Bipolar Disorder Mood Diary
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Maintaining a bipolar disorder mood diary can be useful as it can help you track mood swings, identify patterns and better manage the condition. Learn more about the the best way of keeping a bipolar disorder mood diary by watching this video.
Transcript: Coping with the dramatic and unpredictable mood swings of bipolar disorder can be challenging, to say...
Coping with the dramatic and unpredictable mood swings of bipolar disorder can be challenging, to say the least. Experts say using a mood diary may help empower you to better manage your condition. Keeping a mood diary is a simple way to monitor your illness because it centralizes pertinent information about your moods, medications, sleep patterns, anxiety levels, and daily events. Your diary helps to identify patterns that would otherwise go unnoticed. Your mood diary can help you monitor how your feelings affect your mood on a daily basis. Experts say it's also important to keep track of sleep patterns, and how much, or how little, you eat, and how much, or how little, you eat. Besides tracking behavioral habits, your diary can help you track significant life events that may have an effect on your state of mind. For example, you may want to note changes or problems with relationships at home or work, as well as any new stressors in your life, such as moving, changing jobs, or having a baby. Women may also find it helpful to keep track of menstrual cycle changes and any related changes in mood. Additionally, your diary may help you monitor how your moods fluctuate over time, serving to increase your awareness of certain symptoms or situations that may typically precede a manic or depressive episode. Your mood diary can also help you predict when a manic or depressive episode may occur, providing an opportunity to take precautionary steps to minimize its intensity and impact. Being able to track episode trending may enable you to head it off before it starts, or help you get the appropriate treatment more quickly. Experts advise rating your mood at the same time each day. Try using a scale that ranges from 1-10, with one being the most depressed mood and 10 being the most euphoric. You may also want to use your diary to keep track of any medications you're taking, how each makes you feel, and what symptoms improve or worsen. Your mood diary can serve as a chronological record to share with your doctor to help determine the effectiveness of your medications and therapy. Ultimately, a mood diary helps both you and your doctor better manage your bipolar episodes. If you think you may be suffering from bipolar disorder, please see a mental health professional. Information about bipolar disorder is also available on this site.More »
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A friend dealing with bipolar disorder may be feeling alone and in need of support. Learn more about how to help a person with bipolar disorder.
Transcript: Nearly six million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder, so if you have a loved one with this serious...
Nearly six million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder, so if you have a loved one with this serious illness, you're not alone. While it may often be challenging, there are many ways you can provide help and support. One of the most important ways to help your loved one is to become more familiar with the symptoms of bipolar disorder, which is a serious mood disorder that's characterized by dramatic mood swings between opposite "poles" of mania and depression. By learning as much as you can about bipolar disorder you'll be better equipped to support your loved one and keep things in perspective. When a person has bipolar, family members and friends are affected as well. It's not uncommon to experience a range of feelings. You may feel completely alone, overwhelmed, angry, resentful, afraid or even guilty. Rest assured these feelings are completely normal. However, experts advise against trying to play the role of therapist. Instead, it's much more important to be patient, willing to listen, and supportive of your loved one's treatment plan. Helping to ensure your loved one gets professional help and stays faithful to their medication can feel like a tremendous responsibility. Don't try to go it alone. If possible, enlist additional family members and friends to help. You may find it useful to keep track of the emotional changes you see in your loved one, and to collaborate on a specific plan of action should symptoms worsen. Studies show that people with bipolar disorder whose family members and friends are involved and supportive may experience fewer episodes of mania or depression, and endure milder symptoms. In addition to taking an active role in your loved one's treatment, experts say that being optimistic, expressing confidence, support and hope for the future may go far in improving their state of mind. In the meantime, help your loved one feel connected by maintaining normal activities. Take the dog for a walk, go to a movie, or have dinner at a favorite restaurant. Experts recommend that you don't try to do everything for your bipolar loved one. But do find ways, especially during bad periods, to help reduce his or her stress by offering to help with household chores or errands. Yet it's important to accept your own limitations. Take time for yourself. You may even consider talking with a therapist or joining a support group. Overall, remain patient, managing bipolar disorder is a lifelong process and your encouragement and support can be vital to your loved one's recovery. To learn more, see the video series on bipolar disorder on this site.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-01 | Tags »
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Creating a bipolar disorder self-help plan can help you take an active role in your treatment. Adding yoga, swimming or nature walks are helpful activities. Learn what else you can do.
