How satisfied are the partners of patients with bipolar disorder in their marital and sexual life?

Bipolar disorder is considered a serious mental disorder, which is characterized by episodes of mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes. Sometimes the episodes can be a traumatic experience for the patients who experience the disorder, but they can also be equally traumatic for their partners. A related study by Professor Lam and his colleagues (2005), attempted to explore the difficulties faced by the partners of bipolar patients. They examined the marital difficulties and the sexual satisfaction through the most important phases of their bipolar disorder (euthymic, manic and depressive).

Previous studies have shown that the partners of bipolar patients feel constrained due to problematic behaviors of their parterns ("he is insensitive), due to perceived control by patients in their disorder ("he is bad and he is not a patient"), and finally a significant reported problem has been the reduction in the income and activities due to the illness. It is worth noting that efforts to reduce the restriction felt by partners, can contribute to the improvement of patient’s quality of life (Clarkin et al., 1990, 1998).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.