Blessed with the Fire
My own experience with Bipolar:
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder, or as it used to be called, manic-depression, is characterized by moods that swing between two opposite poles, alternating between periods of mania (exaggerated euphoria) and depression. The illness is further classified according to symptoms as Bipolar 1, Bipolar 2, and Cyclothymic Disorder. There can also be an important difference in Bipolar in Children, as discussed later.
People with Bipolar1 may experience depressive and manic episodes or just manic episodes (although this is very rare). People with Bipolar 2 suffer primarily from depressive episodes with occasional bouts of hypomania (low-grade manic symptoms), but they do not experience full-blown manic phases. In cyclothymic disorder, periods of hypomania alternate with depression. It is not as severe as Bipolar 2, and 1, but the condition is more persistent, enduring at least two years, with no break in symptoms that last more than two months. Cyclothymic Disorder may be a precursor to full-blown Bipolar Disorder in some people or may continue as a low-grade chronic condition.
In most cases of Bipolar Disorder, the depressive phases far outnumber manic phases, and the cycles of mania and depression are not regular or predictable (although it seems that spring and fall are the worst times for most Persons suffering from Bipolar Disorder). In a subtype of the illness known as rapid cycling, the manic and depressive stages alternate at least four times a year and in severe cases can progress to several cycles a day. Bipolar Disorder has confounded the medical profession for centuries, but only in the last forty years have doctors begun to understand the disorder and to develop successful treatments.
What are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
Depressive episodes associated with Bipolar Disorder are less likely to have a specific trigger, are not as long, and develop more gradually than those caused by major depression. One interesting study reported that Bipolar Patients often experience dreams of death at the low point of their depression, and these dreams were soon followed by an upward mood change.
A manic episode usually comes on suddenly, and it often, but not always, follows a period of severe depression. An episode lasts for at least a week and can continue for months. Friends and family members of a person with Bipolar Disorder who is entering a manic phase for the first time may be relieved at first by the patients increased energy level, gaiety, and sociability. It soon becomes apparent, however, that the person's mood is too "hyper" and that the behavior is strange.
Symptoms of a manic episode include:
It is a less severe variant of mania; it is of shorter duration, although it lasts at least four days. Patients with hypomania do not have severely impaired functioning and generally do not require hospitalization.
Manic-depression, also currently known as Bipolar Disorder, has baffled medical practitioners for thousands of years. Observers as far back as Plato have written of its strange behaviors and its apparent link to creative genius. There is still a tremendous amount of stigma and discrimination. Since manic-depression is genetic, you really want kids to know that there is a certain risk. If they start getting depressed, they know that they've got an illness that can be treated, they can go to a doctor and get good care. When it comes just out of the blue, it can be awful. There is no reason to have stigma attached to this disorder, but that doesn't mean that there isn't.
When making a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, it is important that the physician rule-out other conditions that may be causing symptoms of mania. Hypomania, the less severe variant of mania, may be difficult to distinguish from normal joy or euphoria, but it can be differentiated by its persistence for more than a day; in addition, most hypomanic patients are easily distracted and overly talkative.
Some people think that it's important to find a doctor who specializes in the field. For that, you have to seek a Psychiatrist who belongs to the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP). A directory listing is not a guarantee of excellence or expertise, but it is a good place to start.
To get a Life chart (to keep mood changes noted) call 1-800-518-7326. The chart is put out by the Stanley Foundation Bipolar Network, a program of NAMI Research Institute.
People with alcoholism may be able to give up alcohol, but people with Bipolar Disorder cannot give up their mind. Bipolar Disorder results from an imbalance of chemicals in the brain...it is not their fault.