Transcript: While medication and psychotherapy are the typical prescription for bipolar disorder, there are many...
While medication and psychotherapy are the typical prescription for bipolar disorder, there are many things you can do to take an active role in helping yourself stay balanced, recognize warning signs of manic and depressive episodes, and better manage your illness. One of the most important ways you can help yourself is to learn as much as possible about your illness, and share information about bipolar disorder with your family and friends, so they can better understand what you are experiencing. Experts say that keeping a mood diary is an extremely valuable tool for tracking your emotions on a daily basis, seeing how your moods fluctuate over time and becoming more aware of certain symptoms or situations that can precede a manic or depressive episode. Being attuned to your moods can help you better recognize early warning signs of manic or depressive episodes, enabling you to minimize or stop them before they start, and help you get the appropriate treatment faster. Keeping a regular schedule is also important. Routine and consistency may help you gain better emotional balance. Every day, eat three healthy meals, take your medications as prescribed and go to bed at the same time. A regular sleep schedule is important to overall mental and physical well-being. This may be challenging, however, as depression can make falling asleep or staying asleep difficult. At the same time, lack of sleep, or oversleeping, may trigger a shift in mood. Fortunately, another self-help strategy is regular physical exercise, which may lead to more restful sleep. Practicing yoga, taking a swim or performing aerobics for at least 30 minutes a day, several days a week, may help reduce your stress levels. Additionally, physical activity works to relieve depression symptoms, and may also reduce manic energy. Equally important is eating a healthy diet that ensures you're getting the nutrients your body needs for healthy functioning, such as lean meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. In managing your bipolar disorder, the things you avoid may be as important as what you prioritize. For example, self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may potentially worsen depression symptoms, affect your medication's effectiveness, or trigger a mood episode, typically leading to additional problems. Similarly, stimulants like caffeine and nicotine may affect sleeping patterns and potentially exacerbate your mood. So try avoiding, coffee, tea and soda. Finally, consider joining a support group, either in your community or online, where you can benefit from the shared experiences of others who understand what you're going through. If you or someone you know is affected by bipolar disorder, please see a mental health professional. To learn more, see additional videos about Bipolar Disorder on this site.More »
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It's not unusual for bipolar disorder and addiction to be interrelated. Find out more about the connection between bipolar disorder and addiction from this video.
Transcript: The unpredictable and extreme mood swings that typify bipolar disorder can often be linked with addiction...
The unpredictable and extreme mood swings that typify bipolar disorder can often be linked with addiction to drugs or alcohol. How is bipolar disorder connected to addiction, and how might it further complicate the illness? The nearly inextricable link between bipolar disorder and the use of alcohol and drugs exists for a number of reasons, the most common being the sufferer's attempt to self-medicate. People affected by bipolar disorder may try to manage their symptoms with depressants, such as alcohol or pain pills, in an attempt to "slow down" during manic episodes. Or turn to stimulants like methamphetamines or cocaine to cope with their depression symptoms. While drugs or alcohol may temporarily improve mood, using these substances can trigger, prolong or even worsen episodes of both mania and depression. Substance abuse or addiction can also increase the likelihood of risk-taking behaviors during mania, such as reckless spending, gambling or inappropriate sexual behavior. Drug or alcohol use may reduce the effectiveness of bipolar medications, exacerbate physical health issues and increase the risk of suicide. When a person is diagnosed with both bipolar disorder and an addiction, it's called a "dual diagnosis," meaning the person is suffering from a mental illness and a substance abuse problem. Research suggests up to 60 percent of bipolar sufferers experience a substance abuse problem at some point in their lives. Bipolar women are seven times more likely to develop alcoholism than other women. Bipolar men may be even more likely to suffer from alcoholism than women. Researchers also believe that bipolar men who are alcoholics are often more likely to have a family history of alcoholism and drug abuse, while alcohol addiction in women is more closely associated with anxiety and depression. Experts strongly advise that individuals battling both bipolar disorder and substance abuse or addiction be treated for both issues at the same time. Please seek immediate help if you or someone you know may be suffering from bipolar disorder and addiction. To learn more, see additional videos about bipolar disorder on this site.More »
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Research suggests that bipolar disorder and creativity are linked. Watch this video to learn about the fascinating historical relationship between bipolar disorder and creativity.
