Impulsivity as a symptom of bipolar disorder has many negative risks; here are five ideas to keep control:
#1 Limit the risks
If you know that impulsivity manifests as overspending money when you’re manic, then only carry a limited amount of cash with you and cut up your credit cards. Or if you can’t control yourself around alcohol, make sure there is none in the house. When you know you’re in the midst of an episode, decline an invitation from friends for a night on the town.
#2 Know your weak points
The initial and perhaps most important step is to look deep inside yourself and realize where your weak points are. Are there situations that make impulsive behaviors harder to resist? Or maybe a certain person brings out your wild side. When do you regret your behavior most often? Only by honestly recognizing your triggers for impulsivity can you find a solution for avoiding or at least preparing for such events.
#3 Get another view
Knowing yourself and realizing what triggers your impulsive reactions is important, but it can also be helpful to ask those people you trust in your life to offer their perspective on these actions. Be cautious though because there could be friends, for example, that enjoy and are entertained by your impulsivity; however, you, not them, have to live with the consequences.
#4 Reach out
Ask the help from people you trust the most—your family and friends—who don’t judge you for your impulsive behaviors of the past. Most people will want the best for you and will be happy to be a member of your supportive treatment team. Consider seeking advice from your therapist or medical professional; medication and therapy can be helpful.
#5 Have a plan in place
Equally important as being aware of the warning signs is having a comprehensive plan in place to head off irrational decisions before they even occur. For instance, if a person with bipolar disorder has an investment portfolio, it’s prudent to work with a trustworthy financial adviser or broker. Work out a detailed overview of financial goals and develop a plan and the reasonable steps needed to attain those objectives.