bipolar articles

Bipolar Articles

Values, Goals and Routine – Dr Alice Lam

Have you ever looked back on the day and wished you had done more? Or have you experienced any difficulty sticking to a waking and bedtime routine? Both are common problems, and a lack of regular circadian rhythm may significantly affect bipolar disorder. What is circadian rhythm? The brain’s hypothalamus gland controls the organ systems of our body via hormones, or chemical messengers. A fall...

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Stigma and Bipolar Disorder – Dr Alice Lam

Why should we care about stigma? Stigma affects many people in society, from race and gender inequality through to people living with mental health problems like bipolar disorder. It is a huge issue with myriad consequences, not least that individuals may experience knock-on effects of stigma that can even outweigh those of the mental health disorder itself. By extension, family and friends may...

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Diet and supplements for Bipolar Disorder – Dr Alice Lam

Do you already use supplements, or are you thinking of trying some for your bipolar disorder? A study in the USA found that one in five people with bipolar used a supplement long term. The most commonly taken supplements were fish oil, B vitamins, melatonin and multivitamins1. Even with such popular usage and marketing messages like “safe” and “natural”, one should bear in mind that many...

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Bipolar Disorder and Women – Dr Alice Lam

Introduction Though bipolar disorder affects the same number of men as women [1], there are differences in how it manifests. This may be due to the combination of hormonal changes throughout a woman’s life which can affect both the condition itself and its treatment. We will look at the following factors, including onset of puberty, premenstrual mood changes, pregnancy, postpartum and menopause....

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Adverse Drug Reactions

What is an adverse drug reaction? Medicines can treat or prevent illness and disease. However, sometimes medicines can cause problems. These problems are called adverse drug reactions. You should know what to do if you think that you or someone you take care of is having an adverse drug reaction. Can adverse drug reactions happen to everyone? Yes. Anybody can have an adverse drug reaction....

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Bipolar Disorder and Strained Relationships

The tricky thing about bipolar disorder is that there is no one state to get used to. As the name implies, there are two somewhat opposite extremes of behavior: the manic and the depressive. They have very distinguishing characteristics, both of which can be damaging for loved ones. Some of the symptoms of bipolar mania and hypomania include: Impulsive behavior Self-confidence verging into...

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Bipolar Medication Guide

The role of medication in bipolar disorder treatment If you have bipolar disorder, medication will likely be the foundation of your treatment plan. Medication can bring mania and depression under control and prevent relapse once your mood has stabilized. You may not like the idea of taking bipolar medication long term, especially if you’re struggling with unpleasant side effects. But just as a...

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Bipolar Patients “Could be on the Wrong Drugs”

A quarter of patients with bipolar disorder are being prescribed drugs which could make their symptoms worse, a new study has claimed. Research led by Glasgow University has found many bipolar patients are on a combination of medication which is out of line with clinical guidelines. The study shows a decline in the first recommended treatment for people with the mental health condition. Experts...

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Bipolar Disorder: What You Need to Know

At age 23 Joseph noticed she was having trouble concentrating at work – that is, when she actually made it into the office. Many days, she couldn’t get out of bed. She spent hours staring at the wall, crying at the drop of a hat. And although she’d only worked for nine months as a certified public accountant for a large accounting firm, she was already in danger of losing her job. Joseph checked...

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Combating Bipolar Mood Swings

People dealing with mental illness and bipolar disorder in particular talk a lot about mood swings: how they feel, what they’re like, how your life can be affected. What is discussed less is what things can trigger a mood swing — good or bad — and how to deal with them. Here I will cover just three of my big triggers and some tips on dealing with them. Changes or stresses in personal...

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What Is Cyclothymia?

Cyclothymia -- or cyclothymic disorder -- is a relatively mild mood disorder. In cyclothymic disorder, moods swing between short periods of mild depression and hypomania, an elevated mood. The low and high mood swings never reach the severity or duration of major depressive or full mania episodes. People with cyclothymic disorder have milder symptoms than occur in full-blown bipolar disorder....