Transcript: From Vincent Van Gogh, Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf, to Beethoven, Jimi Hendrix and Francis Ford Coppola,...
From Vincent Van Gogh, Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf, to Beethoven, Jimi Hendrix and Francis Ford Coppola, many of the world's most notable artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers have been affected by bipolar disorder suggesting a virtually inextricable link between the illness and creativity. Certain aspects of bipolar disorder's diverse emotional states may lead to heightened creativity. For example, rapid thinking, increased energy, optimism and euphoria characterize mania, while depression may result in intense ponderings of self and life, and a powerful need for self-expression. The differences between these states of mania and depression are often dramatically apparent, as illustrated in the works of author Sylvia Plath, whose tone varied from lively and hopeful, to lonely and despondent. Painter Vincent Van Gogh also struggled between periods of high energy and deep depression, leaving a body of work that reflects his diverse moods. Biographers note the artist worked with "great speed and intensity, determined to capture an effect or mood while it possessed him." And English author Virginia Woolf was vivacious, productive and witty when not depressed. But a letter written by Woolf notes, "My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery, always buzzing, humming, soaring roaring diving, then buried in mud." Plath, Van Gogh and Woolf all committed suicide, which strengthens the caution of over romanticizing the link between bipolar disorder and creativity. However, studies suggest a highly disproportionate number of artists and writers are depressed, manic or suicidal. A number of recent studies also suggest that people who are extremely creative may be more likely to be bipolar. Researchers at Harvard University studied the degree of original thinking in performing creative tasks among both the general population and a sample of participants with bipolar disorder. The bipolar participants showed the greatest percentage of creativity. In another study, at Stanford University, researchers found that artists' personality and temperament are more similar to those with bipolar disorder than participants from the general population. Stanford researchers also compared creativity scores of bipolar children, bipolar parents and children of bipolar parents with general populations. Creativity scores of the bipolar groups were significantly higher in each case, suggesting creativeness may be stronger in families with a genetic susceptibility for the illness. Experts also say other factors may predispose a person to bipolar disorder and creativity, such as heightened levels of sensitivity, awareness and resourcefulness, and an openness to explore, experiment and take risks, all of which may lead to different ways of seeing the world. If you or someone you know is affected by bipolar disorder, please see a mental health professional. You can find more videos about bipolar disorder on this site.More »
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How well do bipolar disorder and dating go together? People with bipolar disorder can successfully engage in relationships, but it's important to share information about the condition early on. Watch this video for tips on dating and sustaining a relationship if you have bipolar order.
Transcript: Relationships can be a challenging even under the most ideal circumstances. If you have bipolar disorder,...
