Icipating In Clinical Research
Clinical research is medical research that involves people like you. People volunteer to participate in carefully conducted investigations that ultimately uncover better ways to treat, prevent, diagnose, and understand human disease. Clinical research includes trials that test new treatments and therapies as well as long-term natural history studies, which provide valuable information about how disease and health progress.
Please Note: Decisions about participating in a clinical trial and determining which ones are best suited for you are best made in collaboration with your licensed health professional.
What Causes Bipolar Behavior
In my last article, why have some people commitment issues, I said that most of the people keep on changing the direction of their life perpetually. A person who keeps on changing his/her lifes direction shall not go anywhere. These lines make a lot of sense to all of us but still, there are many people who keep on taking u-turns in their life. WHY?
This is because most of the people are in auto-pilot mode. The one who has a plan and is working on it knows where he/she is going. There is nothing like a failure for such person because they know where they are and where they are going.
Bipolar people are either euphoric or miserable because they are not capable of planning. There are two ways in which you can taste success. One is by chance and the other is striving. A bipolar person belongs to the former group. The truth is we cant win the lottery all the time so its sensible to follow the latter group.
Manic And Hypomanic Episodes: What Is The Difference
- You’re easily distracted
- You feel as though your thoughts are racing
- You experience an exaggerated level of self-confidence and self-importance
- Your need for sleep is reduced
- You’re unusually or excessively talkative
- You engage in impulsive, reckless behavior with no consideration of the consequences
In manic episodes with both elevated and irritable moods, symptoms are present most of the day, every day.
For a behavior change to be considered a manic episode, it must meet the following criteria:
- Be a distinct and noticeable change in mood and functioning
- Include noticeable problems in your day-to-day activities or require hospitalization to prevent harm to yourself or others
- Not be the result of alcohol or drug use, a medication you’re taking, or another medical condition
For a behavior change to be considered a hypomanic episode, it must meet these standards:
- Involve a distinct and noticeable change in mood and functioning
- Not be significant enough to disrupt daily activities or require hospitalization
- Not be the result of alcohol or drug use, a medication you’re taking, or another medical condition
- Not have any associated psychotic symptoms
Effects Of Alcohol On Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar and alcohol symptoms are often difficult to differentiate. Alcohol can increase the intensity of symptoms, leading to volatile mood swings, extreme mania, or severe depression. Manic episodes can also lead to binge drinking. If one drinks excessively, bipolar and alcohol blackouts can lead to injury or death due to falls or other accidents, a risk that is already elevated in people with bipolar.
You Act Out Toward Others
I have written about how I used to be promiscuous in a very unhealthy way. I only talk about it again because I want to reiterate that these behaviors are sometimes only responses to having experienced trauma.
It’s not you and if it is you, then no one should judge it. But this isnt the case for people who experience the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder/Bipolar Disorder. Sometimes, dissociating and living a life outside of your body is more comfortable.
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Bipolar Disorder In Children And Teens
Bipolar disorders are most common in older adolescents and teens, but children can also be diagnosed with the disorder at a younger age. While not nearly as common in children as it is in adults, research studies have revealed that bipolar disorder affects as many as 3% of all children and up to 7% of children receiving outpatient psychiatric care. Bipolar disorder has been diagnosed in children as young as 5. When young children experience symptoms, this is called early-onset bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is more likely to affect the children of parents who have the disorder. When one parent has bipolar disorder, the risk to each child is l5 to 30%. When both parents have bipolar disorder, the risk increases to 50 to 75%.
Bipolar in kids also causes distinct mood episodes from mania or hypomania to depression. However, because kids and adolescents can act out, have difficulty in school or at home, and display some of the symptoms of bipolar disorders, like restlessness, impulsivity, risky behaviors, and an inflated view of capabilities, even when they dont have the disorder, it can be difficult to diagnose.
What Do You Do To Keep Well
Keeping well when you have bipolar is an interesting concept. For some it revolves exclusively around manging moods. For others it means fitting life around moods.
For me, and others like me who are deep into a recovery that seems to be holding, its about keeping an eye, and investing in the things that help us all boost our mental health.
For many, if not most people with bipolar, life and keeping well includes taking medication.
Blogger Tanya said:
The thing I most prioritise with keeping myself well is to be strict in taking my medication. Missing doses or tweaking them without professional help can be devastating.
