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attempted suicide

Bipolar Disorder and Suicide Risk

Physical Proof and a Big Shocker – Bipolar Disorder and Suicide Risk

Bipolar HeadI read a lot of news about bipolar disorder and other psychiatric disorders (OCD, ADHD, chronic depression, borderline personality disorder, etc.).  In my reading, I came across an article that describes brain scan abnormalities in teens and young adults who have attempted suicide but I found a lot more.

A study conducted at Yale School of Medicine examined brain scans of 26 young adults and teenagers with bipolar disorder who had attempted suicide.  These were compared with scans of 42 bipolar patients who had not attempted suicide and with 45 non-bipolar subjects.  The results were not really surprising – as many research studies are not.

The bipolar patients, who had attempted suicide, showed abnormalities when compared to the other two groups, specifically in the  which showed “less integrity”.

Frontal lobe animationThis means that the frontal lobe (which controls impulses) is not as “connected” to areas that control emotion, motivation and memory.  Researchers indicate that the brain abnormalities may disrupt the ability of the impulse control mechanism to filter emotion and motivational messages appropriately.

In short this means that those patients can’t stop negative emotions and impulses to do something drastic… like attempt suicide and not surprisingly, less integrity or more abnormality – likely means more suicide attempts.

While it is good that they are discovering some physical proof of actual defect, eventually to move bipolar disorder into a category that can be scientifically documented, it doesn’t offer a lot of real-life solutions.  Most of us who are bipolar or know someone who is bipolar, know that there is something wrong or at least different about our brain…and it only makes sense that a person, who is trying to kill himself, is probably a little worse off.

As usual, I found myself thinking “…and… the point is…” which I often do when I read a synopsis of a largely inconsequential research study but then something caught my eye.  It was something that was a lot worse than I thought – statistics.

About 4 percent of Americans are afflicted with bipolar disorder, though sometimes we feel like it is others who are afflicted.  That is not surprising either.  Some groups show a slightly lower percentage at about 2.6 percent of the population.

Bipolar SuicideWhat surprised me was the statistic regarding suicide.  The article – that is from a reputable source – indicates that 25 to 50 percent of people with bipolar disorder are likely to attempt suicide and that 15 to 20 percent are likely to succeed.  Wow.  I didn’t know that.  Funny thing that I didn’t know since of the 20 or so bipolar people I have been close friends with at one time or another – at least four of them are dead.

When searching for confirmation (which I found from the NIH that about 1 in 5 bipolar patients complete suicide), I also found a number of additional shocking statistics:

  • Bipolar disorder results in a 9.2 year reduction in lifespan
  • Bipolar disorder is the 6th leading cause of disability, worldwide
  • Bipolar disorder is found in all races, ethnicities, ages, genders and socioeconomic groups
  • A child with one bipolar parent has a 15-30% chance of having the disorder
  • A child with two bipolar parents has a 50-75% chance of having the disorder
  • There are 3.4 million CHILDREN with depression in the US but up to one-third of those kids may actually have bipolar disorder
  • Bipolar disorder criteria have likely been met for at least 1 percent of all adolescents

Maybe these aren’t shocking for you.  Maybe you already knew all this – but maybe you didn’t.

I have known I had bipolar disorder for a long time – and have known a lot more people with bipolar disorder and I didn’t know all this stuff or maybe like everything else, I chose not to remember.

Food for thought; Take your medicines!

Melissa Lind

Depression – When to Seek Help

Some level of depression is perfectly normal and does not require treatment

Sad and Depressed GirlWe all feel a little down or a little “blue” from time to time. We all have life events that will make us feel very sad as well, such as the loss of a loved one, the breakup of a relationship, financial difficulties, etc.

In most cases, however, these down periods are temporary. At what point, however, should you seek help for your depression? While people feel depression in different ways, and to different extents, there are specific warning signs that one should look for when determining whether or not they actually need treatment or not.

First, if your depression has lasted for more than a period of two weeks, you most likely need to seek treatment. Make an appointment with your medical doctor for a checkup, and discuss your feelings with him. He will most likely perform a physical exam to determine if there is a physical cause for those feelings, and he will also ask about your life events and current stressors.

Other than seeking help if the sadness lasts for more than two weeks, another sign that help is needed — immediately — is if you are having suicidal thoughts, or if you have already attempted suicide.
Do not wait to seek treatment. Contact your doctor, or call a suicide hotline for immediate help!