Relationships can be a challenging even under the most ideal circumstances. If you have bipolar disorder, it may be much harder to establish and sustain relationships. Still, many couples in which a significant other is bipolar are able to make it work. Trust, sharing, communication, loyalty, intimacy, and the flexibility to change and grow over time, are typical hallmarks of a healthy relationship. So, while you don't have to let bipolar disorder define a relationship, it's essential to be honest early on. When should you tell a potential partner you have bipolar disorder? Experts say it isn't necessary to bring up the illness on a first date, but advise telling the other person about your illness once the potential to become more serious develops. While most people have heard of bipolar disorder, it's likely they may have preconceived notions or an inaccurate understanding of the illness. So start simply, with the facts. You may want to explain that bipolar is a mood disorder of dramatic up and down mood swings. As with other medical conditions, like diabetes or hypertension, you take medication and see a medical professional to help your symptoms. It may also be helpful to provide materials about the illness, or spend some time together learning about the disorder online. You may also want to explain behaviors that often characterize the illness like the euphoria, increased productivity and recklessness that may result from mania, as well as periods of debilitating depression. Having a relationship when living with Bipolar Disorder may be challenging, but it's not impossible. It does, however, require effort from both partners. It may be helpful to involve your partner in therapy sessions, which may increase understanding of certain behaviors and better help your partner to know how to react. Additionally, your mental health professional may recommend a bipolar support group, where you and your partner may gain valuable insight from the other couples. Many experts recommend a "contract" that allows you and your partner to agree in advance what steps your partner may take, or not take, to help you under certain circumstances. Other ways to help maintain a balanced relationship include keeping a mood diary that, over time, may help you better recognize early warning signs of a manic or depressive episode, enabling you to get treatment more quickly. Experts also say maintaining a regular sleep schedule, eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and exercising several days a week may help you manage stress and better facilitate a well-balanced relationship. If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from Bipolar Disorder, please see a mental health professional. You can also find more videos about Bipolar Disorder on this website.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-01 | Tags »
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Celebrities are no different from anyone else, even when it comes to mental health issues. Bipolar disorder affects such celebrities as Ben Stiller and Carrie Fisher. Find out more in this video.
Transcript: Many famous people are believed to have suffered from Bipolar disorder: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vincent...
Many famous people are believed to have suffered from Bipolar disorder: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vincent Van Gogh, Abraham Lincoln and Edgar Allen Poe. Today, a number high-profile celebrities have openly discussed their struggle with bipolar. For people who suffer from bipolar disorder, celebrity testimonials may be extremely valuable in helping illustrate that the illness doesn't have to define them. One of the most notable celebrities to lend a face to bipolar disorder is Carrie Fisher. Best known as Princess Leia and the quintessential Hollywood party girl, she also authored two memoirs on bipolar, Postcards from the Edge and Wishful Drinking. Fisher, who serves as a spokesperson for bipolar disorder, also appeared in the BBC documentary, The Secret Life of a Manic-Depressive, where she joined British actor-comedian Stephen Fry and fellow actor Richard Dreyfuss in candidly discussing their personal experiences with the illness. Linda Hamilton, of Terminator fame, was diagnosed at a young age but resisted treatment for the illness until the age of about 40. Citing the extreme "brilliant" highs in contrast to dramatic plunges of depression, she says getting treatment "changed my world." Another celebrity who's shared personal struggles with bipolar disorder is Patty Duke, who's perhaps best known to current audiences as the mother of Lord of the Rings star, Sean Astin. Duke was diagnosed as bipolar in 1982 and has since devoted extensive time to educating the public on mental health issues. She's authored two books on her experiences, A Brilliant Madness and Call Me Anna, and maintains the Patty Duke Online Center for Mental Wellness. Broadcast journalist Jane Pauley surprised both colleagues and fans by revealing her stay in a psychiatric clinic for bipolar disorder in her 2004 book, Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue. Pauley hoped her experience would raise awareness for the illness. Actor Ben Stiller has talked openly open about his struggle with bipolar disorder, as has General Hospital actor Maurice Benard, who reportedly had the writers incorporate the illness into his character's story line. Benard serves as spokesperson for the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association. Recently, actor Eric Millegan, Dr. Zack Addy on the TV show Bones, posted YouTube videos sharing how his rapid cycling bipolar disorder affected him, noting he wanted to help others who may be struggling with the illness. If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from bipolar disorder, please see a mental health professional. You can find more videos about bipolar disorder on this website.More »
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Your bipolar disorder doesn’t have to decrease your ability to work. Become better informed on how to successfully handle bipolar and the work place by watching this video.
