anticipate and manage their anger.
In the meantime, here are a dozen quick strategies to help you cope until you can find a therapist:
Furthermore, be sure your loved one takes any medication prescribed by their doctor. This is important even if your loved one isn’t experiencing symptoms at the moment. And remember, their anger is not about you.
If possible, talk about the situation to trusted family and friends. See if anyone knows about a particular strategy to help soothe this individual. You can look for affordable resources in your community as well. Whatever the case, never feel guilty for prioritizing self-care and find a licensed therapist as soon as you can.
Although bipolar disorder can never be cured, it can be treated and managed with proper care and commitment. Treatments generally include counseling, medication, self-care, and anger management training. Couples, family, individual, and groups therapies are used as well.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who experiences bipolar anger, help is available. You are not alone, and neither is your loved one. BetterHelp therapists understand the extraordinary impact it has on an individual their relationships. Today is the day you learn how to interact with someone who experiences bipolar anger.
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Date of review: September 22, 2021
Katrina B is amazing! She focuses on working through your traumas, anxieties, fears, and history to reach the healthy and peaceful mindset that we all try to find. The only way to truly heal is through yourself, and, with her methods, you are given every tool you need to dig yourself out of whatever hole life’s thrown you down into. I am forever grateful for the guidance, friendly ear, patience, and joy Katrina constantly brings to every session. Thank you, Katrina!!!
Bipolar rage is a symptom of bipolar disorder. It’s also difficult for someone experiencing it to control. This rage is characterized by extreme rage, self-harm, violence, impulsiveness, intense or erratic behaviors, and explosive reactions. Customized therapy is often needed to cope or treat the symptoms. Seek help immediately if self-harm or violence is involved.
Calming down someone who is experiencing bipolar symptoms of rage can be difficult. That’s because the person experiencing those symptoms may not have the coping skills to manage their angry emotions. Always encourage individual counseling to learn better communication techniques. Meanwhile, redirect their attention to more positive things, offer support, and give them the space they need to feel better.
NOTE: Make sure they’re taking any medications as prescribed by their doctor, even if they’re not experiencing symptoms.
People experiencing the symptoms of bipolar disorder or bipolar emotions can fall in love and maintain healthy romantic relationships. That is if they learn how to properly cope with their angry outbursts and mood swings before there’s a negative impact on their personal life. Love, as pure and unbridled emotion, is well within their wheelhouse. But it’s how they react to it that may cause debate.
If the damage is already done, professional help may be necessary to mend fences. People with this mental health condition are urged to seek therapy for a long, happy, healthy life. Medical professionals often recommend a combination of medications and psychotherapies to treat bipolar disorder and its many symptoms.
Bipolar disorder can be debilitating and difficult to live with like any other mental illness. So, it’s important to interact sensitively with people who experience the symptoms. Remember, nobody chooses to have a mental health condition. It’s not their fault, and your language should reflect that. So, here are the things you should never say:
Most of those statements either vilify the person or minimize their symptoms. Neither approach is very helpful. Seek therapy to communicate more effectively.
Talk to a bipolar person the same way you would anyone else but be mindful of their condition and triggers. Always treat them with dignity and respect, even when they’re angry. Your kind and supportive demeanor may help to calm them down. So, use positive language and learn to observe before reacting. Talk to a licensed therapist for help.
What triggers a bipolar episode?
Many different things can trigger bipolar disorder symptoms and angry episodes. Each person’s reaction to stimuli is unique. However, most individuals experience bipolar rage and mood swings during specific times. Stress, fear, overwhelming emotions, and anxiety can kick off the highs or lows associated with this disorder. Calm and stable environments are ideal for managing moods and coping with symptoms. Seek professional help if episodes become unpredictable or uncontrollable.
Can a bipolar person live a normal life?
With the right support systems, a person with bipolar disorder can and should live a healthy, happy life. Advocacy from friends, family, and coworkers is essential. Interactions need to be positive and uplifting, not condemning and controlling. Furthermore, it’s important to speak with a licensed mental health professional to learn healthy coping skills. Also, people with bipolar disorder symptoms should take all medications prescribed by their doctor and actively work to avoid triggers.
How do you get a bipolar person to seek help?
It may not be easy to convince someone with bipolar disorder or the symptoms to seek professional help. Society still places a stigma on mental illness, which may deter some people from talking about it or admitting they experience symptoms. So, it would help if you spoke honestly about the pros and cons of therapy while also discussing what to expect.
