Bipolar

Physical Activity and Bipolar Disorder: A double edged sword?

Little is known about the benefits that exercise can offer in patients who are suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Over the past years little research has been conducted and this has been limited. Generally, physical activity has been found to reduce the risk of several diseases and to improve well-being. As for the mental spectrum evidence shows that exercise has significant benefits in unipolar depression (mild to moderate) but the evidence is limited.

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Bipolar

Electronic monitoring helps treatment adherence in Bipolar disorder

Non-adherence in the treatment of bipolar disorder is a very common phenomenon, which has been addressed by various researchers. The negative consequences may include relapse, hospitalization, impairment in everyday functioning, and it can be costly.

In a recently published pilot study by Wenze, Armey, and Miller (2014), the improvement of treatment adherence in bipolar disorder was tested using Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). More specifically, the investigators wanted to test whether an intervention that utilized mobile technology and assisted the monitoring of bipolar disorder would be feasible and acceptable by bipolar patients.
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Bipolar

Bipolar and Depressed. What’s the rush?


In our clinical work at BipolarLab, we often come across bipolar patients who seek help when they are depressed. Depression may be the most common symptom, and the most frequent episode of bipolar disorder, but it is not always the most urgent phase to treat. Manic episodes may be more urgent, and more dangerous. Nevertheless, it takes an experienced, and a well trained bipolar patient to seek help once manic. Depressive episodes with increased suicidal ideation or psychotic symptoms can be equally urgent, but for the most common depressive episodes urgency is a matter of choice.
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Psychotherapy

Cognitive Rehabilitation for Bipolar Disorder: A new, complementary therapy


Bipolar disorder is a condition characterized by recurrent episodes of depression and/or abnormally elevated mood (known as mania) that interfere with psychosocial functioning (see our guide). Depressive symptoms, along with cognitive difficulties in planning, problem solving, attention and memory, are known to be related to low psychosocial functioning and in particular occupational functioning (Bauer et al., 2001; Goldstein & Burdick, 2008).

Treatment of bipolar disorder includes medication, which aims at mood stabilization, and various forms of psychotherapy (e.g. Family Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy). Nevertheless, until recently, these therapies couldn’t deal with the cognitive symptoms of the disorder in patients who were in remission. These symptoms are called residual or subsyndromal and can be equally problematic for some patients.
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Monitoring

Bipolar activity revealed!


Bipolar disorder has been found to be "the sixth most disabling medical condition"(Murray & Lopez, 1997). Bipolar patients often have other medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease and both depression and mania are phases that are associated with
significant problems in activity.

Therefore, one cannot help but realize the need to look into more depth the complex relationship between physical activity and bipolar disorder.

Even though many studies in the past have tried to look at this relationship, it is only recently that advances in accelerometer technologies are beginning to help us to measure accurately activity patterns in bipolar disorder.
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Announcements

Befriending Bipolar Disorder: BipolarLab eBuddy Program!

picture copyright & courtesy of Christina Tsevis (crosti)
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental disorder that disrupts the emotional and social lives of people who suffer from it.
Patients with bipolar disorder experience intense periods of mania, where they tend to feel over optimistic or even grandiose, and often become overly social or even inappropriate in their contact with other people. This is something they usually regret and feel ashamed of later, but they have little control over their behavior when they are manic. They also tend to experience periods of depression, where they become withdrawn and isolate themselves. When they do not experience a mood episode, they tend to be fairly well and very likable and cherish the friendship of others, but the effects of their previous episodes persist. The mood episodes disrupt their social lives, and as a result they are often isolated. The lack of a supportive network of friends makes their lives even more difficult to bear, increases their risk to become unwell again, and delays their recovery.
Our BipolarLab eBuddy program aims to develop a network of BipolarLab eBuddies who will volunteer their time to befriend at least one bipolar patient who will be undergoing supervised treatment by a BipolarLab professional.
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Bipolar

Setting up and running an evidence based clinical e-practice: BipolarLab.com

Setting up and running an evidence based clinical e-practice in the field of mental health is an exhilarating challenge!
In other fields of medicine, this may not be the case, but in the mental health world, evidence based practice is a relatively new development.
"Evidence-based practice" means we conduct our clinical practice based on evidence that we've acquired from clinical research. Similar to drug research, your doctor will usually prescribe medications that've been tested thoroughly through many trials, and have been proven to benefit your health condition. Once upon a time, your therapy could've been based on Dr. Ego’s clinical expertise, big name or great insights, but thankfully these days such practices are slowly becoming a nightmare of the past (although, drug companies still invest on armies of Dr. Egos “aka opinion leaders” to influence your local doctor’s prescription practices).
However, evidence-based practice is a fairly recent development in the field of mental health, and especially in the field of psychotherapy. The rise of behavioral therapy in the 60s, partly as a reaction to the psychoanalytic status quo, and later its marriage with cognitive therapy, have given us a remarkable new tradition of true evidence-based psychotherapeutic practice.
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MoodEat

Eat well, feel well: The interesting connection between mood and food!


How mood regulates food

One thing that determines our enjoyment in life is mood. Mood changes from day to day, moment to moment. We may be happy, energized, have optimistic feelings, take part in enjoyable activities, feel loving; but we may also feel unpleasant, moody, irritable, anxious, tired and even depressed. We've all come across these feelings and have experienced the enormous impact they have on our psychological and physical wellbeing. However, as people tend to favor positivity and happiness, we try to regulate our bad moods by engaging in certain activities and routines such as eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, socializing, playing games, watching TV, etc.

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