Mental Health Awareness Week – Bipolar

Thank you for returning, and thank you for reading! I hope you are learning more about mental health, and that this knowledge helps you help yourself, or assist a friend or family member. I’ve been getting some very touching emails – powerful stories. Thank you so much for sharing, and for having the courage to fight the good fight every single day. Soon I hope stigma will be a thing of the past, and anyone who needs mental health care will have access to it, without shame, blame, or guilt.

Welcome to Day 4 of Mental Health Awareness Week, where we’re spreading the message of hope and decreasing the stigma associated with mental illness! Today we’ll look about Bipolar Disorder, a mental health diagnosis affecting 10 million people in this country alone, which is characterized by “extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning.”

Bipolar is usually characterized by the presence of both depression, and mania, both described below courtesy of the National Alliance for Mental Illness.

What are the symptoms of mania?

Mania is the word that describes the activated phase of bipolar disorder. The symptoms of mania may include:

  • either an elated, happy mood or an irritable, angry, unpleasant mood
  • increased physical and mental activity and energy
  • racing thoughts and flight of ideas
  • increased talking, more rapid speech than normal
  • ambitious, often grandiose plans
  • risk taking
  • impulsive activity such as spending sprees, sexual indiscretion, and alcohol abuse
  • decreased sleep without experiencing fatigue

What are the symptoms of depression?

Depression is the other phase of bipolar disorder. The symptoms of depression may include:

  • loss of energy
  • prolonged sadness
  • decreased activity and energy
  • restlessness and irritability
  • inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • increased feelings of worry and anxiety
  • less interest or participation in, and less enjoyment of activities normally enjoyed
  • feelings of guilt and hopelessness
  • thoughts of suicide
  • change in appetite (either eating more or eating less)
  • change in sleep patterns (either sleeping more or sleeping less)

Let’s learn more about Bipolar disorder here. And as always, please remember the following programs are available to help!

www.nami.org (National Alliance for Mental Illness – the largest grassroots mental health advocacy organization in the country.  They offer groups, resource referral, family services, and information for anyone in need)

 www.mentalhealthamerica.net (Mental Health America – programs, advocacy, and public education)

 www.dbsalliance.org (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – they also offer groups, resource referral, family services, and information for anyone in need)

www.aa.org (Alcoholics Anonymous – information on the program and how to find meetings)

www.na.org (Narcotics Anonymous – information on the program and how to find meetings)

http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/ (Al-Anon – information on meetings and resources for friends and family members of people who have a problem with alcohol or drugs, including a section specifically for teens)

www.samhsa.gov (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – a government agency with tons of good information including research-supported treatment options for drug/alcohol abuse and mental health problems)

http://www.thehotline.org/ (National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-SAFE. Information and resources about domestic violence and how to break the cycle of abuse)

www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org (Suicide Prevention Website – also call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) if you are in emotional crisis or need to talk.  This service is free and confidential.)

http://www.who.int/mental_health/en/ (World Health Organization – dedicated to research and treatment around the world on issues related to physical and mental health)

*Note: All posts this week are written with the hope of providing support and encouragement, and raising awareness. Trained mental health professional may be available in your area to provide assistance. If you or someone you love is concerned about your immediate safety for any reason, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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