Please make sure the person with bipolar disorder understands they have a treatable medical condition. Like a physical illness, their diagnosis may require medication and psychotherapeutic attention. Let them make the final call and dictate how their therapy will occur. Suggest online counseling to help protect their privacy and manage manic symptoms.
Does this Disorder cause aggression?
The assumption that psychiatric patients are dangerous people is wrong. People who experience the symptoms of or have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder are often misunderstood. While the disorder may cause extreme mood swings and angry outbursts, it does not make someone innately aggressive.
Aggression is most commonly associated with bipolar episodes, not natural conduct. That is to say, BP patients are more prone to agitation and impulsivity, and it’s sometimes unpredictable and uncontrollable. Those symptoms can attribute to a higher risk of risky and violent behavior. Moreover, the risks are often greater if mental health therapy isn’t sought.
How do you deal with this rage?
Getting mental health services from a licensed therapist is key. Managing bipolar disorder symptoms and interacting with someone who experiences them can be challenging. Bipolar rage results from a serious mental health condition, and it deserves an appropriate professional intervention.
Continuous support may be needed to minimize the symptoms and episodes. Support from peers, family, and friends is also important. Work together to identify triggers and mitigate the responses. Attend individual counseling sessions and be open to group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and psychoactive medication.
If given medication, always take it as prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking it because you feel better or experience fewer episodes. Never abuse your medications either, as that may lead to an adverse reaction or chemical dependence. If you have been using unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with bipolar rage, seek help immediately. The American Addiction Centers and the Domestic Violence Hotline are two great places to start.
In the meantime, research online mental health counseling and learn some self-soothing techniques. Consider making some lifestyle adjustments as well. A change of scenery, a new job, or a new friend group can go a long way toward reducing your stress and mitigating the frequency of bipolar rage. Mindful meditation and exercising may, for some people, work too.
Can they truly love?
A person who has bipolar disorder can truly love someone else. However, they may struggle to demonstrate their emotions in healthy, predictable, or acceptable ways. Bipolar disorder may also cause sudden emotional outbursts and manic episodes involving extreme highs and lows. Plus, people who experience the symptoms of bipolar disorder or bipolar anger may have low self-esteem or poor social skills.
This is especially true if that individual’s condition is undiagnosed or left untreated. Bipolar mood shifts can be a challenge for couples to manage, even with necessary therapies in place. Though bipolar disorder symptoms can be effectively mitigated with medication and therapies, they may still affect a romantic bond. So, get help from a licensed mental health counselor specializing in bipolar disorder and relationships.
Can they live without medication?
Medication for bipolar disorder isn’t always necessary. Many times, individualized therapies can do wonders where pharmaceuticals fail. Treatment plans are generally defined with a team to give the patient as much control as possible. Then, progress is monitored, and dosages are adjusted as needed.
Meanwhile, many psychoactive medications are used in tandem with psychotherapies. Patients may take medicine to balance their brain chemistry, alleviate pain, or manage other symptoms. However, pharmaceuticals may hinder some people’s coping ability, so pay attention to the side effects.
Also, it’s important not to abruptly stop taking your medicine even if you stop experiencing symptoms. Bipolar disorder is manageable without drugs. But getting help from a licensed mental health therapist is still highly recommended.
Can they work?
The mood swings associated with bipolar disorder may be challenging to manage. Personal, social, and professional ramifications of unpredictable and uncontrollable episodes are common. Those and other symptoms may affect a person’s demeanor and performance in the workplace. However, people who experience BP symptoms can still hold down a job and maintain healthy relationships.
Success is all about approaching mental health with knowledge and compassion. Understand that this mental illness is treatable, not curable. Thus, keeping a job while managing bipolar disorder symptoms often requires therapy, medication, or a combination of both. At the very least, good coping skills and updated information on mental health can help.
Furthermore, people who actively manage bipolar disorder symptoms should choose flexible jobs. Careers compliment personality traits, abilities, and attributes can boost self-esteem and decrease triggers. For more guidance, sync with a therapist who specializes in bipolar disorder.
Can they live a normal life?
Bipolar disorder does not have to define a person or the quality of their life. It may affect how someone does things or handles stress, but a diagnosis doesn’t guarantee an abnormal existence. Life can be relatively normal despite this mental illness. With the right coping skills, adequate support from loved ones, and therapy with a licensed mental health expert, people who experience bipolar disorder symptoms can live their best life.