Archives for 

medical professional

Why do Bipolar Patients Quit Taking Their Meds?

Why do bipolar and schizophrenic persons quit taking medicine?

Talk to any medical professional about the trials and tribulations of dealing with bipolar patients and they will tell you that the single most bothersome thing is the frequency with which manic-depressives quit taking their meds.

This problem isn’t unique to bipolar patients, but it is more insidious and often more surprising.  Schizophrenics, who quit taking their meds, are identified fairly quickly.  Those with depression who quit taking their meds stay in their houses – this is troublesome but not a public nuisance.

People with bipolar disorder are usually quite memorable both at the best of times and the worst of times.  They are vivacious; they are shining; they are exasperating; they are amazing, and they are irritating.  Generally in order to be diagnosed, a bipolar patient will present one of two ways – either severely depressed or psychotic but their illness has gone unnoticed or unaddressed for a long time.

To be fair, psychiatric patients of any type may quit taking their meds for a number of legitimate reasons.  Well, semi-legitimate.

Mood DisordersLegitimately, a psychiatric patient of any type will have consulted with his or her physician before quitting can be medically supervised while doing so.  Even with medical supervision, the only really legitimate reason for a psychiatric patient to quit taking their meds completely is a person who has been taking anti-depressants for a short period of time (less than one year) who has only had one episode of clinical depression.  In this case, a psychiatrist would agree that a patient who does not have a long term history of depression can taper off the medication because they may not need it forever.  This patient is rare. Once another episode of depression or mood disorder occurs, virtually everyone will agree that it is a chronic problem that should be addressed with medication.  Permanently.

One legitimate reason for temporarily discontinuing use would be pregnancy, to avoid potential harm to the fetus.  In most cases, the medication would be re-started as soon as the patient is able.

Patients may also approach their physician about discontinuing a specific medication to switch to another.  Reasons for this might be ineffectiveness, intolerable side effects or cost.

Unfortunately, for most psychiatric patients there is no legitimate reason to discontinue medication altogether.  The physician will suggest or even prescribe an alternative medication.  The patient may feel that they have been unheard by their physician and while this may be the case, for most patients who “quit”, it is actually more likely that they have not talked to the physician at all.

Bipolar patients and those with other psychiatric conditions most often quit taking their medication without medical supervision or intervention in secret.  Oddly, this is because the brain is a tricky thing – most often they quit when they are doing well.  When the medication is working, they begin to believe that they do not need the medication – that they are “OK”.

Most psychiatric patients don’t want to have a mental disorder – or more likely they don’t want to be told that they have a mental disorder.  This may be in part due to the social stigma, but it may also be because they really like the way they are.  Medication often takes away the “spark” that has made them vivacious, memorable, brilliant and even irritating or dangerous.

It is very difficult to go from “outstanding” – whether it is good or bad to normal.  Bipolar patients in particular also quit taking their medication because their brains are bored.  The brain is used to go up and down, backwards and forwards, in and out.  When medication is working, the roller coaster goes away.

This may be good for a while, after the crisis because life has gotten way out of whack, they need time to recover, rest, and breathe.  But when the fires are put out, and the dust clears, the brain begins to crave the excitement.

Again, this really means the medication is working, and they will quit, yet again, starting the cycle all over again.

So, what can a caretaker, a parent, a spouse, or a friend do?  Likely any attempt at supervision or intervention will be met with anger, avoidance or outright denial.

Bipolar CaosAs bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia most often emerges in the late teens or early adulthood, is should be predictable that they do not want supervision.  They do not want to be told that someone else knows best.

When confronted or even questioned, the bipolar will almost always say that everything is OK – even if it is far from OK.  In short, they will lie.

Again, what can a caretaker, a parent, a spouse, or a friend do?  In short, especially in the newly diagnosed (and for a bipolar or schizophrenic the definition of newly would be likely less than 10 years), there will be no opportunity for supervision.  They will be secretive and untruthful.  You must wait for the crash and be there to assist with the crisis and recovery – only to repeat it again in a few months or years.

The good news is that eventually, the periods between “the crashes” will likely lengthen. When they are thinking clearly, when the medication is working – ask them why they do it.  Encourage them to participate in therapy, join a bipolar or mental disorder group. Realize they may not always go.

Over a period of years, perhaps decades – the patient may eventually become to accept that they truly do need the medication.  Likely they will never be completely compliant but one can always hope.

A caregiver, a parent, a spouse, a friend can look for signs – if you are close, you may be able to keep track of their medication, physician visits, refills but you may not be able to.  You should prepare yourself when you see signs: a developing increase in communication, vivacity, anger – likely followed by erratic behavior and hiding.

