The many different faces of Bipolar disorder, March 30, 2015 World Bipolar Day

Bipolar disorder comprises a spectrum of mental health irregularities characterized by moods that swing between poles of mania and depression. These mood swings can range from mild to severe. All bipolar types experience manic, hypomanic and mixed bipolar symptoms to different degrees (Moadel, 2013). There are significant elements that make up what bipolar disorder can look like. Within the spectrum of bipolar disorder are two primary “types” — bipolar I and bipolar II. These types delineate varying degrees of mania and depression. The pattern, frequency, duration and intensity of the manic and depressive episodes will differ and not necessarily remain consistent in their patterns. Continue reading

Dialectical behavior therapy for borderline personality disorder

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a very serious personality disorder. It is traditionally marked by unstable moods, emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, interpersonal issues, self-harm, suicidal behavior and unstable relationships. Borderline personality disorder carries a lot of the same attributes as other personality disorders hence the name “borderline” personality disorder. There hasn’t been a specific gene that has been shown to directly cause BPD, however studies in twins suggest this illness has strong hereditary links. Environmental factors such as traumatic life events, childhood abuse or neglect from parents is also said to put people at a higher risk of developing BPD. Because of the trauma factor in BPD, it is very similar to PTSD. Continue reading

Mindfulness found to be as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy

Meditation and mindfulness have been incorporated more frequently into treatment programs due to their therapeutic effects, but not much is known about how they compare to more traditional approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A new study has found that group mindfulness treatment is as effective as individual CBT in patients with depression and anxiety, reopening the debate on mindfulness-based practices in therapy. Continue reading

Mindfulness for mental health

For the past few decades the phrase mindfulness has been associated with spirituality, psychology and psychiatry as well as relaxation techniques and meditation. The philosophy’s overall premise is a simplistic view of focusing on the present moment. The word mindfulness comes from the Pali word sati, which translates to “awareness, attention and memory.” Mindfulness has been combined with other psychological therapies and has been used in conjunction with yoga and other physically based meditative exercises. Continue reading

Why cognitive behavioral therapy is useful

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a combination of behavioral and cognitive interventions guided by principles of applied science. The behavioral interventions seek to decrease negative behaviors and increase positive ones by modifying the rewards and consequences. Cognitive interventions aim to alter negative thoughts, self-statements or beliefs. Continue reading

What to know about mental health medications

Oftentimes, when a patient is diagnosed with a mental health disorder, they will undergo a treatment plan which includes both therapy and medication. Whereas a psychologist will meet with a patient to assist them with cognitive and behavioral therapies and other coping skills, the role of the psychiatrist differs. A psychiatrist is licensed to prescribe medication and will determine the specific type, along with the amount, that is right for them. It is important to note that medications are not intended to be a cure for sufferers, but they will help treat symptoms so that they are able to better function in their lives. Continue reading

What is seasonal depression?

As the seasons change and our days get shorter, many people continue on with their lives, simply adjusting to fewer hours of daylight. In some cases, a person may not have such an easy experience. With fewer hours of light during the day, some people may be facing a change in their moods. This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression. SAD is a type of depression that is related to the changes in the seasons, normally causing depressive symptoms that start in the fall and continuing throughout the winter months. In some rare cases, SAD may occur in the spring and summer months. In most cases these symptoms will start off as mild but will become more severe as the season progresses, which highlights the need for someone to get proper treatment to combat the issue so it doesn’t put a halt on their day to day life. Continue reading

Junk food and mental illness in kids

Fast food has been blamed for many health problems. It can now add mental health to the list, according to a University in Melbourne, Australia study. Focusing on prenatal and early childhood exposure to junk food, the researchers found a link with behavioral and emotional problems later in life. Other studies have found links between poor diet and mental health issues, but this was the first to look at maternal nutrition in regards to prenatal and early postnatal mental health. Continue reading

Learning disabilities fuel anxiety and depression

Adolescence is typically a time of adjustment. Young teens are grappling with physical changes, new hormone fluctuations, and social clumsiness, to name just a few of the challenges facing this age group. Throw in a learning disability, one the adolescent may have been struggling with for years, and the effect on their self-esteem and mental health can be significant. No doubt, as children, they had already experienced a sense of shame or embarrassment due to their inability to process curriculum as their peers could. But now, in a middle school or high school setting, the stigma attached to being learning disabled can intensify. Continue reading

How to handle a mental health emergency

Friends and family who are learning to cope with a loved one recently diagnosed with a disorder will naturally want to educate themselves on the condition. Of course, this will allow them a better understanding of the individual and the opportunity to assist them in appropriately helpful ways. However, there may be more extreme instances when professional assistance is required at once. Such occurrences will often constitute a mental health emergency and it’s important to know when, as well as how, to respond accordingly. Continue reading