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Bipolar Disorder

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive disorder, causes dramatic mood swings with severe highs (mania) and severe lows (depression). The mood changes can be either dramatic and rapid, or gradual.

There are 2 major types of bipolar disorder:

  1. Bipolar I Disorder is diagnosed if you have had more than one period of manic symptoms, lasting at least one week. Chances are you have periods of depression as well.
  2. Bipolar II Disorder is diagnosed if you have had less severe periods of manic symptoms, and have had at least one period of depression, lasting at least 2 weeks.

About 5.7 million American adults have bipolar disorder in a given year. Men and women are equally likely to experience bipolar disorder. The good news is that with therapy, your moods can begin to stabilize.

Tips for Feeling Better

Although the exact causes of bipolar disorder are unknown, it may be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Medications that affect this chemical imbalance may play a role in treating bipolar disorder.

For some people, medicine is combined with psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” is an effective way to treat bipolar disorder. Talking with a psychiatrist or other qualified health care professional may help you explore your relationships, feelings, and experiences in a meaningful way.

Maintain your therapy and continue working with your health care provider. Your best chance to relieve your symptoms is to seek treatment early and continue therapy as recommended by your health care provider.

Symptoms can include:

During a depressed phase you may feel:

  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Restlessness
  • Decreased pleasure/interest

During a manic phase you might be:

  • More active
  • More talkative
  • Extremely energetic
  • Experiencing periods of sleeplessness
  • Experiencing inflated self-esteem

Everyone has mood swings from time to time, but with bipolar disorder, the mood disturbances are severe enough to interfere with your ability to function in your relationships, at work, or in other areas of your life.

Friends and family members can play an important role in helping you cope with bipolar disorder. Keep in mind that knowing the facts about bipolar disorder can help you make progress, and it can also help your loved ones help you.

Exercise and eating right may help improve your overall health. Whether or not this is your first experience with a nutrition or exercise regimen, you will be taking an important step.

You may also find helpful information at these links


Generalized Anxiety Disorder

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?

Everyone feels anxious from time to time, like when they have to meet a deadline or deliver a presentation. But with GAD a constant and exaggerated sense of worry interferes with daily life. This can lead you to expect the worst when dealing with issues related to money, health, family, or work, even when there is no sign of trouble.

GAD affects about 4 million American adults. Nearly twice as many women as men are affected. The good news is that it is possible to manage the symptoms of GAD.

Tips for Feeling Better

  • As with any medical condition, GAD should be treated by a health care professional. Many people benefit from talk therapy, medication, or both. Continue working with your health care provider to tailor your treatment plan to what works best for you.
  • Talk therapy (psychotherapy) helps you work toward changing the way you view the world around you and how you react to it. Talking with a psychiatrist or another qualified healthcare professional can help you explore your relationships, feelings, and experiences in a meaningful way to help you interact with others again.

You may experience a few symptoms or you may feel overwhelmed by many symptoms. The key signs of GAD are anxiety and worry that are difficult to control and have lasted for at least 6 months.

Symptoms can also include:

  • Restlessness or feeling on edge
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty sleeping

Although the exact causes of GAD are unknown, it may be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Therefore, medications that affect this chemical imbalance may play a role in your treatment. Talk with your health care provider about medications that are used to treat this disorder.

See the Therapy for Depression or Anxiety Disorders info sheet for more information.

You may also find helpful information at these links:


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can happen if you have seen or experienced an extremely traumatic event in which you felt that you or someone else was at risk of death or serious injury.

PTSD involves intense fear during the event, reliving the event in your mind, avoiding things that remind you of the event, feeling numb or detached from people, and generally feeling anxious or on guard.

About 5.2 million American adults are affected by PTSD. PTSD is seen more often in women than in men. It can occur at any age, including childhood. The good news is that with therapy, you can begin to feel better.

Tips for Feeling Better

Discuss your treatment options with your health care provider so that together, you can take steps to help you begin to feel better again.

  • Talk therapy (psychotherapy) can make trauma memories more manageable and can help you develop new coping skills.
  • Group treatment can help by allowing you to share your experience within the safety and support of other survivors.
  • Stress management techniques and meditation may help calm you and can complement therapy.
  • Friends and family members can play an important role in helping you cope.
  • Medication can help treat the symptoms you may be experiencing.

Symptoms can include:

  • Disturbing memories, dreams, or flashbacks of the event
  • Becoming distressed by, or avoiding things that remind you of the event, such as places, people, thoughts, feelings, or conversations
  • Feeling numb or detached from people
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability or angry outbursts
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling on guard and startling easily

Symptoms tend to change over time.

With PTSD, the symptoms are persistent and last for more than a month. PTSD causes significant distress, which can make it difficult to function in your social life, at work, or in other important areas of your life.

Take an active role in your overall health:

  • Learn more about your illness, personal triggers, and coping strategies.
  • Exercise regularly and eat healthy foods.
  • Share your feelings by talking with friends and family.
  • Partner with your doctor to help maximize treatment success.

You may also find helpful information at these links:


Depression

What is depression?

Depression is a serious mental condition. Everyone experiences “ups” and “downs” in their life. But for some people the “downs” can outweigh the “ups.” This can cause problems with everyday activities such as easting, sleeping, working, and getting along with friends. If this happens for more than a few weeks, depression may be the reason.

Depression is very common - it affects an estimated 19 million American adults every year. Nearly twice as many women (12%) as men (6.6%) suffer from depression each year. The good news is that it is possible to manage the symptoms of depression.

Tips for Feeling Better

Your best chance to virtually eliminate the symptoms of depression is to seek treatment as early as possible and continue therapy as recommended by your health care provider

Although the exact causes of depression are unknown, it may be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Medications that affect this chemical imbalance may play a role in treating depression

For some people, medicine is combined with psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” is an effective way to treat depression. Talking with a psychiatrist or other qualified health care professional may help you explore your relationships, feelings, and experiences in a meaningful way. Talk therapy is also covered by many insurance plans.

Symptoms can include:

  • Constant sadness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feelings of isolation, not as involved with family and friends
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Hopelessness
  • Feeling worthless or guilty for no reason
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Fatigue
  • Low energy
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Significant weight change

Friends and family members can play an important role in helping you cope with depression. Keep in mind that knowing the facts about depression can help you make progress, and it can also help your loved ones help you.

Exercise and eating right may help improve your overall health. Whether or not this is your first experience with a nutrition or exercise regimen, you will be taking an important step.

See the Therapy for Depression or Anxiety Disorders for more information.

You may also find helpful information at these links:

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