Links for more info on Bipolar:
|Bipolar and Depression Information|
|Bipolar in Children|
|Bipolar Meds - Abilify|
|Bipolar's Significant Others|
|Highly Sensitive Persons|
|Hypnosis for Mental Health|
|Med Charts for BP|
|Mental Health Information|
|National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association
(also to find Support Groups)
|National Alliance for the Mentally Ill|
|National Institute of Mental Health|
|National Mental Health Association|
|Psychology of the Self|
|Techniques of dealing with a Bipolar Child|
Books and other Resources:
|A Brilliant Madness by Patty Duke||
In her revealing bestseller Call Me Anna, Patty Duke shared her long-kept secret: the talented, Oscar-winning actress who won our hearts on The Patty Duke Show was suffering from a serious-but-treatable-mental illness called manic depression. For nearly twenty years, until she was correctly diagnosed at age thirty-five, she careened between periods of extreme euphoria and debilitating depression, prone to delusions and panic attacks, temper tantrums, spending sprees, and suicide attempts. Now in A Brilliant Madness Patty Duke joins with medical reporter Gloria Hochman to shed light on this powerful, paradoxical, and destructive illness. From what it's like to live with manic-depressive disorder to the latest findings on its most effective treatments, this compassionate and eloquent book provides profound insight into the challenge of mental illness. And though Patty's story, which ends in a new found happiness with her cherished family, it offers hope for all those who suffer from mood disorders and for the family, friends, and physicians who love and care for them.
|Bipolar Child (the) by Demitri Papolos, M.D. and Janice Papolos||
Bipolar disorder--manic depression--was once thought to be rare in children. Now researchers are discovering that not only can bipolar disorder begin very early in life, but also that it is much more common than ever imagined. Yet the illness is often misdiagnosed or overlooked. Why? Bipolar disorder manifests itself differently in children than in adults, and in children there is an overlap of symptoms with other childhood psychiatric disorders. As a result, these kids may be given any number of psychiatric labels: "ADHD," "Depressed," "Oppositional Defiant Disorder," "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder," or "Separation Anxiety Disorder." Too often they are treated with stimulants or antidepressants--medications that can actually worsen the bipolar condition.
Since the publication of the first edition, thousands of families have gotten to the root of their children’s behaviors, and found the answers they were looking for in The Bipolar Child. Drawing upon recent advances in the fields of neuroscience and genetics, the Papoloses convey what is known and not known about the illness. They comprehensively detail the diagnosis, tell how to find good treatment and medications, and advise parents about ways to advocate effectively for their children at school. Included in these pages is the first Individual Education Plan--IEP--ever published for a bipolar child. The book also offers critical information about the stages of adolescence, hospitalization, the world of insurance, and the psychological impact the illness has on the child. New to this edition are information on promising new mood-stabilizing drugs and omega-3 fatty acids, more advice on getting appropriate school accommodations, and a full discussion about the complexities of family life when more than one family member has the illness. A critical new chapter deals with the deficits in the area of executive functions that have recently been identified as a common feature of a bipolar disorder. This chapter walks parents through a neuropsychological testing and–for the first time–recommends a specific battery of tests that should be administered to these children and adolescents.
The Bipolar Child is rich with the voices of parents, siblings, and the children themselves, opening up the long-closed world of the families struggling with this condition. Already proven, in its original edition, to be an invaluable resource for parents whose children suffer from mood disorders, as well as the professionals who treat and educate them, this book will prove to have major public health significance.
|Bipolar Disorder Demystified by Lana R. Castle||
Bipolar disorder, a brain disorder characterized by intense high and low moods, is a complex illness that is often difficult to identify. Each year, at least 2.3 million Americans suffer from its most severe form, while an estimated 10–13 million others suffer from milder forms. Yet, many go misdiagnosed or untreated. In Bipolar Disorder Demystified, author Lana Castle, who has lived most of her life with this illness, turns her personal experience into an enlightening and useful guide for all those traveling down the same path. In clear and compassionate language, Castle helps those who suffer from the illness as well as their friends and family understand the true nature of bipolar disorder, the factors that complicate its diagnosis, and the best ways to cope with it. Bipolar Disorder Demystified makes great strides in dispelling the mystery surrounding this illness, helping readers decide if it’s time to seek treatment and providing those with any form of mood disorder the information they need to better manage their lives.
|Bipolar not ADHD by George Isaac, MD||
Uncrecognized Epidemic of Manic Depressive Illness in Children
This book is intended to make everyone aware of how Bipolar Disorder, otherwise known as Manic Depressive Illness, especially in its atypical forms, is presently misunderstood and misdiagnosed as ADHD, Conduct Disorder, and other related behavioral disorders. It is also intended to make professionals and others who deal with troubled children become competent in identifying this serious and pervasive illness in children and adolescents and of being help to them.
