Isolation and Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a very serious mental condition that causes a person to move between times of deep depression and brief periods of mania. Previously known as manic-depression, this condition affects millions of people of all ages, ethnicities and walks of life. If left untreated, it can lead to a wide range of painful and even life-threatening repercussions, including the following:

  • Substance abuse
  • Broken relationships
  • Loss of employment
  • Compulsive or risky behaviors
  • Poor life choices
  • Addiction
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

While there is no known cure for bipolar disorder, there are many treatments that have proven to be highly effective in managing the symptoms and minimizing the effects. An important aspect of bipolar management is learning to identify triggers than can bring on depressive spells.

Isolation and Depression

Personal isolation is one of the most powerful triggers of depression. Many bipolar people tend to unconsciously isolate themselves from friends and loved ones from time to time. This isolation fuels feelings of sadness and reduces feelings of optimism. Some examples of personal isolation include the following:

  • Choosing not to attend parties or social gatherings
  • Not returning calls
  • Spending too much time watching television or playing video games
  • Staying indoors
  • Skipping activities such as church or other outings
  • Sleeping too much

Depressed individuals can feel isolated in the middle of a crowd of people who love them and care deeply about them. One of the most important coping skills for a bipolar person to cultivate is the recognition of early signs of isolating tendencies as possible triggers for depression.

Once these triggers are identified, the individual can then act consciously to prevent that result. Some activities that can help a person avoid isolation include the following:

  • Getting up on time each morning and leaving home, even if the individual has nowhere specific to be
  • Getting involved with social groups, such as book clubs, church groups or outdoor activity clubs
  • Calling friends and loved ones on the phone
  • Using social networking sites, such as Facebook or Instagram, in moderation to stay in touch with friends
  • Finding ways to serve others

While simply getting involved with activities may not be enough to completely eliminate depression, it will certainly help individuals keep the worst effects of bipolar disorder at bay.