Again, Im going to buck the trend and say I dont take medication routinely. I took lithium for a decade, and then wanted, once I knew myself and had done my research, to try tapering off. That was eight years ago, and Ive managed it. I did it carefully, over two years, with support, whilst learning other techniques.
For 13 years, I took medication, but in the past six months, I’ve been trying to cope without it. So I have to be super careful, and alas, super boring. I don’t drink a lot, I have relatively early nights when I can.
Bipolar can also be triggered by trauma, or other life events and sometimes part of therapy is addressing underlying concerns to get someone to a point where they can start to see a life worth living.
Hannah has a rigid menu:
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How Is Mania Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history, family medical history, current prescriptions and non-prescription medications and any herbal products or supplements you take. Your provider may order blood tests and body scans to rule out other conditions that may mimic mania. One such condition is hyperthyroidism. If other diseases and conditions are ruled out, your provider may refer you to a mental health specialist
To be diagnosed with mania, your mental health specialist may follow the criteria of the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5. Their criteria for manic episode is:
- You have an abnormal, long-lasting elevated expression of emotion along with a high degree of energy and activity that lasts for at least one week and is present most of the day, nearly every day.
- You have three or more symptoms to a degree that theyre a noticeable change from your usual behavior .
- The mood disturbance is severe enough to cause significant harm to your social, work or school functioning or theres a need to hospitalize you to prevent you from harming yourself or others, or you have psychotic features, such as hallucinations or delusions.
- The manic episode cant be caused by the effects of a substance or another medical condition.
Treatment Options For Bipolar Disorder And Alcohol Use
Alcohol abuse and bipolar disorder are two conditions that are lifelong. While they are complex and impact every area of a personÃ¢s life, most mental illnesses and alcohol addiction are treatable conditions. Medication is one of the primary treatment methods for bipolar disorder, especially when it comes to easing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and some of the medication has the added benefit of lowering alcohol consumption as well. Lamotrigine and alcohol in bipolar disorder have been studied, and when taking the drug, it is reported that alcohol cravings are lower and the amount of alcohol consumed is less as well. On the right medication, mood swings are regulated, and the mania and depression are held off.
Talk therapy, education, and support are other treatments that can help those with bipolar and alcohol disorders. Talk therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, can help a person identify any negative or unhelpful thoughts and find new and healthier ways to look at the problems. Education is a major component of treatment for mental illness and alcohol abuse, as it is vital for anyone with both conditions to know what the risks are, how to stay healthy, and how to keep to balanced routine and lifestyle that limits the risk of mood swings. Support groups are also beneficial and common with it comes to alcoholism. There can be specific support groups, like 12 step groups, for individuals with a mental illness like bipolar disorder and alcoholism.
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What Risks And Complications Can Bipolar Disorder Cause
There can be complications and risks for people who live with bipolar disorder. But these risks can be lessened with the right support and treatment.
What about suicide and self-harm?
You might have an illness where you experience psychosis, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Your risk of suicide is estimated to be between 5% and 6% higher than the general population.
You are more likely to try to take your own life if you have a history of attempted suicide and depression. It is important that you get the right treatment for your symptoms of depression and have an up to date crisis plan.
There is also research that suggests you are 30% – 40% more likely to self-harm if you live with bipolar disorder.
What about financial risk?
If you have mania or hypomania you may struggle to manage your finances. You may spend lots of money without thinking about the effect that it may have on your life.
You could make a Lasting Power of Attorney. This is a legal process. This means that you pick someone that you trust to manage your finances if you lack mental capacity to manage them by yourself.
You can work with your carer and mental health team. You can form an action plan. This can say what they can do if you have a period of mania or hypomania and you start to make poor financial decisions.
What about physical health risk?
What about alcohol and drugs risk?
If you want advice or help with alcohol or drug use contact your GP.
What about driving risk?
So Much More Than My Diagnosis
Life offers no guarantees. None, whatsoever. And surely, to the dismay of my parents and husband at times, it offers no return policies, either. It can only be faced head-on, day by day, and, at times, minute by minute.
Thankfully, my bipolarity is no longer a bombshell admission or headline story in my life. My initial feelings of shame and brokenness have faded, and I finally view my disorder through my friends eyes as something I have, not something I am. It doesnt define my relationships or me. I am more than my mental illness. So much more. My disorder is an added bonus feature to the already complex, dramatic, passionate, square-pegged person I am. I choose to view my wild creativity and bursts of rocket-fuelled energy as gifts that can be tamed and harnessed to pursue my wildest dreams and accomplish amazing goals. The positive things in my life far outnumber the negatives I need only remind myself which should hold the most weight. Im making the most of my best parts and managing the worst.
