Anger

Paying Attention to Triggers

Depression can hit at any time when you have bipolar disorder. Last night, I couldn’t sleep. Even with all the medications I take at night, my brain would not shut off. I lay awake in bed until close to 2 a.m.

I didn’t think I was manic yesterday. I knew I had written many articles in one day and I normally can only do one a day. Yesterday, though, I had completed five before 3 p.m. I hadn’t missed any medications, though, so I thought I just must be doing really well. Writing is my passion, after all. Maybe I have been compliant for long enough that my mind is finally coming around to being used to the medications and now I am able to concentrate on my writing fully.
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Bipolar

What You Need to Know About Relapse in Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder tends to look different in different people. For instance, one person experiences a depressive episode as angry and irritable, said Sheri Van Dijk, MSW, RSW, a psychotherapist in Sharon, Ontario, Canada. Another person is unable to get out of bed or take care of themselves, she said. They barely eat and spend all day sleeping. A third person experiences a “mixed” episode with symptoms of depression and mania at the same time. “They have a lot of energy, but their mood feels low.”

During a hypomanic episode, one person has an elevated mood and high energy and breezes through their to-do list. On the other hand, someone else gets really anxious and agitated.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Could Depression Be an Allergic Reaction?

Most people are still locked into the theory that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain -- a shortage of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin that deliver messages from one neuron to another. That explanation works well for public consumption because it’s simple and it makes for great pharmaceutical commercials.

But depression is a whole lot more complicated than that.

For starters, there’s faulty brain wiring. On functional MRIs, depressed brains display lower activity levels in the frontal lobes, responsible for cognitive processes, and higher levels of activity in the amygdala region of the brain (fear central).
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Bipolar

A Tribute to Patty Duke

As you probably know, actress Patty Duke died on March 29, 2016. Of course, her talent as an actress can’t be denied, but her mental health advocacy was equally important. This advocacy is what puts her in my personal Hall of Fame.

First diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982, Patty Duke was one of the biggest spokespersons for people with the disorder. She made it a lifelong mission to dispel the stigma of the disease. She spoke openly about her illness in two books: Call Me Anna and A Brilliant Madness. Call Me Anna was published in 1987, almost 30 years ago. Patty Duke was completely out of the closet about her mental illness in the 1980s. That is a big deal.

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Bipolar

5 Surprising Signs & Hidden Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

We tend not to think of people with bipolar disorder as having any "hidden symptoms." It may seem that individuals with bipolar are either engaged in their treatment -- and therefore experience few extreme mood swings -- or they are not. If not, they may seem very depressed and down, or the opposite: very full of energy, excitement, and ideas.

After all, how much can one really hide his or her mood swings from others? Can someone suffer from hidden or masked bipolar disorder without others knowing?

The surprising truth is that sometimes people with bipolar disorder can do a pretty good job in hiding or minimizing certain symptoms of their condition. On World Bipolar Day, we explore some signs that perhaps individuals are struggling with their bipolar more than they care to let on.

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Bipolar

Which is Worse, Mental or Physical Illness?

On the morning of a bone scan procedure to check to see if my cancer has come back, I’m wondering which is worse: mental illness or physical illness?

As a person who’s experienced both, I have a little bit to say on the topic. Of course, the answer to this question is highly subjective, but here goes my analysis:

I was diagnosed with bipolar illness in 1991. I was 28. For the next 24 years, I would suffer with the disease, enduring nights without sleep, terrible depressions, paranoia and, worst of all, delusions that made it difficult to exist in public places.
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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: March 19, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

I hope you've had a fantastic week -- better than mine, anyway. We're having a new roof installed and, well, when you work from home, let's just say it's a bit difficult to concentrate with all the banging, hammering, and stomping. (However, the contractors at least chose some of my favorite classic rock hits to blast, so, there's that!).

Despite all the distractions, I managed to scour the Internet for some fascinating information on new research and reports regarding the happiest countries on the planet, the lesser-known postpartum bipolar disorder, the five different personality types, and more.

Enjoy!

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Bipolar

Is Depression Always a Disease?

Like most mental health writers, I have compared depression to illnesses like diabetes in the past, and stressed the biochemical aspect of mood disorders in my efforts to reduce stigma. Somehow talking about the gene G72/G30 located on chromosome 13q (that may predispose individuals to depression and bipolar disorder) makes it more legitimate, as if the gene proves we aren’t making it up.

However, the more I read about how abuse, trauma, and chronic stress --unresolved issues of all kinds -- can cause and aggravate depression, the less I want to compare it to diabetes.
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Anxiety and Panic

A Sense of Loss: When My Therapist of 10 Years Retired

When I found out that my psychologist of ten years was going to retire, I was a little panicked. What would I do without her? She’d literally helped me raise my only child. She’d been there when I was up from a manic high and down when I was low from a depressive drop. She listened to my paranoid fears and my optimistic prayers.

But we had never touched each other. Not even a handshake. I had refrained from bodily contact with her on purpose. I hadn’t wanted to make her uncomfortable. Didn’t want to threaten her.
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: February 20, 2016


Good afternoon, Psych Central readers!

First, I have to apologize for the late post. Generally, I try to publish these earlier in the day, but, alas. Technology is a wonderful thing, but unfortunately there are some blips along the way -- and I've had a few connection issues over the last couple of days.

Fortunately, that didn't stop me from collecting some fascinating pieces for you over the week, so let's get down to business, shall we?

Read on for the latest about mountaintop removal's affect on mental health, how your personality affects your taste in music, yet another research report on marijuana use and its contributions to mental illness, and more.

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Bipolar

Touched With Fire: The Two Faces of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is both a blessing and a curse. Some people who have bipolar disorder swear by the manic or hypomanic state they sometimes experience. Not only do they feel full of energy and capable of doing just about anything, some feel that increased energy in creative ways.

They say some of the greatest artists and writers of the ages suffered from mental illness. It's no wonder -- the creative energy can seem both strong and endless. It's likely many of the world's greatest artists have suffered from bipolar disorder.

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Bipolar

The “Good Family” Myth

I first heard the term “good family” when I was 27. I had moved to a new town and joined a new church. A family, the Posts, who also attended the church, embraced me. They had me over on Sundays after the service for pot roast, carrots and potatoes.

I was fresh out of graduate school, working as an adjunct writing teacher at two universities, and both mentally and physically healthy.

The Posts were a family of two parents and of three girls of marrying age. They were interested in good families because they wanted the girls to marry good boys.
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