Intervene as much as you can but know that your may not be able to stop them.  They quit medication when it is working because it makes them….normal.

Melissa Lind

Stress Management Ideas

Stress management isn’t as hard as it may actually appear.

However, we can’t accept this next point enough.  If you believe you’ve too much stress in your life, it might be helpful for you to talk with your local mental health connection, doctor or spiritual advisor. Because responses to stress may be a factor in depression, anxiety and other disorders like bipolarity or borderline personality disorder, they might suggest that you visit with a qualified counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or other.
I don’t want to present myself as a medical professional. All I want to do is give you a few tools to apply you in life to help you better cope with those matters that make us overwhelmed and feel out of control.

You might also want to check into time management tools in order to do away with some of your stressors. When we feel like we don’t have enough time to do the matters that need to be done, that brings on more stress and may lead to anxiety. Believe me, you don’t want that!

Stress management ideas are easy cost effective techniques effectively to check stress. They may be practiced anyplace and at any time.  Well, nearly!
If you feel you’re in need of help, don’t hesitate. You may not be correct always.  The cause of your stress may be for no reason at all.

But it may be physical in its origins.  Somebody else may be able to solve it easily. Comprehend your limitations and it may relieve stress to a great extent.

Simsons is StressedStress is a normal part of life for all of us. In little quantities, stress is suitable — it may help you be more productive and motivate you. But, too much stress, or a heavy response to stress, is adverse. It may set you up for particular physical or psychological illnesses like infection, heart conditions, as well as general poor health or depression. Lasting and unforgiving stress frequently leads to anxiety and unhealthy behaviors like binging and abuse of alcohol or drugs.

Just like reasons for stress differ from person to person, what relieves stress isn’t the same for everybody. As a whole, however, making particular lifestyle changes as well as discovering healthy, gratifying ways to cope with stress helps many individuals. I hope that I’ve given you some helpful ways to deal with the stress that we from time to time all feel!

Most importantly, remember that you’re in no way alone in this combat. There are 100s of 1000s of individuals out there who feel deluged and nearly wholly out of control. That’s why it’s necessary for you to find peace inside yourself and realize that we’re all on this gigantic blue marble for a reason.
You are also! Savor it and live life to its best. And when you feel yourself stressed out or upset with a panic attack, slow down, breathe through it, and know there are lots of people who know exactly how you feel.

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

man-suffering-an-anxiety-at

Social anxiety disorder takes many forms.

It can be described as an inappropriately inflated sense of self-consciousness. In some people, social anxiety appears in their constant worries that others are watching them critically. In others, it can lead to situations where they simply refuse to engage in any social interaction.

Almost everyone is, on some level, familiar with depression, but social anxiety disorder does not get as much attention as other mental health problems. Fairly well known is also, anxiety, in the form of panic attacks and similar problems. Despite the fact that social anxiety disorder is the third most common mental health problem facing Americans, it still is not well understood by most people.

The quality of a person`s life can significantly be reduced by social anxiety disorder in its less severe form, and in its more extreme forms, the disorder can be almost entirely debilitating, rendering a person totally unable to interact with others.

There is no cure for social anxiety disorder. Unlike the better-known problems of depression and panic disorders, no medications developed show any significant ability to combat the problem. Those diagnosed with depression, or who suffer with panic attacks, may be able to relieve symptoms with prescription medications, but the person with social anxiety disorder has to rely on other treatment modalities.

The only form of treatment that has shown to provide any real substantive change among those with a social anxiety disorder is therapy based on a cognitive model. It is possible for someone saddled with this problem to improve his or her health markedly over time, by increasing awareness, learning coping skills, and retraining thought patterns. Research indicates that many sufferers begin to notice a significant improvement in their condition after a few dozen visits to a behavior therapist. Often, group therapy is an included part of the treatment regimen.

It should be noted that not everyone who worries what others think about him or her has an anxiety disorder. The problem arises when those concerns become too powerful and prevent the individual from engaging in otherwise desired interactions. It is quite common to have a bit of concern about what others might think of your new haircut. It is perfectly normal, to allow your mind to be overwhelmingly preoccupied with such consideration, or to let your worries interfere with your ability to function, in an appropriate manner.

If a person experience significant discomfort as lumps in your throat, fear, or unreasonable worry about social interactions, he or she may be experiencing an anxiety disorder and should seek the advice of a medical professional. The problem is treatable with cognitive therapy, and it is possible to live a life without the irrational nonstop worries and inabilities to interact that are hallmarks of social anxiety disorder.

