Written by Kelly Couture, MEd, LPC-S

It is suggested that about 1% (2.3 million people) have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in the United States. Bipolar Disorder is considered a “Serious and Persistent Mental Illness” (SPMI) but is able to be treated with medications prescribed by a qualified medical professional versed in psychiatric medications. 

During the Springtime each year, people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder are historically more susceptible to having a manic or mixed-manic episode as well as increased levels of suicide attempts. Some feel this may be due to a shift in the circadian rhythm that occurs in Spring and with the time change and increased amounts of sunshine. The phenomenon has been noted across the globe when Winter turns into Spring. 

Here are some things you can do preemptively if you have Bipolar Disorder when Spring arrives:

  1. Check in with your mental health professionals early and often to ensure they are able to effectively monitor your mood.
  2. Ask people within your support system to keep an eye on any changes in mood or behavior in case you are not aware of feeling differently.
  3. Make sure to take your psychiatric medications as prescribed by your qualified medical professional. Do not skip doses and do not stop taking your medications even if you feel well.
  4. Practice good self care. Continue to engage in life in ways that will keep your mind and body as healthy as possible. Eat nutritious foods and try to stay on a consistent schedule, especially your sleep schedule.
  5. Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  6. Always call 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Department if you are experiencing thoughts of self harm or harm to others.

When one is more informed about their Bipolar Disorder, the better the outcome. Keeping a healthy lifestyle and maintaining adherence to medications and mental health provider visits, as well as utilizing your support system, are ways that you may be able to live with less complications of your Bipolar Disorder. And, the more likely you are to enjoy the beautiful sunshine.

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