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May 17th 2018
Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by periods of manic and depressive episodes, interspersed with relatively normal states of mind. The unusual shifts in mood interfere with one's ability to carry out a normal daily life.
In bipolar disorder, people can have "overly euphoric or irritable mood, or low or depressed mood," said Dr. Scott Krakower, a psychiatrist at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York.
"The disorder tends to hit young adults. But there's a fairly high number of children who can have it too," Krakower said.
At least half of all cases of bipolar disorder start before age 25, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The condition affects about 5.7 million adults, or about 2.6 percent of the adult population in the United States, and more than 80 percent of these cases are classified as "severe," according to the NIMH.
Manic episodes in bipolar disorder include heightened mood (could be euphoric or irritable), flight of ideas (racing thoughts and speaking rapidly, changing from one topic to another), increased energy, decreased need for sleep and hyperactivity. During a manic episode people may become easily distracted, talk very fast, take on an unrealistic number of new projects, have an unrealistic and grandiose belief in their abilities and engage in risky behaviors, such as gambling, drug abuse, or high-risk sexual activities, Krakower said.
The average duration of the first manic episode is about three months. Manic episodes be further divided into different gradients of severity.
In contrast to typical major depression, the depressive episodes of bipolar disorder often occur acutely, can take place over a few weeks and without significant precipitating factors. Aside from depressed mood, depression episodes may also be accompanied by sleep problems, apathy or agitation, loss of energy, suicidal thoughts and more, according to the NIMH.
Diagnosis & tests
Usually a psychiatrist diagnoses a person with bipolar disorder, but increasingly more primary care practitioners are being educated to help diagnose the condition in patients.
Bipolar disorder is divided into several subtypes by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the mental health guidebook published by the American Psychiatry Association, based on severity of manic symptoms. Bipolar I disorder patients suffer from at least one manic episode and one depressive episode and these mood swings can be severe enough to create difficulties in school, at work and in relationships. Bipolar II disorder is less severe than bipolar I disorder. Individuals experience at least one hypomanic episode, which is less severe than full-blown mania, and at least one major depressive episode. For these people, periods of depression typically last longer than periods of hypomania, with minor effects to daily routines, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Part of the diagnosis will be based on the patient's medical and family history, according to the NIMH. It's important to note that people are more likely to seek help during depressive episodes, when they appear to be suffering from major depressive disorder. Therefore the NIMH suggests that input and description of symptoms from family members and friends can create a more accurate picture and avoid a wrong diagnosis.Treatment & medication
Currently, bipolar disorder is a lifelong recurrent illness with no available cure. However, medications and therapeutic treatments may be used to help smooth out the mood swings and related symptoms and manage bipolar disorder on a long-term basis to avoid relapse, according to the Mayo Clinic.
"Bipolar disorder is usually treated with mood stabilizers," Krakower said. "But in addition to medication you can have psychosocial interventions, get patients involved in the community, and also teach the family how to manage the condition.
Mood stabilizers such as lithium and valproate are used to prevent the extreme highs and lows, according to the Mayo Clinic. A possible side effect of lithium treatment is low thyroid levels, which has been associated with rapid mood cycles and weight gain in some people, especially women during their first two years of lithium treatment, according to a 2002 study in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience.
Other medications may be used to treat specific symptoms, which may include antidepressants, anticonvulsants and antipsychotics. Anticonvulsants such as valproic acid (Depakene), gabapentin (Neurontin), topiramate (Topamax) and lamotrigine (Lamictal) also act as mood stabilizers and appear to possess a broad spectrum of effectiveness, according to a 2010 review published in the journal Current Opinion in Psychiatry. However, the Food and Drug Administration and a 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association both warned that there's an increased risk of suicidal behavior among patients using seizure medication and they should be monitored for notable changes in behavior.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is also used to treat some patients with bipolar disorder. It's particularly suitable for highly agitated or suicidal patients or those with psychotic or catatonic symptoms, according to the NIMH. ECT involves administering a brief electrical stimulus through the scalp to the surface of the brain. Though the treatment is generally effective, especially to those who are not responding to medication, there's concern as to whether the therapy could cause long-term permanent memory impairment and deficits, according to a 2007 article in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience.Coping & management
Beyond medication, patients with bipolar disorder can also seek additional help and emotional support through psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Various programs and support groups can also help the patient stay focused on recovery goals, according to the Mayo Clinic. Since the disease and its symptoms can affect spouses, family members, friends and caregiver, it is also important to extend emotional support to them and help prevent physical and mental exhaustion, according to the NIMH.