A brief discussion of the etiology and treatment available for this illness and the social ramifications of this illness and its misdiagnosis in children are also included.
The book would be very valuable for psychiatrists, child psychiatrists, other professionals in the mental health fields, and students and professionals interested in child psychiatry and mental health of children.
|Defiant Child (the) by Dr. Douglas A. Riley||
This is a Parent's Guide to Oppositional Defiant Disorder, but has some very useful information for Parent's of Children with Bipolar Disorder as well. Just apply the information to your child as needed.
The title of the book will immediately grab the attention of parents who hunger for information about children diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (O.D.D). There is little information available for the general public about this disorder even though it is rapidly becoming a diagnosis of choice by many doctors. The Defiant Child is well written and easy to read. It attempts to give a tough no-nonsense approach for parents to remain in control when the child is displaying negative, angry and hostile behavior toward adults. It implies that many teenagers display O.D.D. behavior. It is most effective when it outlines the rules O.D.D. children live by and provides intervention strategies for parents to curb O.D.D. behavior. The impact of The Defiant Child is negated because it does not know its audience. It is written like a behavioral specialist plan for parents, but could prove most useful for clinicians who could interpret these plans for the parents. It is structured like a psychotherapeutic treatment plan that provides a behavioral definition of the disorder, goals and objectives, and therapeutic interventions. The treatment approach is the restructuring of the family system. The family structure approach generally relies on problem solving and the focus on future movement of the family from dysfunctional dynamics. It is filled with stories of children seen
|Depression and its Treatment by John H. Greist, M.D. & James W. Jefferson, M.D.||
Depression strikes millions with incomprehensible, uncontrollable unhappiness. Here at last is hope and help. A book that banishes fear and confusion, Depression and its Treatment offers step-by-step explanations and answers your questions on causes, effects, and many proven treatments.
The most up-to-date information on Prozac, Zoloft, and other recently FDA-approved drugs.
|Depression and Mania - Modern Lithium Therapy by F. Neil Johnson||
This book is an invaluable guide both for psychiatrists primarily interested in the practicalities of lithium therapy and for patients seeking information about their treatment. Each chapter describes a specific feature of lithium therapy while the contributors provide fresh approaches to the benefits and drawbacks of lithium usage.
This book comprises comprehensive reviews of all aspects of lithium treatment. It includes origins and chemistry, medical applications, comparisons with alternative therapies, clinical practice, side-effects, cost-effectiveness and its current and future status in psychiatric treatment. Practicing psychiatrists and students alike will find here fresh approaches to the benefits and drawbacks of lithium therapy.
|Difficult Child (the) by Stanley Turecki, M.D.||
I have not read this book yet, but it promises to have some parenting techniques that may help the Parent's of Bipolar Children
How to help--and cope with--the difficult child
Temperamentally difficult children can confuse and upset even experienced parents and teachers. They often act defiant, stubborn, loud, aggressive, or hyperactive. They can also be clingy, shy, whiny, picky, and impossible at bedtime, mealtimes, and in public places. This landmark book has been completely revised to include the latest information on ADHD, medications, and a reassuring approach to all aspects of childhood behavioral disorders.
