How to Help Someone With Bipolar Disorder | NAMI

How to Help Someone With Bipolar Disorder

Posted on May 10, 2021

People with bipolar disorder experience dramatic changes in emotion, mood and energy, sometimes all in the same day. “It’s like a roller coaster ride —& I’m different day to day and hour to hour,” says Nicole, 30, of Denver, CO who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder six years ago. “I have periods when I’m very creative and outgoing — people describe me as being more attractive and alluring. I have a higher sex drive, and I do a lot of writing and artwork. But then I slip into a depressive state, and it feels like being in wet cement. I just want to curl up in the fetal position and sleep all day.” Be flexible with plans: When you’re scheduling something with a friend who is struggling, “give him the choice to participate or not,” says Katrina Gay, CDO of NAMI. Understand that if he does come with you, he may have to leave early, and that it might be really hard for him to make any long-term commitments.


NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).