April 12th 2018
'I was living in denial': Mariah Carey opens up about bipolar disorder
Mariah Carey has said she is no longer living in "denial and isolation" after being treated for bipolar disorder.
The singer has told celebrity magazine People that she "didn't want to believe it" when she was diagnosed in 2001 after receiving hospital treatment for a physical and mental breakdown.
She said: "Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me. It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn't do that anymore."
The 48-year-old is now in therapy and taking medication for bipolar II, which involves periods of depression and hypomania, and often involves irritability.
Carey said the medication is having a positive effect and is not making her feel too tired or sluggish.
"I got back to doing what I love - writing songs and making music," the mother-of-two said.
She said that she first thought she was suffering with "normal insomnia" as she could not sleep and was "working and working and working".
The star said she was "irritable and in constant fear of letting people down" and that she later learned she was "experiencing a form of mania".
"Eventually I would just hit a wall. I guess my depressive episodes were characterised by having very low energy.
"I would feel so lonely and sad - even guilty that I wasn't doing what I needed to be doing for my career."
According to the NHS, bipolar disorder is characterised by extreme mood swings, and includes periods of extreme highs and lows.
Feb 11th 2018
Could an antibiotic treat autism?
Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, depression and alcoholism may all share some similar genetic origins, according to a new paper published Thursday in Science. Understanding these genetic commonalities and differences could lead to new treatments—and for autism, that day might be right around the corner.
Based on samples taken from 700 human brains, scientists found that some disorders shared some modifications to the genetic codes that control how a person’s DNA is expressed.
Autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder all had certain changes in common; different changes were shared by people who had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. The conditions that were most genetically related were schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, sharing about a 70 percent overlap in the genetic changes. Alcoholism had little genetic relationship to any other illness.
Many of the genes that did show similar changes in their patterns of expression were related to glia—the brain’s support cells. Unlike neurons—what we usually think of as "brain cells"—these cells generally aren't responsible for sending electrical signals between each other. Some glia, called microglia, act as part of the brain’s immune system. Others, called astrocytes, also help supply neurons with the chemicals they need to do their job.
But understanding what exactly might be happening to these support cells is one thing—applying it to treat actual humans is another.
Some signals associated with a cell type called microglia were far higher in the samples from people with autism than from samples of people with other conditions. This signal may be higher because the microglia are more active. If that’s true, an antibiotic that reduces their activity could be one way to treat the condition—which is what UCLA Health psychiatrist and one of the authors of the study, Dr. Michael Gandal, is testing right now.
“We are already running a small, proof-of-principle trial at UCLA right now, largely motivated by the basic science findings of this study and others,” he told Newsweek. He and his colleagues are working to recruit about 30 adults for a brain-imaging study to look at their microglia and take an antibiotic called minocycline for 12 weeks.
“Throughout the 12 weeks, we measure a set of cognitive tasks, and we repeat the brain imaging," he said. "The idea is to look at how levels of inflammation in the brain relate to cognitive and behavioral function in individuals with autism.”
The results of this study might not be available for some time; Gandal and his team have recruited about one-fifth of the people needed for the trial so far.
Nov 3rd 2017
Bipolar is a condition which wreaks havoc on those that it affects. If you suffer
from Bipolar, chances are good that your family suffers with you. No matter if
you are that family member trying to learn to cope or you are the person that has
been diagnosed, there is hope out there.
Although there is no cure for Bipolar, just yet, there are many ways in which you
can improve your chances of living a long and happy life. The good news is that
the process doesn’t have to be difficult either.