In this parenting classic, Dr. Stanley Turecki, one of the nation's most respected experts on children and discipline--and himself the father of a once difficult child--offers compassionate and practical advice to parents of hard-to-raise children. Based on his experience with thousands of families in the highly successful Difficult Children Program he developed for Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, his step-by-step approach shows you how to:
Identify your child's temperament using a ten-point test to pinpoint specific difficulties
|Family Education in Mental Illness by Agnes B. Hatfield||
With current trends toward family care of individuals with major mental illness, it is now generally accepted that families need a firm knowledge base and wide range of skills in order to cope with a mentally ill relative. Toward this end, educational programs are developing all over the country. However, little attention has been given to education as a discipline or to the contributions that educational psychology can make to more effective instruction and skill development. A resource that will help professionals become more effective family educators, Family Education in Mental Illness is the first book to delineate the key elements for creating curricula in family education by combining what is known about mental illness with essential principles of education.
Singular characteristics of the volume are its focus on understanding the experiential side of mental illness as the foundation upon which to build content and method, and its applicability to a variety of situations. Throughout, the author deliberately avoids presenting a model to imitate, but rather presents salient ideas out of which mental health professionals can create their own models of family education that fit the personality of the practitioner, the nature of the agency, and the kinds of families to be served.
Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and psychiatric nurses in the field of mental illness who wish to increase their skills in working with families will find this book an invaluable resource. It will be of particular value to those mental health professionals who work in such settings as clinics, hospitals, and rehabilitation services with responsibilities for case management, counseling, administration, and rehabilitation. It also serves as an ideal text for graduate level courses.
|His Bright Light - Danielle Steel||
The Story of her son Nick Traina. I guess I like it so much cause I can relate to him being a musician.
"This is the story of an extraordinary boy with a brilliant mind, a heart of gold, and a tortured soul. It is the story of an illness, a fight to live, and a race against death.
"I want to share the story, and the pain, the courage, the love, and what I learned in living through it. I want Nick's life to be not only a tender memory for us, but a gift to others. . . . I would like to offer people hope and the realities we lived with. I want to make a difference. My hope is that someone will be able to use what we learned, and save a life with it."
From the day he was born, Nick Traina was his mother's joy. By nineteen, he was dead. This is Danielle Steel's powerful, personal story of the son she lost and the lessons she learned during his courageous battle against darkness. Sharing tender, painful memories and Nick's remarkable journals, Steel brings us a haunting duet between a singular young man and the mother who loved him--and a harrowing portrait of a masked killer called manic depression, which afflicts between two and three million Americans.
At once a loving legacy and an unsparing depiction of a devastating illness, Danielle Steel's tribute to her lost son is a gift of life, hope, healing, and understanding to us all.
|How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish||
Here is the bestselling book that will give you the know-how you need to be effective with your children. Enthusiastically praised by parents and professionals around the world, the down-to-earth, respectful approach of Faber and Mazlish makes relationships with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding.
Recently revised and updated with fresh insights and suggestions, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk is full of practical, innovative ways to solve common problems and build foundations for lasting relationships.
|Moodswing by Dr. Ronald R. Fieve, M.D.||
This book is from 1981, but is a wonderful book that teaches a lot about the history of Bipolar and Lithium Therapy and how far we've really come from the 50's to now.
Moodswing. Millions of Americans have it. It can be a positive energizer that drives creative people: the Wall Street tycoon, the Pulitzer Prize-Winning playwright, the career girl. Or it can result in destructive unhappiness... Which shall it be? Now, Dr. Fieve's timely book reveals the new world of chemotherapy opened by new medicines for the mind.
|Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children and Adolescents by Spencer Eth, M.D.||
I included this book due to the fact that my Children's Psychiatrist speculated that PTSD could be the problem instead of BP. I read the book and I don't believe that is the case. However, it is a good source in diagnosing BP by elimination.
A full and complete review of PTSD with up-to-date information on standardized assessments, biological approaches, courtroom aspects, and long-term effects. Recommended highly for those just entering the trauma field as wells as for those experienced workers who need to find new information all in one place.