Transcript: A diagnosis of bipolar disorder may have a significant impact on your ability to work, but it doesn't...
A diagnosis of bipolar disorder may have a significant impact on your ability to work, but it doesn't mean you can't. Many people with this mental illness continue working, and enjoy fulfilling lives. One of your first considerations may be whether you need to tell your boss or coworkers about your illness. If bipolar disorder is affecting your work performance or causing absences, it may be helpful to explain what's going on. If you decide to talk about your illness at work, realize that most people have heard of bipolar disorder, but they may have an inaccurate understanding, or negative, preconceived notions, about what the illness involves. It's best to start with facts. Bipolar is a mood disorder causing dramatic up and down mood swings. As with other medical conditions, like diabetes or hypertension, you take medication and see a medical professional to help manage your symptoms. It may be helpful to provide materials about the illness, or suggest websites providing additional information about bipolar disorder. The better you advocate for yourself and educate others about the illness, the less skeptical and more supportive they may be. If you work in a large company, it may be better to go directly to your human resources department, especially if you believe your boss wouldn't be sympathetic or are starting a new job. Once you make your employer aware of your bipolar disorder, you also gain protection under the law via the U.S. Department of Justice Americans with Disabilities Act. This protection is important because once you've disclosed your condition; your employer is required to arrange reasonable accommodations to enable you to perform your essential job functions. You may need to request a flexible schedule, working from home, longer or more frequent breaks, natural lighting, phone calls to doctors or other support people, and time off for therapy appointments. Managing your illness while in a stressful and demanding workplace may often pose a significant challenge. At the same time, working offers emotional benefits, such as a stable and structured environment, the natural boost productivity reflects on self-esteem and an opportunity for growing social support. If you think you may be suffering from bipolar disorder, please see a mental health professional. You can also find more videos about bipolar disorder on this websiteMore »
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It is possible to cope with bipolar disorder mood swings. By becoming more informed on how to handle your condition, you can minimize them and learn to deal with them. Watch this video.
Transcript: Bipolar disorder is typically characterized by extreme, unpredictable mood swings, ranging from the dramatic...
Bipolar disorder is typically characterized by extreme, unpredictable mood swings, ranging from the dramatic high of mania to the deep low of depression. Coping with these diverse emotional states can pose a monumental challenge for sufferers and the people who care about them. Also known as "manic-depression," the mood swings of bipolar disorder swing between the opposite "poles" of mania and depression. These distinct mood swings, called "episodes," may vary in intensity, ranging from mild to severe. For some people, these manic and depressive episodes may last for weeks or months, while others may experience shorter, more frequent episodes. Getting treatment for bipolar disorder is the most effective way to minimize or prevent mood swings. Experts also suggest that an increased awareness of situations or events that trigger manic or depressive episodes can help reduce their frequency and intensity. Maintaining a mood diary is extremely valuable for tracking your moods on a daily basis, observing how they fluctuate over time to help you become more aware of the symptoms or circumstances that typically precede a manic or depressive episode. Tracking your moods may help you spot increases in energy levels and sex drive that may indicate a pending manic episode. If your energy levels drop progressively, along with your self-esteem and ability to concentrate, a depressive episode may be developing. As well as getting help from a doctor and support from family and friends, knowing what your triggers are may help you head off an episode and keep a change in mood from turning into a major crisis. You may also find that healthy lifestyle changes can help you manage episode triggers. For example, too much or too little sleep may trigger a shift in mood. Try sticking to a regular sleeping schedule. A warm bath or calming music may help if you have trouble sleeping. Try to steer clear of stimulants, such as caffeine and nicotine, which can keep you awake and also pose a risk of triggering an episode. It's also important to avoid self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, which may potentially worsen depression symptoms, affect your medication's effectiveness or trigger a mood episode. If your days tend to be on the erratic side, you may find that establishing a regular routine may reduce stress and help provide a comforting sense of stability. Regular exercise helps reduce stress levels, relieves depression symptoms and may also help reduce manic energy. Episodes of mania or hypomania and depression may not always be preventable, but remaining vigilant about tracking moods, staying on medication, and keeping in touch with your mental health professional, can help you better cope with mood swings and lead a more fulfilling life. If you or someone you know is affected by bipolar disorder, please see a mental health professional. Learn more from additional videos on this site.More »
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People with bipolar disorder may engage in hypersexuality -- risky and impulsive sex during manic episodes. Watch this video to learn more about why bipolar disorder and hypersexuality occur together.
