Bipolar disorder—mental illness in general—has not fared well in popular culture. "Crazy" patients and "crazier" doctors populate story lines based on stereotypes and stigma. The last few years have seen some evolution toward more realistic portrayals and narratives, including the movie Silver Linings Playbook and the Broadway musical Next to Normal, telling human stories of illness rather than just punchlines. Add to this burgeoning cannon a new Netflix comedy, Lady Dynamite, by the comedian Maria Bamford.
May is Mental Health Awareness month, and today is Child Mental Health Awareness Day. Our goal, as healthcare providers, family members, and people living with mental illness, is to spotlight the presence of mental illness in our communities and to spread the word that these are identifiable and treatable medical and neurodevelopmental conditions which are not cause for shame.
My wife, Cecie, has bipolar disorder. Recently, she got into some trouble at work over a policy she violated. Not that it's anyone's business, but I'd better explain what she did (with her permission, of course), so you don't imagine something worse than it is. Cecie is a teacher. She brought her new puppy to school for a couple days and had two (high school) students take it outside the school building (located in a very safe area) without signing out. She received a written reprimand over the incident, which I personally think was a little over the top, but so be it.
My phone buzzed with a panicked text from Lisa, the mother of Ariana, an eight-year-old girl I am treating for anxiety and school phobia. Ariana's terror at the idea of going to school has often led to explosive outbursts when parents have pushed her to go. The treatment has been stop and go, but Ariana is making some very slow progress with a lot of support.
In a recent interview with Pam Cook for KTVU News, global mental health spokesman and advocate Kevin Hines suggested that people who suspect a loved one is suffering from depression or bipolar disorder find out more by reading about these conditions and specifically mentioned our...
Sandra lives with bipolar disorder. I am her psychiatrist or p-doc or shrink (as in Dr. Fink, the shrink). Sandra (not her real name), and I have worked together for many years. At today's appointment, she is moving a little slowly due to some back pain, but she tells me that her mood and energy have remained steady. That is outstanding news, because until a couple of months ago she was experiencing a terrible mood episode that rocked her life—a difficult mixed episode (mania and depression), along with substance use and memory and thinking problems. Her symptoms disrupted relationships with her family and worsened existing financial troubles. But, fortunately, her mood and energy level have not wavered to any clinically significant degree. Today she smiles and tells me about her volunteer work and playing tennis with a friend. Then she stops, and she cries softly and asks me how to help her parents understand what is wrong with her. While the good news is that many people in Sandra's life are starting to grasp that bipolar disorder is the problem (and that Sandra is not the problem), her own family of origin shuns and shames her, telling her that they have been advised to "stop enabling" her "bad behavior." They will not let her come to stay with them, and she has been excluded from family events. Sandra is heartbroken.
We're proud to announce the release of the 3rd Edition of Bipolar Disorder For Dummies. About the Book Bipolar Disorder For Dummies, 3rd Edition is a reassuring guide that sorts out the differences between bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder, and other forms of bipolar; explains the biology behind the illness; and covers the latest medications, therapies, and self-help techniques to manage the condition and feel better overall. You discover:
The American Heart Association has released a statement (circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2015/08/10/CIR.0000000000000229.abstract) identifying major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder in adolescents as specific risk factors for the early development of cardiovascular disease. Their review of numerous studies shows consistently higher risks of cardiovascular disease in adolescents with mood disorders compared to those without. Increased rates of heart disease in adults with depression and bipolar disorder have been well documented, but this is the first full examination of the data in young people with mood disorders.
Recently, a young adult child of a friend of mine was admitted to a hospital for a first manic episode. She presented in the most typical of ways with sudden changes in energy, sleep, mood, thinking, behavior, and judgment. She did not see that there was anything wrong, but was eventually hospitalized, against her will, due to dangerous behaviors.