The ups and downs are what make the most problems for individuals. Being
happy and go lucky one minute is wonderful but when it is followed by serious
lows and depressed moods the next, there’s even more to worry about.
In this e-book, you will find a number of different scenarios that will help you to
ultimately learn to cope with bipolar and all of these ups and downs. Through an
understanding of your condition as well as help in dealing with the beneficial
tools we will teach you, you will be able to improve the quality of life that you and
your loved ones share.
Chapter 1: Understanding Bipolar To Get Help
Most individuals that suffer from bipolar have one goal. That goal is to live a life
that is as normal as can be. To get through today without having any emotional
problems, to make it through the big meeting at work without having people
wonder what is wrong with you and to simply be able to enjoy your daughter’s
graduation are all additional goals that you may have.
Before you can fully learn to cope with bipolar, you need to fully understand your
condition. You need to know what things happen, as best that you can, so that
you can then trigger your coping mechanisms to work for you.
There is no 100 percent sure way of stopping these things from happening to you.
But, there are countless things you can learn to do to help you to improve your
To get to that point, we will start by giving you all of the information you need
about your condition so that you can better understand what is happening to you.
If you are a family member who just wants to help someone that has bipolar, then
by all means, you too can learn all that you need to in order to deliver the help
that you can give to them.
Bipolar: The Medical Side
Bipolar is a condition in which there are extremes in moods and life experiences.
There is no doubt that bipolar is a health condition that is serious and disabling.
We have written a very comprehensive guide to this condition and what you can do to alleviate the symptoms, it is now ready for a circulation.
To purchase the book at a very affordable price. Follow the link under the picture.
Oct 24th 2017
Maybe this will help you too.
Hi, great post. I'm not
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The Bangkok-born model, who paraded naked around Times Square on June 30 yelling about Donald Trump and Kanye West, has resurfaced to tell his story in a gripping first-person account of his battle with Bipolar disorder.
Krit McClean, a 21-year-old model and student, spoke about the manic episode he was suffering from when he made his surprising naked display in New York City, ending with him jumping off a ticket-purchasing booth and breaking his arm.
Those that suffer from Bipolar disorder have episodes of depression and mania. The latter may include racing thoughts, inability to sleep or eat, delusion, hallucinations and paranoia.
McClean noted that, on the morning of the episode, he had already been walking around the city barefoot, his feet were covered in blisters and he was gripped by unexplainable fear.
He was in a paranoid state, he told the New York Post, and believed that evil people wanted to get him. He said that he thought advertisements were sending him secret messages.
One billboard said “Express Yourself,” so he decided to do just that by removing his clothes. He was drawn to the top of the famous TKTS booth, with its giant, glowing red sign.
He said that he began eating garbage that he found up there, including used gum, change and cigarette butts.
He saw police coming for him and thought they seemed evil. He began to sing and dance, repeating Kanye West lyrics that he believed would protect him. In his manic state, he believed West to be a God-like figure.
As the police closed in on him, he jumped from the booth, falling almost 20 feet. He said that, in his mental state, he didn’t feel pain but pretended to be dead in hopes of being left alone.
When police took hold of him, he yelled West’s nickname, “Yeezy,” before being shot with a tranquilizer.
He woke up in the famous New York City psychiatric ward in Bellevue Hospital. He reported that his feet and right hand were handcuffed to his bed while his broken left arm was immobile in a cast.
He reported that his manic episode had started a week before but had not been violent. He became obsessed with the color yellow, painting everything in his apartment and his clothes in that color. He also began following yellow taxis around the city.
He stopped eating and keeping in contact with people. His best friend and family grew very worried by his behavior. He stopped using his phone because he thought he was being tracked.
After he woke up in the hospital, his family told him that he had their support but that he had been released from his modeling contract. Columbia University, where he is a student, has not yet decided if he can return to school. He also faces legal charges.
He said that he is going public with his story so that he can help others that also suffer from mental illness and the way society judges them.
