More than half of people with bipolar also have anxiety disorder. Just as symptoms overlap, so do coping techniques. Here are six to try today.
#1 Get adequate sleep
Sleep irregularities can have a negative impact on people with bipolar disorder even between mood episodes. Try to follow a regular sleep/wake schedule, avoid alcohol and caffeine prior to bed, keep your bedroom dark and leave electronic devices out of the room.
#2 Increase physical activity
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Beneficial changes occur in the brain following regular exercise and can relieve anxiety or elevate a depressed mood. Studies suggest that even a 10-minute brisk walk may be as good as a long workout to relieve anxiety. If you are not currently physically active, talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
#3 Put down the coffee
Cutting out coffee, or any caffeine for that matter, can help reduce mood swings. Toronto psychiatrist Ayal Schaffer notes that cutting back on caffeine, often recommended for people with bipolar, seems to play an important role in reducing anxiety symptoms. Caffeine is known to cause insomina, which in turn, can help trigger or escalate mania or hypomania.
#4 Practice mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness meditation–stepping outside our regular internal dialogue and simply paying attention–has been shown to improve a broad range of emotional and physical ailments. Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) can been helpful in learning to quiet racing thoughts, say experts.
#5 Deal with self-limiting behavior
When anxiety leads to avoiding social interactions and other fear-provoking situations, sometimes doing the very thing you’re afraid of is the best response. Psychiatrist Ayal Schaffer recommends a similar approach to combat isolation: “Plan at least one activity each day in which you speak to another person, ideally in the morning. Email or text doesn’t count!”
#6 Become your own advocate to receive the best care
Treatment providers are not created equally. “…recent research makes clear that seeking out a good therapist can have powerful effects beyond a mood stabilizer in treating bipolar depression and helping prevent relapse,” says Boston University psychology professor Michael Otto, PhD.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community