Archives for Sleep

Sleep

Shorter Sleep Duration Linked to Mental Distress

We all know how important sleep is in maintaining mental health and mood stability. Results from a recent study confirm this and serve as a caution to parents and mental health professionals alike not to overlook sleep anomalies as early warning signs of depression, bipolar, or anxiety disorders in teenagers and young adults.

The lead author of the study is Nick Glozier, MBBS, MRCPsych, PhD, associate professor of psychological medicine at the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Centre for Integrated Research and Understanding of Sleep (CIRUS) at the University of Sydney in Australia.

The study found that young adults (17-24 years of age) who get fewer than eight hours of sleep per night are at greater risk of experiencing psychological distress – a combination of high levels of depression and anxiety. The study showed a 14% increase for each hour of sleep less than eight hours.
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Four to Six Weeks for Bipolar Medications to Take Effect?! What Do I Do in the Meantime?

During an acute and severe manic episode, a doctor is likely to treat mania more aggressively, perhaps by taking the following steps:

Prescribing substantial doses of medications such as Abilify or Seroquel.
Using loading doses of Depakote to reduce acute mania more rapidly. A loading dose is a higher initial dose than normally prescribed. Loading doses are used to ramp up a medication to a therapeutic level more rapidly.

These more aggressive interventions for mania are often performed in hospital. When providing outpatient treatment, doctors usually ramp up these medications more slowly to reduce side effects. Lamictal, which is used to prevent mood cycles, requires many weeks to reach a therapeutic level because of the risk of a skin condition that is much lower if the doses are increased very slowly.

Antidepressants are another story. Routinely, patients are told that they won't be likely to experience any benefits from their antidepressants for at least a few weeks. Sometimes it can take much longer, and doctors rarely, if ever, suggest what to do in the meantime. Patients are often expected to tough it out. And if the person complains, the doctor often advises them to "BE PATIENT." Easier said than done in the midst of debilitating depression.
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Losing Sleep Trying to Get Sleep Medication

Over the past couple weeks, my wife, who happens to have bipolar, has not been sleeping well, which is always a bad sign. For two weeks, she's been trying to get something to help her sleep - to get her through the often manic days that seem to reach full bloom about the time school lets out. You can read the whole account, "Tragedy of Errors" on our Bipolar Blog.
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