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Happiness and Bipolar

A person who lives with bipolar disorder can certainly be truly happy. If you have experienced disruptive or dangerous episodes of mania, you may worry that feeling happy is just a first step toward another damaging episode. Manic episodes are generally not happy or pleasant times, but some people do experience elevated mood or an exaggerated sense of well-being as part of mania. There are,...

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History of Bipolar Disorder

A man known as Aretaeus of Cappadocia has the first records of analyzing the symptoms of depression and mania in the 1st century of Greece. There is documentation that explains how bath salts were used to calm those with manic symptoms and also help those who are dealing with depression. Centuries passed and very little was studied or discovered. It wasn't until the mid-19th century that a...

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How A Mental Health Diagnosis Can Be Empowering

When First Impressions are the Worst Impressions The first time you ever heard the term “mental illness”, what did you think of? I can tell you what I thought of……. I was in the beginning of high school the first time I recall hearing this term. At the time, associated it with people who were unstable. I thought of people who were violent or adults who had tantrums or isolated old women who...

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How can bipolar disorder affect relationships?

Bipolar disorder is a manageable, long-term condition that affects a person's mood. The highs and lows characteristic of some forms of bipolar may affect the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. This includes how they act in romantic relationships. People with bipolar disorder experience severe high and low moods. These are called manic (or hypomanic) and depressive episodes. However, with...

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How to Handle Seasonal Bipolar Disorder

When you have seasonal bipolar disorder, you may find yourself wondering how you can handle it. You might feel frustrated as you try to cope with seasonal relapses or episodes. You may also have questions about treatment, managing your stress, or taking care of your health overall. There are steps you can take to manage your disorder. For example, you can try establishing a treatment plan and...

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How To Love And Live With Someone Who Has Bipolar Disorder

Giving unconditional love for bipolar disorder patients is a tough job. It is not easy to express love when you are being turned away from, disrespected or even ill-treated. It is never easy to lend a hand to those who think grandiosely of himself. Most importantly, it is never simple to care and understand someone who has disorganized thoughts and feelings. In-depth understanding of the illness...

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Just Diagnosed?

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type II disorder on January 28, 2014 and I wish someone had sat down and told me what I have since learnt on that Tuesday morning: It will get better. Your meds will become finer tuned and you will learn how to better live with this disorder. It will all become more natural for you with time and, although there will be some bumps in the road, your quality of life...

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Lithium treatment for bipolar disorder linked to lowest risk of rehospitalisation

Individuals with bipolar disorder have the lowest risk of re-hospitalisation if treated with lithium, according to a study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in JAMA Psychiatry. Long-acting injections of antipsychotics were also effective, reducing the risk of re-hospitalisation by 30 per cent compared with their oral counterparts. Bipolar disorder is characterised by alternating...

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Medications and Weight Gain

Every day we are encouraged to help brave cancer survivors overcome the loss of dignity and beauty they face as part of chemotherapy. We proudly donate money, hair and hairpieces to these survivors. But we rarely show the same support or recognition to patients with bipolar disorder who must also tolerate medications with significant side effects that can affect their appearance. Just like...

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Mental Health & Stigma

There are still attitudes within most societies that view symptoms of psychopathology as threatening and uncomfortable, and these attitudes frequently foster stigma and discrimination towards people with mental health problems. Such reactions are common when people are brave enough to admit they have a mental health problem, and they can often lead on to various forms of exclusion or...

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Phases of Psychosis

Course of Illness The typical course of the initial psychotic episode can be conceptualised as occurring in three phases. Once an episode has happened, when the course of the illness is reviewed, we can often see that there was a prodromal phase, an active phase and a recovery phase. The At-Risk or Prodrome Phase – 'Something is not quite right' Psychotic illnesses rarely present out of the...

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Nasal spray could help control appetite burn fat and reduce weight

The statistics on obesity are terrifying. The condition has tripled since 1975; there are more than 650 million obese people globally, 41 million of whom are children under five. If nothing is done, the number of obese people worldwide is predicted to rise to one billion by 2030. In Australia, more than one in four adults are obese, and current non-surgical therapies have side effects or only...