Taking Teenage Depression Seriously

Dealing with Teenage Depression

serious young girlDepression is widespread. International studies have flagged it as one of the most devastating diseases on the face of the planet. Although no one is immune to the ravages of depression, certain demographics are more likely to suffer from the illness than others. Such a vulnerable group is the teenaged population. Statistics illustrate that incidences of depression are disproportionately common among young people and too often are accompanied by serious consequences.

Teenage depression is too often (and too easily) dismissed in many cases as being nothing more than an emotional “growing pain.” It is true that the changing nature of the body`s hormonal makeup, combined with encountering new dimensions and responsibilities in one`s life can induce some depressive symptoms in teenagers who are, in reality, perfectly healthy. However, that is not always the case, and any potential case of teenage depression must be taken extremely seriously.

Not every child who is in a down mood has a bona fide case of teenage depression, of course. The demands and social pressures placed upon teens can cause down moods in perfectly normal children. Children who experience these down periods for more than a few weeks at a time, or display other common symptoms of depression should be carefully evaluated in case a mere physical mental health problem does occur.

Changes in appetite, alterations in sleep habits, increased anxiety or irritability can be a host of other potential warning flags. If one is demonstrating sadness or despair, it might be a sign of teenage depression and must be checked. One should also check for other readily available diagnostic aids and lists of depressive symptoms for further guidance.

The consequences of overlooking the disorder are essential. Initially, the condition does deny individuals of a potentially high quality of life during a crucial developmental stage. Additionally, younger people have not yet necessarily developed the kinds of coping mechanisms and wider perspectives adults can use when dealing with depression. This lack of coping tools is one reason why teenage depression tends to result in a greater propensity for suicide than does its adult counterpart.

Kids will be kids, and part of being a growing kid is moodiness. Sometimes, that moodiness will manifest itself as a simple case of the “blues.” Fortunately, even more severe situations of this nature often tend to pass in a few weeks as the situations spurring them fade into memory. However, when the episodes seem even slightly emotional or last longer than two weeks, a serious case of teenage depression may be present.

If there is any possibility that your teenager is depressed, consult with a medical professional as soon as possible. The potential consequences of this mental health problem are sufficiently severe to justify and heightened level of concern and a willingness to err on the side of caution. It might be nothing, but it might be teenage depression.

A helpful recourse? Helping Your Depressed Teenager: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers

Helping Your Depressed Teenager

Description:

“The authors have produced a very readable, extremely well informed and comprehensive book that will add greatly to the knowledge base of interested parents. This book is strongly recommended.” –Stewart Gable, MD Chairman, Department of Psychiatry The Children’s Hospital, Denver, Colorado You supported and encouraged them as they grew from toddlers to teens.

Now you are confronted with one of the toughest challenges you and they will ever face – teenage depression.

Adolescence is a period of peaks and valleys. Most teens negotiate these years with relative ease; yet for some these times are treacherous with countless pitfalls. When depression ensues, it can interfere with much of your child’s potential. Clinical depression is now epidemic among American teens, and teen suicide can be a deadly consequence. Helping Your Depressed Teenager is a practical guide offering family solutions to a family problem. This book will sensitize you to the hidden struggles of adolescents and assist you in understanding their multifaceted problems.

The authors are experts in this field and have helped countless youngsters confront and overcome their depressed mood. In a highly readable and gentle manner, they help you see behind the “masks” of troubled teens who attempt to hide their true feelings. They help you distinguish the subtle and sometimes not so subtle signs that something is seriously wrong. And they help you provide the loving support and assistance teenagers need to make it through this difficult life passage. Some of the useful information provided:
* What families can do to prevent teen depression
* How to tell the difference between moodiness and depression
* How to read the warning signs of a troubled teenager
* How to know when professional help is needed and where to find it
* How to choose the right treatment options for your teen

Anxiety Symptom Awareness

Things to consider regarding Anxiety Symptom Awareness!

Many people suffer from high anxiety.

Symptom awareness can help them to recognize that they have a serious medical condition and are not just “high strung.” Panic disorders are a common psychological problem with potentially devastating effects on the quality of one’s life. Recognizing the symptoms of an anxiety attack can result in sufferers seeking out the treatment they need.

Anxiety for waspsA commonly experienced anxiety symptom is to feel dizzy or lightheaded. If someone feels that way during anxious moments, he or she may want to consider it as a warning sign. This is a particularly dangerous symptom, because the loss of balance it produces can lead to falls and other accidents.

