How to Cope With Bipolar Coworkers

1.

Research the disorder. Even today, many mental disorders carry a stigma. This is particularly detrimental to individuals with bipolar disorder because a healthy and supportive work environment is necessary to reduce stress, a trigger for causing episodes of depression and mania. By understanding the disorder, coworkers will have less tendency to take characteristic behaviors, such as lethargy, personally. Moreover, coworkers will be less inclined to think that because an individual has bipolar disorder, he or she cannot be a bright and productive member of the work force. Remember, many successful people have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, including Jim Carey, Ludwig Von Beethoven, Ted Turner, and Theodore Roosevelt.

2.

Encourage your coworker to receive treatment. Medication is a critical component of any bipolar disorder treatment plan. Medications, known as mood stabilizers, help control the dramatic mood shifts, according to the Mayo Clinic. Lithium is one of the more popular medications used to treat bipolar disorder, though there are several commonly used medications. Reducing the number of these mood swings, as well as their intensity, can make life significantly easier on coworkers.

3.

Obtain emergency information. If you are close to a coworker who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, encourage him to provide you with emergency contact information, including the numbers of his family members, doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists, as well as any information about what medications he may be taking. Knowing this information can help assure that he gets the right treatment in an emergency situation.

4.

React to suicide threats. In 2003 and 2004, nearly half of all suicides were committed by people who suffered from a mental disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moreover, 7.4\% of these individuals suffered from a documented diagnoses of bipolar disorder. If your coworker is threatening to commit suicide, you should take it seriously and encourage the individual to seek immediate medical attention.

Bipolar disorder is a disorder that causes the victim to experience extreme shifts between mania and depression. The disorder is severe, and symptoms can lead to a host of problems, including suicide, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The symptoms of bipolar disorder often make life difficult on friends, family, and coworkers. However, there are ways to cope with coworkers who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.