Dr. Eth and colleagues address critical issues in our understanding and treatment of children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events. From evaluation to biological treatment and forensic assessment, this volume will be valuable to clinicians and teachers alike.
|Survival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar Disorder||
Up until five years ago, the professional community did not think that Bipolar Disorder occurred in children. Children with symptoms of Bipolar Disorder were diagnosed as 'severe ADHD', 'depressed' or 'Oppositional Defiant'. Now, as it is being increasingly diagnosed, George Lynn offers clear, practical advice on recognizing the symptoms, understanding medication and accessing the necessary support at school as well as the managing the day-to-day challenges of parenting a child with Bipolar Disorder. As it is frequently found in combination with ADHD, Tourette Syndrome and Asperger's Syndrome, the author draws on case-studies from his own psychotherapeutic practice to show what these conditions have in common, how they differ, and how they relate to each other.
Survival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar Disorder tackles the most difficult decisions parents can face, including whether to involve police or consider hospitalization if their children are a danger to themselves and their families. At the same time, it emphasizes the positive qualities these children often have and illustrates how their gifts and abilities can build their self-esteem and help them function better in society. However severe the child's symptoms, George Lynn's book will provide guidance, support and inspiration for parents and carers as well as being a useful resource for professionals working with the families who suffer as a result of this disorder.
|Understanding Depression by Donald F. Klein, M.D. & Paul H. Wender, M.D.||
Recent studies have found that one woman in five, and one man in ten, will suffer from depression or manic depression sometime during the course of their lives. This is a disturbing statistic, but there is hope, because more and more evidence has surfaced to indicate that many psychiatric disorders are biological diseases that can be successfully treated with medication. Most people, however, know little about these recent findings. They don't know how to tell if the depression they are suffering from is biological or not, nor what they can do to recover from it if it is.
In Understanding Depression, Donald Klein and Paul Wender offer a definitive guide to depressive illness--its causes, course, and symptoms. They clarify the difference between depression (which is a normal emotion) and biological depression (which is an illness), and include several self-rating tests with which readers can determine whether or not they should seek psychiatric evaluation to determine if they have a biological depressive illness. They describe the symptoms of biological depression, among them loss of energy, changes in eating habits, sleep disturbances, decreased sex drive, restlessness, poor concentration and indecisiveness, and increased use of intoxicants and drugs. And they paint a clear picture of how depressive illness can affect people's lives, using excerpts from patient histories to show the progress of each patient from the onset of depression to treatment and recovery. The authors also discuss the different types of treatment available, including antidepressant drugs, electroconvulsive therapy, and psychotherapy, and they examine the benefits and side effects of psychopharmacological drugs (including the new antidepressants, lithium, and the controversial Prozac), related disorders (such as panic attacks, atypical depression, seasonal affective disorder, and PMS), and how to get the right kind of help.
Most victims of biological depression often fail to seek help, whether out of guilt or ignorance, and many are often misdiagnosed by physicians or psychotherapists who fail to recognize the symptoms of the illness. Understanding Depression seeks to make the public (both lay and medical) aware of the issues of biological depression, providing a highly informed and readable guide to this much misunderstood disease.
|Ups and Downs of Raising a Bipolar child (the) by Judith Lederman and Candida Fink, M.D.||
Bipolar disorder has recently been identified as one of the most misunderstood and underdiagnosed conditions affecting children -- and it is dramatically on the rise. The Ups and Downs of Raising a Bipolar Child gives parents the sound advice and expert information they need to cope with this challenging diagnosis, and shows how to provide essential care and support for a bipolar child as well as for the rest of the family.
The book provides parents with bipolar children sound advice and expert information necessary for coping with this challenging diagnosis. Shows how to provide essential care and support for the child and the family. Includes such topics as choosing the right mental health care professionals, medications, structure of daily life, and more.
by Caroline C. McGee
Life on a Roller Coaster
Matt the Moody Hermit Crab
Bipolar Network News
c/o Stanley Foundation
305 Seventh Avenue 16th Floor
New York, NY 10001
For Poems related to emotions of Bipolar, click here!
If you suffer from Bipolar Disorder and would like to belong to an online Support Group,
Also, if you have a child that is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, or you suspect has Bipolar Disorder
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I also belong to several webrings: