PTSD and Bipolar: 5 Ways to Take Charge and Find Relief.

Do you have PTSD and bipolar disorder? 

How are you doing? Are you struggling to find relief?

Do you wonder how you can manage the two together?

Do you long to find more freedom in life?

Please know that you are not alone.

In fact, it’s often the case that PTSD and bipolar exist together. Experts note that the experience is fairly common:

“Most patients who have bipolar disorder have a coexisting anxiety disorder. These include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia, panic disorder, and PTSD.”

(Lohano K., MD El-mallakh R.S, MD September 06, 2011 retrieved from

To manage your situation well, there are important things to know about the relationship between PTSD and bipolar. Explore them with me, then we’ll look at some suggestions to help you feel more in charge of it all.
1. Meds Make a Difference
Taking medication for bipolar can also treat PTSD.

It is important to work closely with a psychiatrist you trust. Speak up about your past history. Be sure to share how each medication is working for you as well. If you are against medication, be sure to discuss this with your psychiatrist. They are there to help you feel your best and get you what you need. In my experience as a psychotherapist, medication stabilizes the brain chemistry making PTSD treatment more effective.

2. Keep your Peace
Keeping your PTSD triggers quiet will help the bipolar stay calm.

One way to do this is to establish a safe environment. Sometimes people with PTSD have trouble feeling safe, even when they are. Find ways to remind yourself:

1) you are a trauma survivor.

2) you are not being harmed now.

Feeling unsafe can cause a downward spiral that could lead to a dangerous outcome, such as numbing out with substances or suicidal thoughts.

3. Remain Cool, Calm, and Consistent
Maintaining routines and doing enjoyable activities helps keep brain chemistry happy and stress low.

Yes, I know you’ve probably heard this a million times, but it’s true. Consistency is king. Routine bedtimes, exercise and movement, diet and pleasurable activities keep you grounded.

It may be tempting to look at other people who don’t maintain a routine and think, “If they can do it, so can I.” Don’t believe it! This step is simple but crucial. Many people overlook it and pay the price.

4. Don’t Forget that People with PTSD and Bipolar Need Other People
Talking to someone who understands both conditions is vital and protects against isolation.

Find a companion, online group, or therapist. People who listen without giving too much advice, or have similar issues, are invaluable. When you share your struggles, you learn quickly that you are not alone. Allow yourself some support, and you’ll discover new ways to take charge of your life.

5. Express and Accept Yourself
Staying committed to positive self-talk helps you move forward.

I’m not saying you have to be sunshine and roses all the time. You definitely get to have your emotions and feel them to their fullest. What I am saying is, there is a difference between expressing emotions and being generally negative about your life.

Surround yourself with optimistic, positive people. Why? Because the old saying, “misery loves company,” is often very true. This step will help you live life lighter and be free of the emotional heaviness that comes with complaints and regrets. Do you find you still need extra support? That’s perfectly okay. Reach out to a therapist for unconditional acceptance, understanding, and compassion.

PTSD and bipolar combined, present some significant obstacles. It’s true.

But, with the right tools and the right support, you are likely to find that you can rise to each challenge and ultimately thrive.

If you would like some extra support and are looking for a psychotherapist, please contact me here for a free 30-minute consultation to learn about how I can be of service. 

To find out more about my services click here: PTSD Treatment

About The Author

April Lyons, MA, LPC is a somatic psychotherapist and currently owns a private practice in Boulder, CO. She specializes in PTSD, eating disorders and child counseling. April is trained in EMDR Therapy, Trauma Informed Care, and is certified as a Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapist. To find out more about April click herePsychotherapy Boulder.



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