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Heres The Good Newsyes There Is Good News
Bipolar disorder is an episodic illness. We have all of our symptoms while in a mood swing. This means we are STABLE when we are not in a mood swing. The symptoms I list above usually go away when the illness is successfully managed. It can take regular monitoring for those of us who have daily symptoms. Others who have long breaks between mood swings may even forget the symptoms even existed. This is why we must have a management plan that can recognize the dangerous, aggressive, and violent behavior psychosis and cognitive impairment as soon as they begin.
I know we want to protect our reputation around this illness. We dont want to be seen as different or freaks. But I ask that within our community, we get brutally honest about what really happens to those of us with the illness. Its the ONLY way to stop the symptoms and make them stay away forever!
Originally posted January 29, 2015.
Bipolar Disorder In Women
The presentation and course of bipolar disorder differs in men and women.
The following features of bipolar disorder tend to be more common in women than in men:
- Later age of onset
- Additional medical and psychiatric disorder conditions, particularly thyroid disease, eating disorders, migraine and anxiety disorders
- Delayed diagnosis and treatment
Women with bipolar disorder tend to have more depressive symptoms and different accompanying conditions than men. There is a high risk of symptoms recurring after giving birth and during menopause. Bipolar disorder in women also correlates with increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, weight gain, unplanned pregnancies and cardiovascular disease.
Gender is not thought to affect response to mood stabilizing medication, though treatment can pose a risk to the developing fetus in pregnant women. Pregnancy does not protect from nor exacerbate bipolar disorder, so many women require continuation of medication during this time. The time after giving birth, the so-called postpartum period, however, does increase the risk of onset and recurrence of bipolar disorder.
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Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Can Make You Seem Mean And Nasty Determining What Actions Stem From Bipolar Disorder Mood Swings Can Help
Negative thoughts can be a normal part of bipolar disorder depression. This means you can have them no matter what you really think about a situation. I acted on these thoughts for years before I was diagnosed.
When I was finally diagnosed at age 31, I still didnt understand how the illness affected my behavior. I had to write my own treatment plan in order to get better. I wrote down all of my behaviors and eventually determined what was the real me and what was the bipolar disorder. The mean and nasty Julie was ALWAYS the illness. Even now, its a terrific challenge to keep my thoughts to myself when the negative mood swings are raging.
You’re Just Overreacting Again
Overreacting is a symptom of bipolar disorder, but phrases like this minimize the person’s experience of this symptom. When supporting a loved one living with a mental health condition like bipolar disorder, it’s important that your words demonstrate empathy rather than exasperation.
Your loved one may very well be overreacting compared to how you would perceive the situation, but describing their feelings as “just” overreacting trivializes their lived experience and communicates shame rather than compassion.
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Treating Alcohol Use Disorder And Bipolar Disorder
Someone who has both a drinking problem and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder can benefit from dual diagnosis treatment. This involves the integration of mental health treatment with drug and alcohol rehabilitation. The first step is going to alcohol detox.
People with bipolar disorder may experience severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. For this reason, nobody should attempt to detox from alcohol alone. Instead, medications can be prescribed at a detox facility to help manage the symptoms and ensure a safe detox process. Since bipolar disorder and alcoholism are so complex, patients should attend a residential treatment program after completing detox.
During residential treatment, dual diagnosis patients will participate in a variety of different treatment therapies to address their individual needs. These include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
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What Are The Causes Of Bipolar Disorder
There is no single cause of bipolar disorder. Researchers are studying how a few factors may lead to it in some people.
For example, sometimes it can simply be a matter of genetics, meaning you have it because it runs in your family. The way your brain develops may also play a role, but scientists arenât exactly sure how or why.
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Bipolar Relationships: What To Expect
Ups and downs are natural in any romantic relationship, but when your partner has bipolar disorder it can feel like youre on an emotional rollercoaster. Not knowing what to expect each day is stressful and tiring. Over time, it wears on the relationship.
Understanding why your partner acts out sometimes or becomes withdrawn is the first supportive step you can take in strengthening your relationship. Learn exactly what a bipolar diagnosis means, how it could affect your partners behavior and what you can do to foster a healthy, stable relationship.