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Archives for March, 2017

Anxiety

Bipolar Disorder & Why I Isolate Myself

Living with bipolar disorder is hard. There are many people who think positively about their disorder, finding inspiration and a sense of uniqueness. I’m not one of those people. I find my disorder to be a burden. If given the choice, I would rid myself of it without hesitation. Every day I have to focus on my bipolar disorder, even if it’s just checking in with myself to see how my mood is or taking the multiple...
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Bipolar Laid Bare

Coping with Being a Caregiver

When the subject of bipolar disorder comes up, the focus is typically on the patient and their burden. After all, we’re the ones who experience the mood swings of mania and depression as well as the after-effects and consequences of any behavior. It’s also important to acknowledge the people who care for those of us with mental illness. Often these are informal caregivers such as friends and family members. Not only do they...
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Anxiety

When Bipolar Disorder Meets Bulimia

At least 14% of people with bipolar disorder suffer from lifetime eating disorders. Compare this to 4-9% in the general population. Bipolar disorder alone is difficult to manage, even if the person is high functioning. It requires daily monitoring of symptoms and behaviors. That’s just when we’re well. Experiencing depression or mania adds an extra challenge. Adding an eating disorder to that creates an even more debilitating experience requiring...
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Anxiety

When Bipolar Disorder Meets Anorexia

People with bipolar disorder have to deal with the ups and downs of mood swings. Mania can come with extreme euphoria and reckless behavior. It can also come with extreme irritability. The sadness and hopelessness that come with depression can be debilitating. Bipolar disorder is not easy to ignore. We have to deal with it every day. To complicate this even further, other illnesses are more common in people with bipolar disorder. For example, eating...
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Bipolar II

Medications for Bipolar Disorder: Antidepressants

The use of antidepressants in bipolar disorder is highly controversial. On one side, research shows that the use of antidepressants can induce mania or hypomania both in those with established bipolar disorder and those with previously undiagnosed or misdiagnosed bipolar disorder. On the other side, the use of antidepressants in treatment-resistant depression may help alleviate symptoms. Since more than half of patients with bipolar disorder are prescribed antidepressants, it...
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Bipolar Laid Bare

Medications for Bipolar Disorder: Antipsychotics

There are generally four different classes of medications used to treat bipolar disorder- lithium, anticonvulsants, antidepressants and antipsychotics. Most people with bipolar take a combination of different medications. Which medications are prescribed depends on the severity of the person’s disorder, how well the medication works for them and how well they tolerate the side effects. Some of the strongest medications used to treat bipolar disorder are antipsychotics. They are used in both acute situations and...
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Bipolar Laid Bare

Medications for Bipolar Disorder: Mood Stabilizers

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that requires equally serious treatment. Medication is the first-line treatment with numerous medications available to treat bipolar disorder. Most people who have the disorder take a combination of drugs in order to achieve the best possible outcome. This process can take years. Even when optimal treatment is achieved, bipolar disorder symptoms can shift, causing a need for a shift in treatment as well. The most widely-used...
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Bipolar Laid Bare

Medications for Bipolar Disorder: Lithium

Medication is the primary treatment for bipolar disorder, although 20% of people will still have persistent symptoms even with treatment. Finding the right treatment is difficult and can take years. Treatment has to be personalized to the individual’s specific experience with bipolar disorder, whether they suffer from severe depression, irritable mania or any combination of symptoms. The current internationally recommended maintenance treatment for bipolar disorder is lithium.

The first modern use of...
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Bipolar Laid Bare

4 Factors that Contribute to Suicide Attempts

Between 25-56% of people with bipolar disorder will attempt suicide at some point. People who have the disorder are at 20-30 times the risk of suicide than the general population. People with bipolar disorder account for a quarter of all completed suicides. It is a serious issue and any threats or signs of suicidal behavior should not be taken lightly. Hospitalization for suicidal behavior is not uncommon. New research...
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