Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Depression, Recovery, part6

This post is the last in a series on depression. I want briefly to discuss bipolar disorder and how it differs from non bipolar depression. Bipolar disorder used to be called manic depressive illness. It is a modd disorder that affects 1-2% of the population and equally affects both men and women. It is a highly genetically influenced disorder and tends to run in families as well as sharing some links with migraine with aura. It is characterized by episodes of "highs" as well as depressed periods.

The bipolar highs can be euphoric but usually are not pleasant for the person with bioplar disorder but are characterized by frantic activity, racing thoughts, dosorganized behavior, loud, intrusive and at times obnoxious behavior, unrealistic highly inflated sense of one's abilities talents and greatness accompanied by rapid mood shifts with prominent agitation, irritability and at times hostile or aggressive behavior. The person in a manic state usually has remarably impaired judgment and is unable to see the behavior as abnormal or problematic and often will engage in reckless behavior or make very poor decisions. At times in severe cases there can be a loss of reality testing and the appearance of hallucinations or frank delusions.

Manic episodes can be dramatic but are treatable and the long term disability from this disorder is predominately due to the depressed periods which can become chronic and unremitting. Bipolar depression does not respond well to typical antidepressant medications and antidepressants can induce an episode of mania as well as lead to increased mood cycling. There are a number of mood stabilizing medications which are helpful but most of these are more effective for the manic phases of the illness Usually it requires a combination of medications to acheive longterm stability and medications are required life long.

A good resource for more information about depression and bipolar disorder an be found at www.dbsalliance.org which is the we site for the Depressiona and Bipolar Support Alliance.

Thought for the day

"A power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity"


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CARF - Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation FacilitiesNATSAP | National Association of Therapeutic Schools and ProgramsNBCCNAADAC