Another anxiety symptom is to feel as though that one cannot breathe. This is a common symptom among those diagnosed with panic disorders and can be quite frightening. Victims feel as though they are unable to catch their breath or as if they are somehow being smothered. If one experiences periods of this sort, one will probably want to consider discussing your situation with a physician.

Others suffering from panic disorders will experience shakes or tremors. These involuntary movements can be extremely frightening and create an increased risk of accident. Nervous tics are one thing, but tremors and shakes related to anxiety are another. They should be taken as a sign that something may be wrong.

Anxiety sufferers often experience a sensation that as if something is crawling all over them during anxious periods. This sensation is by many described as being akin to having ants or other small insects patrolling the body. It is a particularly uncomfortable sensation that can paralyze one with fear.

A particularly scary anxiety symptom is the feeling that one is experiencing a heart attack or some other intense chest pain. Many panic attack sufferers have been quite certain their death was imminent while in the midst of an attack. The pain, although lacking a physiological basis, can be quite real and truly frightening. That fear serves to intensify one’s anxiety, making it part of a vicious circle.

There are, of course, other symptoms. One of the interesting things about panic disorders is that different individuals will experience different manifestations of the problem. While some may sweat profusely during an attack, someone else may notice chills as an anxiety symptom.

The important thing to remember is that if one experience particularly anxious times when someone feel fear, that in retrospect seems disproportionate or other physical reflections of their anxiety. They may have a diagnosable panic disorder. Fortunately, a variety of treatment options are available for those who experience anxiety attacks. Thus, it makes perfect sense to immediately consult with a medical professional if someone feels they may have a problem.

Recognizing some of the common symptoms of disproportionate anxiety may give a person the impetus to seek help. That help may allow them to move on with your life without having to be concerned that another terrifying anxiety symptom will emerge uncontrollably.

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

So, what causes Bipolar disorder?

It appears to be an interplay of genetic and physiological factors, coupled with stressful triggers, that causes Bipolar disorder…

Bipolar doctor

Manic depression, also called bipolar disorder, causes severe mood swings that can last for weeks or even months.

Everyone feels happy or sad sometimes. For someone with manic depression, however, these mood swings are much more intense. Scientists have not identified a single factor what causes bipolar disorder. Instead, it may have one or more of several different causes. These may be broken down into genetic, environmental and physiological causes.

There are three types of manic depression.

Bipolar Type I is characterized by at least one manic episode. A manic episode is a feeling of intense elation, restlessness and loss of inhibitions and over-activity. Sufferers during a manic episode may sleep for only three or four hours a night if at all.

Bipolar Type II, where there may be frequent episodes of depression with only mild manic episodes (called hypomania). Rapid cycling involves four or more mood swings over the period of a year.

Finally, there is Cyclothymia, where the mood swings last longer but they are less severe.

Genes is considered to be a contributing factor.

If one of your relatives has manic depression, there is a reasonable chance that you will develop it, too. Chromosome numbers 6 and 8 appear to have been implicated. Children of bipolar parents have an eight percent chance of developing the condition, compared with one percent in the general population.

A chemical imbalance in the brain may cause the disorder. Nerve signals travel from one neuron to another by way of chemicals called neurotransmitters. These include norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. It is possible that excess levels of norepinephrine may cause a manic episode.

During a depressive episode, levels of this neurotransmitter may be excessively low. The picture, however, is not that simple, as there are other neurotransmitters involved.

Mood swings can also be triggered by stress. Abuse; either physical, emotional or sexual, may trigger an episode. Bereavement or the breakdown of a close relationship may also be a trigger.

Not all stressful triggers are negative experiences. A positive change, such as a marriage or a birth can also make a contribution.

Once diagnosed, the condition can be treated or controlled, although certain risk factors may trigger a recurrence. Failure to comply with medication carries a high risk of recurrence, as do alcohol or drug abuse. Other risk factors include poor support systems. For example, the lack of caring friends or relatives or an erratic lifestyle.

Manic depression can lead to psychosocial disturbances.

For example, Bipolar Type I and Bipolar Type II are associated with a high absentee rate at work. There is also a higher rate of suicide attempts and hospital admissions with these conditions. While both conditions have high rates of attempted suicides, Type II sufferers seem to have fewer hospital admissions than Type I, and consequently miss fewer days at work.

So, what causes bipolar disorder? It appears to be an interplay of genetic and physiological factors, coupled with stressful triggers.

Complying with medication, adopting a stable lifestyle, and developing healthy coping strategies, may all keep the condition under control.

It is essential to consult a medical professional and not attempt self diagnosis.