Transcript: Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings between depressive lows and manic highs. It's...
Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings between depressive lows and manic highs. It's within those highs of mania that inhibitions may evaporate, resulting in poor judgment and reckless behavior, including risky and impulsive sex, also known as hypersexuality. Not everyone with bipolar disorder experiences hypersexuality. However, the presence of significantly increased libido and reckless sexual behavior is not uncommon during a manic episode. It's also important to note that hypersexuality has nothing to do with a person's moral code. Symptoms of hypersexuality may include a significantly heightened sex drive resulting in constantly thinking about sex, a preoccupation with pornography, an abundance of one-night stands, engaging in sex with multiple partners or a lack of satisfaction following sex. Studies suggest that women report increased sexual intensity during mania or hypomania more frequently than men, but hypersexuality may often drive both sexes to engage in random and often unprotected sex, seek out prostitutes or have multiple affairs, even if in a committed relationship. Actress Mariette Hartley, who has a family a history of bipolar disorder and suicide, was diagnosed with the illness in 1994. After getting treatment, she discussed her struggle with hypersexuality, and the mania that prevented her from acknowledging the negative consequences of her sexual indiscretions. Hypersexuality may result in tremendous guilt and regret once mania subsides, as well as being devastating to relationships. Hypersexuality may also be extremely dangerous because both caution, and condoms, may be thrown to the wind, underscoring the need for ongoing treatment of bipolar disorder. However, hypersexuality isn't a separate condition that needs its own treatment. Rather, it is addressed in the context of the overall illness. Treating the symptoms of bipolar disorder and getting the mania under control most often helps manage hypersexuality as well. These treatments may include mood stabilizing, antidepressant and antipsychotic medications, along with cognitive-behavioral therapy, which involves techniques to help sufferers recognize distorted thinking and replace it with better thought processes and behaviors. In addition, treatment may incorporate various forms of counseling, which may also include family members. If you or someone you know is affected by bipolar disorder, please see a mental health professional. To learn more, see additional videos about bipolar disorder on this site.More »
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Bipolar disorder and suicide are closely related. Twenty-five to 50 percent of bipolar patients will attempt suicide at some point. Learn how to prevent suicide during a low moment.
Transcript: Bipolar Disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings between manic highs and depressive lows. In...
