Archives for July, 2010

Where to Get Help When You Can't Afford to See a Doctor

Bipolar disorder affects not only your health and well being – it can also negatively affect your personal finances. In the U.S. right now, job loss typically equates with the eventual loss of insurance and no income to pay out of pocket for treatment. So where can you turn for help when you can't afford to see a doctor or purchase the medications that doctor eventually prescribes?

Check to see if your county has a health department (I believe that most do or can refer you to a neighboring county that does). As we explain in Bipolar Disorder for Dummies, a doctor will need to do a thorough evaluation to rule out other possibilities, such as thyroid problems or other medical or psychiatric disorders, that could cause similar symptoms.

In our book, we also point out other free or low-cost care options, including the following:
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Mindfulness over Matter: DBT in the Treatment of Bipolar Disorder?

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT for short) is a specific subtype of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT for short) originally developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder. The program focuses on learning and practicing emotional and interpersonal skills that are usually not well developed in people suffering with this condition.

DBT’s Five Core Modules/Skills

DBT contains a number of modules for building specific skills both in an individual and group setting. Training targets the development of five core skills:

Distress Tolerance
Emotion Regulation
Interpersonal Effectiveness
Self Management

The Case for Using DBT to Treat Bipolar Disorder

Beyond its role in DBT, mindfulness has gained a great deal of attention recently as a tool for helping in the treatment of a number of psychiatric conditions including depression and ADHD. The strategies of mindfulness are actually ancient techniques, but we are increasingly able to study and prove the brain benefits of these practices.
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SSRI Antidepressants Linked to Decreases in Bone Density

Over the last several years, a number of studies have found a relationship between decreased bone mineral density – bone strength – and long-term use of SSRI antidepressants. The theory behind this association is that serotonin is part of the system that regulates signaling in bone cells and that medicines that affect the serotonin system could change bone metabolism.

At the American Psychiatric Association meeting in May of this year, researchers from Canada (Bolton, et al. 2010) presented a large, well done study that provides even more evidence that bone density can be reduced in people taking SSRI’s for long periods of time. Following are additional details from the study:
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Weighing the Risks of Using Psychiatric Drugs During Pregnancy

I recently noticed an article on the Web entitled "Psychotropic drugs can cause birth defects." The article reports that "Researchers at the University of Copenhagen (UC) have documented the serious side-effects that can be associated with these types of medications."

The trouble with articles like this is that they often cause unnecessary anguish and can be counterproductive in managing a healthy pregnancy while effectively treating psychiatric conditions of the expectant mother.
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