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Planning Ahead For Your Next Episode

I just finished filling out a WRAP plan with the help of my therapist. WRAP stands for Wellness Recovery Action Plan. The plan can be found at mentalhealthrecovery.com and is free to print out. This isn’t the first time I’ve filled out the plan. Years ago while I was in an acute treatment unit for severe depression (before my bipolar I diagnosis) I half-heartedly filled one out as part of a...

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Positive psychology turning mental illness on its head

 A focus on people's strengths not just symptoms or challenges is helping people with mental disorders achieve a better quality of life and avoid being defined by their condition. Positive psychology is part of the recovery movement that focuses on treating the entire person, says Professor Greg Murray, a psychologist who specialises in bipolar disorder from Swinburne University of Technology....

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Racing Thoughts and Bipolar Disorder

Everyone occasionally experiences situations that cause their mind to race. Imagine that feeling amped up several notches and persisting without relief and you have an idea of what it’s like to experience racing thoughts. This symptom often signals a hypomanic or manic episode in people living with bipolar disorder, although there are other possible causes. Characteristic Features Racing...

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Sleep and Sleep Cycles

OVERVIEW Usually sleepers pass through five stages: 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. These stages progress cyclically from 1 through REM then begin again with stage 1. A complete sleep cycle takes an average of 90 to 110 minutes, with each stage lasting between 5 to 15 minutes. The first sleep cycles each night have relatively short REM sleeps and long periods of deep sleep but...

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Staying Motivated

Motivation can be a problematic part of modern life for many of us. There are all kinds of aspects of our work and personal lives that we feel require motivation, and it is common for people to struggle to maintain the momentum of motivation. Feeling unmotivated can come with unpleasant feelings of guilt, stagnation, or laziness. On the other hand, feeling motivated might create a sense of...

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The Essential Guide To Maintaining Friendships With Bipolar

Friendships require cultivation and cooperation to thrive. But when one friend also has to cope with a mood disorder, things can be even more complicated. “Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness,” ancient Greek poet Euripides once said. What was true in ancient times still holds true today. Our most valuable, most important friends are those who are there for us when we...

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Tips to Beat Depression this Winter

People with bipolar disorder often feel a worsening of their depression symptoms in winter. Here are some tips that might help to improve your situation. Dress more warmly. Being freezing cold on top of being depressed will not help. Moving in any way helps our bodies function better and a healthy mind is part of a healthy body. Allocate time to exercise each day. The foods that you eat do a lot...

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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive form of brain stimulation in which a changing magnetic field is used to cause electric current at a specific area of the brain through electromagnetic induction. An electric pulse generator, or stimulator, is connected to a magnetic coil, which in turn is connected to the scalp. The stimulator generates a changing electric current within...

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Travel Insurance Changes

Victoria Legal Aid has welcomed the changes QBE (Australia) Ltd has made to its travel insurance policy, saying it is a move toward the insurance industry abiding by the law and putting an end to discriminatory practices. Executive Director Civil Justice Dan Nicholson said that QBE’s new and updated product disclosure statement for travel insurance released on 1 July 2017 looks to have taken...

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Understanding Your Triggers

Here are some helpful thoughts on bipolar which may give you a better understanding of your triggers. On average, it takes ten years to receive a correct diagnosis of bipolar. Remember that improving your well being takes time and effort but the rewards can be life changing! You can learn to recognise your triggers and sometimes catch episodes early and markedly reduce your symptoms. Here are...

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Why People with Bipolar Disorder are Bigger Risk-Takers

Circuits in the brain involved in pursuing and relishing rewarding experiences are more strongly activated in people with bipolar disorder, guiding them towards riskier gambles and away from safer ones, researchers report. The study used brain imaging to identify neural pathways that are responsible for the symptoms of the disorder. The findings will help to design, evaluate and monitor...

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