Bipolar Disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings between manic highs and depressive lows. In some instances, the intense sadness and hopelessness of the depressive phase may be so severe that the risk of self-injury and suicide become extremely high. It's believed that people affected by Bipolar Disorder are more likely to attempt suicide than those suffering from regular depression, especially those who have frequent depressive episodes, mixed episodes, early onset of the illness, or history of abusing drugs or alcohol. Bipolar depression is associated with reduced levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine-which regulate mood. This chemical imbalance is believed to contribute to the emotional and physical pain sufferers often experience. Suicide is an especially grave risk for bipolar depression sufferers. It's estimated that 25 to 50 percent of sufferers attempt suicide and approximately 15 percent succeed. As a result, it's extremely important to know the warning signs. Indicators that a person may be contemplating suicide include: preoccupation with death or dying, talking or joking about suicide, giving away prized possessions and visiting or calling people in a way that that appears to be saying goodbye. Other risk factors include deepening depression, previous suicide threats, recent death of a loved one, separation or divorce, hoarding pills or possessing a firearm. Research suggests heightened risk during the early stages of the illness, so any talk of suicide should be taken seriously. Never leave a suicidal person alone or construe a suicide threat as a bid for attention. In some cases, a bipolar depression sufferer may unexpectedly switch from extreme sadness to suddenly appearing happy and calm. This sudden lift in spirits is rarely a change for the positive and may actually be the precursor to suicide, signaling he's decided to end his life. Suicide risk may be heightened if sufferers attempt to cope with feelings of despair by "self-medicating" with alcohol or drugs, which can impair judgment, reduce effectiveness of medication and heighten impulsiveness. Self-injury, like cutting or burning, may also serve as a way to cope with troubling emotions like guilt, anger, anxiety and hopelessness, or serve as a cry for help. Regardless of the intent, self-injury is always serious and may leave deep scars, physically and emotionally. Some studies suggest serious suicidal intent may be present in up to 15 percent of people who use self-injury as a coping mechanism. Warning signs of self-injury include unexplained, frequent cuts or burns, wearing long sleeves even in warm weather, low self-esteem, and poor functioning at home, school or work.If you or someone you know suffers from bipolar disorder and may be considering suicide or self-injury, please get help immediately.More »
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Bipolar disorder has been depicted in the media numerous times, but does it accurately capture the illness and its symptoms? Find out in this video.
Transcript: How accurate is the media's characterization of bipolar disorder? Does it help educate the public in...
How accurate is the media's characterization of bipolar disorder? Does it help educate the public in a positive manner or distort perceptions of what it's like to live with the illness? Let's take a look. In many ways, the media has raised awareness of bipolar disorder through movies and TV programs. However, audiences who are unfamiliar with the illness may be unable to distinguish between actual bipolar symptoms and the film industry's tendency to take liberty with the facts. One of the earliest movies to address bipolar disorder was the 1956 film, Lust for Life, with Kirk Douglas portraying artist Vincent Van Gogh. Depicting Van Gogh as the archetypical "mad genius," the film essentially chronicles a passionate, but tortured life. The tortured genius theme also prevailed in Pollock, the story of abstract expressionist artist, Jackson Pollock, played by Ed Harris. A reclusive alcoholic who suffered from depression and infamous for his volatile personality, Pollock was never diagnosed. But the film's portrayal suggests bipolar disorder. In Mr. Jones, Richard Gere convincingly played a classic manic-depressive seeking psychiatric treatment. While the 1993 film offered a realistic portrayal of bipolar mood swings, its focus was largely on the relationship that developed between Mr. Jones and his psychiatrist. More recently, the George Clooney film, Michael Clayton, featured the apparently bipolar Arthur Edens, played by Tom Wilkinson. A law firm's top litigator and much-needed conscience, Edens stops his medication, resulting in a meltdown and an awakening, propelling him on a quest to right the firm's wrongdoings. Television also has its share of bipolar characters and may even offer more accurate depictions of the illness. Most notable was Sally Field's recurring role on ER as Maggie Wyczinski, the bipolar mother of Dr. Abby Lockhart. The episodes conveyed a largely realistic and compassionate portrayal of the struggles the illness caused between mother and daughter and the importance of staying on medication, while addressing concerns about genetic risk. Realistic media portrayals enable viewers affected by bipolar disorder to see themselves or a loved one in the character, which encourages them to seek treatment or envision themselves successfully managing their illness. And, while soap operas almost never mirror reality, General Hospital's "mob boss" Sonny Corinthos is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and agrees to get treatment and take medication. Actor Maurice Benard, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in real life, plays Sonny. More recently, the character of Erin Silver on the new 90210 series was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a friend whose mother suffers from the illness recognized the symptoms. The episode concluded with a public service announcement about where to get help. If you think you, or someone you know, may be suffering from bipolar disorder, please see a mental health professional. You can also find more videos about bipolar disorder on this website.More »
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