Feeling HopelessEven if depression is temporary, all of the other symptoms of depression are normal — except for the two discussed above. You may have a change in sleeping and eating patterns, you may feel like everything is hopeless. You may have the fatigue and the aches and the pains.

But again, if those symptoms do not go away within two weeks, or you feel suicidal, treatment is needed.

In many cases, a medical doctor can treat you for the depression, depending on the cause and the severity of your mental state. The important thing is to seek the help and to be as honest with your doctor as possible — whether your doctor is a therapist or not, he (or she) must still keep all conversations with you in confidence.

When should one seek help in cases of depression?

Drugs, Alcohol, Depression — A Deadly Mixture

Avoid drugs and alcohol completely if you are depressed

Depression is an extremely serious illness that requires treatment. Without treatment, depression can, and often does, lead to suicide or, at the very least, attempted suicide.
Unfortunately, many people do not seek treatment and instead turn to “self-medicating” with drugs and alcohol.

People who suffer from depression do not enjoy it. They are not just trying to get attention. They really do want to feel better — unfortunately, however, they can’t see a way to do that. Then, if they use drugs or alcohol, they have a brief period where they are feeling better — while the drugs or alcohol are in effect.

BecDepressed and Drunkause they really do want to feel better, and they have experienced feeling better with the drugs or alcohol, they will often use the drug of booze over and over again to either maintain or re-experience “feeling good again.” Unfortunately, this leads to huge problems.

Obviously, addiction and other health concerns come into play with the use of alcohol or drugs. But these substances can also increase the risk of suicidal attempts — and successes, as well. Alcohol is a depressant — not an antidepressant.

It is true that when one starts drinking, they feel a “buzz” of sorts, but as they continue to drink, the alcohol will actually bring them down even further, from a mental viewpoint. The buzz quickly passes — but when they look back at it, all they either remember or allow themselves to think about is that brief buzzed feeling. The same is true with many drugs.

But once the “buzz” has passed, and the drunkenness or drugged state progresses, the depression actually deepens. In a drunken or drugged state, the person may not be able to see any bit of hope, and they are more likely to try to commit suicide.

If you are depressed, avoid drugs and alcohol completely. Talk to your doctor, and get the rundown on how these substances, as well as other substances, may affect your depression, and hinder your treatment.

If one is in a depressed state; avoid alcohol and drugs!

Dealing with Bipolar Disorder, Depression and Anxiety

To deal with bipolar disorder(manic depressive) loneliness, (sadness) depression and anxiety (panic attacks) is not an easy thing to do.

Concept of Bipolar DisorderSometimes people may feel that everything is lost, and they have no recourse to change the way they are feeling. Take a deep breath and walk out the front door can open up many opportunities for one, and can provide better feelings in no time.

One out of three people has experienced a sense of loneliness and depression, and some of them cannot even say what is making them feel this way. These feelings can stop people in their tracks, making them unable to function in their daily lives.

Here are some ways to chase the loneliness and depression away, and then, perhaps enjoy each and every day as they come.

The main thing a person should try to figure out is what things are making them feel the way they do in the first place. Feeling lonely can be as straightforward as not having anyone around them to interact with on a regular basis. Sometimes one can be around people and still feel lonely, and in order not to feel this way, try to find out why.

Being depressed can happen to anybody, and the reasons for it varied from person to person. Being lonely can lead to becoming depressed, but they do not always go hand in hand. Feeling tense and despondent happens when we cannot deal with things in life at the moment, and we feel that there is no hope to getting past that.

Once a person has identified some of the reasons why he or she are feeling the way they do, they can begin to seek out ways to make they feel better. Certainly, one of the ways folks can utilize is taking medication to help get rid of the sad feelings they have. This is not for everyone. Consult with a doctor to determine if it is right, before taking any medication.

Using herbal solutions can be an acceptable substitute to using traditional medication. Going to a health store can provide many excellent options for taking a natural approach to your depressed state of mind. The people who work there can be extremely helpful in finding the legal remedies that will work best.

Another great way to get rid of the blues is to make an appointment with some mental health specialist in your area. Sometimes talking things out with someone totally distanced from one’s life, can give the opportunity to work out some of what is bothering a person. These professionals provide a safe environment for all and do not represent a condescending or judgmental point of view.

If folks do not want to take any medications to help them, there are some basic things they can do that may work in conjunction with taking to a professional. Putting oneself amongst friends is an excellent way to shake off the lonely feelings. It will also help with depressed thoughts. Going outdoors and experiencing different environments is also helpful.

Read also: Bipolar Disorder Myths (Demystifying of myths) (Article by Bruce Anderson)