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Someone holding their hands to their face with eyes closed dealing with stress.

How Stress Impacts Bipolar Disorder

Most of us are aware that stress can be harmful to our mental wellbeing. While some stress is an essential incentive pushing us to do better and succeed, prolonged periods of stress can aggravate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other preexisting mental health conditions. Individuals with bipolar disorder who are stressed in particular are at a high risk of relapsing into either a manic or depressive episode when exposed to high levels of stress.

If you or a loved one lives with bipolar disorder, read our article below to learn more about how bipolar disorder and stress tolerance are connected. Contact our team at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy today to find out what we can do to help you manage those highs and lows.

The Definition of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized by extreme highs and lows in mood and ways of thinking. At its peak, individuals with bipolar disorder will experience a manic episode, which can result in impulsive and sometimes destructive behavior and restlessness. At its low, individuals with bipolar disorder endure depressive episodes that can cause feelings of hopelessness, lethargy, and even suicidal contemplation.

Bipolar disorder is often diagnosed in your young adult years. The combination of bipolar disorder and the stressful conditions surrounding adolescence can often leave the person undiagnosed and untreated, which only worsens the condition.

Some symptoms of this disorder can appear similar to stress and include:

Mania

  • High energy
  • Rapid speech
  • Reckless behaviors
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Lack of focus
  • Unrealistic grandiose thoughts

Depression

  • Low energy
  • Lethargy
  • Weight gain
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Irritability
  • Lack of focus
  • Suicidal thoughts

Rapid mood swings can also occur, as well as episodes that blend symptoms of both mania and depression. However, with the proper treatment and the support of loved ones, people with bipolar disorder can live long and fulfilling lives.

Does Bipolar Disorder Get Worse with Stress?

People with bipolar disorder handle stress differently. Similar to other mental health conditions that one’s ability to function, bipolar disorder often results in lower stress tolerance.

Most of us have experienced situations where stress and bad news just seems to keep piling up. To top it off, individuals in our community with mental illness already have to adapt to environments that rarely cater to their needs. What may seem like an easy task for the average person comes with a new set of challenges for people with bipolar disorder. Living with a mental illness is already difficult, but when you add that additional stress that may result from illness, relationships, or financial troubles, this can leave anyone depressed or erratic. Since individuals with bipolar disorder already live with these tendencies, they are more prone to depressive and manic episodes because of it.

Bipolar disorder and stress can also affect how you interpret things around you. What may seem like no big deal to one person can be detrimental to people with bipolar disorder. This can worsen the symptoms of a depressive episode and contribute to feelings of worthlessness. Even worse, due to the stigma that people with mental illnesses face, getting help to cope with stress may be triggering on its own. Being too anxious to seek help rarely results in the person getting the assistance they need.

How Stress Can Trigger a Bipolar Episode

Bipolar disorder and stress share a very symbiotic relationship. While everyone reacts differently, most of us who are stressed have experienced things like sleep loss, self-neglect, accidental isolation, and even illness.

A person pouring coffee into a precariously perched mug.

Lack of sleep lowers your natural mental and physical defenses and leaves you more susceptible to disease and depression. When someone with bipolar disorder and a low stress tolerance doesn’t get the rest they need, this can result in a relapse. Self-care is also essential and includes proper hygiene, eating well, exercising, and being kind to yourself. If you’re stressed, you may think that you don’t have time for these things and may leave yourself running ragged and feeling poorly. People with bipolar disorder and other mental conditions may also feel like they don’t deserve good things like an hour to unwind or a relaxing bath because the stress is somehow linked to their own inability to act.

Times of turmoil can also cause people who are bipolar and stressed to self-isolate. Dealing with life’s stressors is difficult, and doing so while thinking you’re alone can be even more traumatizing.

Reaching out for support through friends and medical professionals is vital because of the fact bipolar disorder gets worse with stress. Your support network can help keep you grounded and prevent you from spiraling into a relapse. Stress also takes a physical toll on the body that can leave you prone to illness. Medical bills, time taken off of work, and a disruption in your schedule might be all that’s needed for the stress to cause a bipolar relapse.

Managing Stress and Relapses with Miami Hypnosis and Therapy

Life comes with its many highs and lows, but for people living with bipolar disorder, these ups and downs are even more disruptive. Luckily, Miami Hypnosis and Therapy is here to help.

Through the guidance of our lead mental health professional, Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M., we can help you navigate your triggers and develop new coping strategies when it comes to bipolar disorder and stress. We employ a blended approach consisting of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy, and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) that can benefit people with bipolar disorder and low stress tolerance.

Let us help you find balance in your life. Contact Miami Hypnosis and Therapy today to schedule your first consultation.

Man leaning against a wall while sitting holding a journal

Getting Support for Narcissistic Abuse & Help for NPD

Support is essential for anyone living with a mental illness. It helps ground the person by preventing them from engaging in dangerous behaviors and reeling them back from destructive ways of thinking. Unfortunately, supporting these loved ones is not always easy and should never come at the expense of your own wellbeing.

If you or someone you know has a person in their life living with a narcissistic family member, you may already be aware of the struggles you or that person may face.

Narcissistic abuse support can help caretakers and loved ones of people with NPD come to terms with and understand their condition while still setting boundaries.

Learn more about how NPD manifests, what living with a narcissist may look like, signs of abuse, and where you or your loved ones can get help for individuals with narcissistic personality disorder. Through family or individual therapy, Miami Hypnosis and Therapy can create an individualized plan to help you find balance in your life. Contact us today for more information on our approach to narcissistic abuse support.

NPD, like other mental health conditions, provides a unique set of challenges for the person living with the disorder. People who are diagnosed as narcissistic tend to focus primarily on themselves and the idealized image they have of who they are. This inflated sense of self can be the result of insecurity and lack of self-love. However, when challenged or forced to face criticism that doesn’t align with their self-image, they might lash out in order to protect themselves.

Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder may also act out in dysfunctional ways due to their self-centric behavior. They often rely on positive affirmation from the people around them in order to maintain a superior self-image and respond poorly when this need is not met.

Help for narcissistic personality disorder requires a formal diagnosis from a licensed mental health professional. After reviewing symptoms and coming back with a positive diagnosis, treatment typically involves therapeutic counseling.

Living with a Narcissistic Family Member

All areas of a narcissist’s life are affected by their condition. The need for narcissistic abuse support stems from the fact that loved ones with NPD can come across as demanding and selfish. Arrogance and a lack of empathy can make living with this person a challenge, especially when their inflated self-image affects your own sense of self. Working and romantic relationships can also be difficult, as the person with NPD will be unable to see a problem with their dysfunctional behavior and may blame problems on others instead of self-reflecting.

Other issues that may arise from living with someone with NPD are extreme reactions to perceived slights. Because their focus is primarily on themselves, any criticism may be taken as a personal attack. This distorted thinking—without narcissistic abuse support—can leave the people around them in a constant state of exhaustion from walking on eggshells to avoid retaliation. The result is often a one-sided relationship where one person is constantly feeding into the narcissist’s demands for admiration while being too afraid to oppose their sense of entitlement.

Watching for Signs of Abuse

Abuse takes many forms with some being easier to recognize. Physical abuse like hitting, punching, or kicking are more obvious ones that may result in visible marks that are harder to discredit. While we cannot see whether or not mental, emotional, or sexual abuse is occurring in a relationship, that doesn’t make it any less real or its side effects less damaging.

If you have a narcissistic family member or loved one, you should seek help from a narcissistic abuse support network if you are suffering from any of the following. These are all common signs of abuse and cannot be taken lightly. Seeking support before things become unmanageable is the best way to ensure your own happiness as well as your ability to be there for others if you so choose.

An individual looking down with wind in their hair

  • Unwanted name-calling or derogatory language—These all fall under the category of bullying, which is something people with NPD may fall back on in order to assert their worth. By belittling others, they can maintain their feelings of superiority over that person. Finding proper narcissistic abuse support may be necessary in order to determine the severity and risk of this type of verbal abuse to one’s wellbeing.
  • Excessive punishment—We’re all capable of giving someone the cold shoulder when we’re angry with them. However, people with NPD tend to take this up a notch when their demands are not met by another person. Aggression and the silent treatment may be taken to extremes in order to make the object of their focus feel guilty.
  • Exploitation—Asking for help from others is fine, but there is a line between providing assistance and being exploited. Exploitation typically involves extreme, one-sided demands with little care for the other person’s wellbeing and how these demands may affect them. This can be asking for large sums of money and other inconvenient favors. Oftentimes, it requires the help of a narcissistic abuse support network to realize how outrageous these exploitative requests may be.
  • Gaslighting—People with NPD often exude confidence and authority, even if they haven’t earned it. This is part of the reason why many narcissistic family members are capable of persuading you to think one thing and doubt yourself. This tactic, called gaslighting, can cause self-doubt and leave the sufferer unable to recognize themselves. A person who works with a narcissist may point out that they need to pull their own weight on a project. When the narcissist denies this observation and calls their teammates judgment into question, they are gaslighting the other person.

Getting Help for Individuals and Families Living with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Miami Hypnosis and Therapy offers narcissistic abuse support as well as individual counseling for narcissistic family members. Learn how to draw boundaries and protect your own mental health by utilizing our team of licensed professionals trained in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy, and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Under the guidance of Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M., we can get you and your loved ones the help they need to thrive while living with narcissistic personality disorder.

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