9 Minutes

Edited & clinically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
Fact checked

Anger is commonly overlooked as a symptom of bipolar disorder, even though it often accompanies both manic and depressive moods. While living with someone who experiences this mood fluctuation more often, the high amount of instability associated with it can get exhausting for the caregivers. Another challenge in this context is that most of these bipolar individuals lack understanding and insight into the severity of their problem and, therefore, refuse to seek treatment.

Suppose you are in a relationship with someone who is bipolar and frequently difficult to deal with, especially when they are exhibiting bipolar anger. In that case, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and start doubting the relationship’s worth. However, before you completely give up hope, continue reading to know how to deal with someone who is bipolar and angry.

Anger is a common response to many life situations, but it does become problematic when it starts occurring frequently and interferes with the quality of life. The chemical imbalances and structural differences associated with bipolar disorder greatly contribute to the emotional dysregulation and consequent exaggerated physiological responses linked with anger. As a result, many people with bipolar disorder find it difficult to control their outbursts.

For someone with a diagnosis of bipolar, even minor incidents can trigger angry outbursts. Small things that would normally not provoke rage may result in passionate breakdowns and outbursts. Such people may even become enraged in the absence of an external cause, and their responses can be exhausting, especially for those around them.

Being in a relationship with someone who frequently experiences bipolar anger can be extremely hard due to the unpredictability that comes with it. But when these emotions start to get a hold of you, remember that it is equally difficult for your loved one to be in this position too. These patients may very well acknowledge that their anger is not justified but may not be able to suppress it due to the nature of their underlying diagnosis.

Unexpected mood fluctuations and activities are the hallmarks of bipolar disorder. These mood episodes are intrinsic to bipolar disorder and often appear unpredictable and spontaneous; however, certain triggers may also initiate them. Identifying these triggers is possible when an easygoing individual suddenly starts to grow irritable. You may also consider looking for signs of an impending shift to depression or mania based on certain triggers.

Spotting triggers for bipolar disorder and the associated anger outbursts can be extremely helpful for devising a suitable treatment plan. It also helps to know what to expect from these episodes and seek necessary resources when your loved one goes through this challenging time. Following are some early signs and triggers precipitating bipolar rage:

Changes in sleep routines

Sleep disruption is one of the most powerful triggers for depressive episodes and sudden mood shifts. Evidence suggests that it is also the most commonly reported trigger of a mood episode in people with bipolar disorder.

Substance use

Alcohol and drug use for recreational purposes is quite common and can easily lead to bipolar rage. While heavy, long-term substance use is of great concern for such people, even casual and occasional use can trigger anger outbursts in some by causing an imbalance in the brain’s neurochemistry.


The death of a loved one can be difficult and extremely traumatic for anyone involved, even those who do not suffer from a mental health problem. For people with bipolar disorder, grief can bring significant mental changes, increasing the risk of rage.

Relationship issues

Any extent of friction in a relationship can lead to stress, forcing a person with bipolar disorder to undergo a mood episode. As per research, problematic interpersonal interactions are among the top events that spark anger and even suicidal thoughts in patients with bipolar disorder.

Regardless of what triggers a bipolar person to develop anger, the issue remains: what to do when a bipolar person gets angry?

Learning different coping mechanisms and practising them with your bipolar spouse can help maintain overall happiness in relationships. Once you have acquired a profound knowledge of the association between anger and bipolar disorder, you will eventually learn to foresee the anger and, with some practice, know how to respond appropriately.

Until then, the following are some techniques to cope with bipolar anger.

Accept their limitations

Your partner, friend, or family member with bipolar disorder can sometimes fail to manage their temperament. They may experience extreme reactions, making it hard to find balance. Hence, it’s unrealistic to expect such individuals to immediately snap out of an angry outburst and regain emotional balance in the middle of a manic episode.

Practice ways to calm them

You understand their triggers, emotions, and moods when you have lived long enough with a bipolar spouse. This can make you capable of sensing their escalating anger levels in time, providing an opportunity to take action before the situation worsens. Experiment with different methods until you find the best and the most effective ones.

You may ask your loved ones what they need the most during stressful times like these to calm their anger. For instance, some people de-escalate an anger outburst from their loved ones by removing them from the situation. If your loved one is already in treatment, consider discussing various calming techniques with their therapist as a part of family therapy.

Make sure they are regular with medication

The treatment for bipolar disorder often involves medication, yet many fail to comply with regular use. A lot of them stop using medications altogether the moment they start feeling better. In such circumstances, the caregivers must do their best to encourage their loved ones to continue taking their meds. Talk to them about habit tracking, accountability, and other ways to meet their goals and achieve recovery.

Communicate honestly

Open and honest communication is a must in dealing with bipolar disease in a loved one. As a caregiver, express your worries and concerns in a caring manner. Don’t forget to enquire how your loved one is feeling and try to be an active listener, even if you do not agree with what is being said. This helps your loved one feel understood and heard and positively contributes to anger management.

Bipolar disorder is a chronic condition that needs to be assessed and evaluated continuously throughout life. If you notice the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder in a loved one, encourage them to seek professional help as soon as possible.

Remember that staying silent and ignoring the issue will never make it go away. On the contrary, it will only exacerbate it and make things worse for both of you. Even if your loved one is in remission and doing great, attention must be given to detecting and coping with all possible triggers. Close collaboration with the treating doctors and therapists is also necessary to preserve stability.

Treatment for bipolar anger can be greatly beneficial and considerably enhances the overall life quality if enough time is dedicated to it. Contact a professional today to choose the best combination of therapies and medications.

Finding a treatment for bipolar illness and the associated rage, whether for yourself or a loved one, is not difficult. The first step is to recognise and accept the problem, followed by working on understanding more about it. After that, you may look for a therapist who can help you commit to a plan for recovery. It is recommended to seek professional consultation to choose a care plan according to individual circumstances.

As a friend or partner of someone with bipolar anger, it is also your responsibility to prioritise your health throughout your illness. Being a caregiver is a huge duty that may strain your emotional and physical health. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your loved one.

At the end of the day, multiple treatment options and healthy habits are there to improve the quality of life of the primary sufferer and their caregivers. Contact your nearest rehab today to plan an initial assessment.



The Balance RehabClinic is a leading provider of luxury addiction and mental health treatment for affluent individuals and their families, offering a blend of innovative science and holistic methods with unparalleled individualised care.


a successful and proven concept focusing on underlying causes


0 Before

Send Admission Request

0 Before

Define Treatment Goals

1 week

Assessments & Detox

1-4 week

Psychological & Holistic Therapy

4 week

Family Therapy

5-8 week


12+ week

Refresher Visit

Bipolar Insights

latest news & research on Bipolar
Bipolar and Alcohol

Extreme fluctuations in energy and mood are the hallmarks of bipolar disorder, a psychiatric illness that induces severe psychological instability. But contrary to popular belief, bipolar disorder is much more than just mood swings

read more
How to Deal with Someone Who is Bipolar and Angry

read more


British Psychology Society
institute de terapia neural
pro mesotherapie
Somatic Experience