I will include a few paragraphs from Dr. Steven M. Melemis. just as an introduction to this page but there is a wealth of information on his website about bipolar-disorder, so please don't miss it
Family History of Depression
Genes explain approximately 30 to 40 percent of depression.(1),(2) Approximately 60 to 70 percent of depression is due to environmental factors and poor coping skills. This has been proven by looking at identical twins, which have the same genes. Genes would explain 100 percent of depression if every time one twin developed depression the other twin also developed depression. But in fact, when one twin develops depression, the other twin develops depression approximately 30 to 40 percent of the time.
Depression is caused by changes in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Your brain has to produce these neurotransmitters to keep your mood balanced. If you have a family history of depression, your brain has a harder time producing those neurotransmitters in the right quantities, which means you are predisposed to depression.
If you think about it, it's a miracle that more people don't get depressed. Your brain has to produce millions of chemicals every day in exactly the right amounts in order to function properly. If it produces some of those chemicals in slightly reduced amounts, or not at exactly the right time, you will feel depressed.
If your main cause of depression is family history, it's more likely you may need antidepressants to overcome depression. A family history of depression is sometimes hard to recognize. Most people don't openly admit that they suffer from depression, and previous generations were reluctant to seek treatment for depression. Sometimes you have to decide if you have a family history, not by what people say, but by how they behave.
Drugs, Alcohol Abuse and Depression
All drugs and alcohol are brain depressants. In moderate amounts, alcohol does not lead to depression, but abusing drugs or alcohol will definitely lead to depression. This is because they deplete your brain of serotonin and dopamine. Brain scans have shown that it can take months for your brain chemistry to return to normal after drug or alcohol abuse.
Alcohol abuse almost doubles the risk of depression.(4) One study looked at 2,945 alcoholics. Fifteen percent were depressed before they began abusing alcohol, and that number jumped to 26 percent after they started abusing alcohol. Once they stopped drinking for an extended period, 15 percent remained depressed. In other words, alcohol almost doubles the risk of depression.
Marijuana users are four times more likely to develop depression.(5) One study followed a large group of people for 16 years. It discovered that people who smoked marijuana were four times more likely to develop depression. This was confirmed by another study of 1601 students.(6)
Even stimulants such as cocaine cause depression. Cocaine initially stimulates your brain, and temporarily elevates your mood. But over the long run it depletes your brain of serotonin and dopamine and leads to depression.
If you feel trapped in your life, you'll struggle against that feeling until you eventually become exhausted and depressed. You can feel trapped by external factors, such as a job that you don’t like or an unhealthy relationship that won’t change. But in many cases you are trapped by internal factors, such as poor self-esteem or negative self-labeling.
This is where cognitive therapy helps treat and prevent depression. It helps you see how your negative thinking makes you feel trapped. It helps you see ways that you are not trapped. It also helps you develop alternative thinking so that you can get out of feeling trapped.
Approximately 15 to 30 percent of addicts suffer from both addiction and underlying depression.(7),(8)The combination of depression and addiction is sometimes called a dual diagnosis. People who have a dual diagnosis often have a repeating pattern of staying sober for a while and then relapsing because they feel awful.
If you have a dual diagnosis and your depression isn't treated, you're more likely to relapse, because your recovery feels flat and unrewarding. If you're depressed for too long, you'll eventually think of turning to your addiction to escape. If you don't have a dual diagnosis, you'll generally start to feel better quickly after you stop using.
Dual diagnosis is hard to diagnose in the first few months of recovery. It's hard to decide if the symptoms of depression are due to an underlying depression or due to the depressant effect of drugs and alcohol. You usually have to be abstinent for at least 3 months before a diagnosis of underlying depression can be made. Sometimes it takes as long as 6 months for your brain chemistry to begin to return to normal. Of course these are general guidelines.
Many thanks to Dr. Steven M. Melemis, www.AnxietyDepressionHealth.org
This is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide and the drug companies are working hard to produce better medication to relieve their suffering, may they succeed soon.