Page 16 - Hot News October 2014
P. 16
Finding The Key To Cope
Psychosis is the general term to describe a mental health problem in which a person experiences changes in thinking, perception, mood and behaviour; which can severely disrupt their life. Two of the main psychotic diagnoses are schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (manic depression).
The aim of Bipolar Awareness Day is to raise awareness and understanding of bipolar and its prevalence in the UK.
Bipolar – Previously known as manic depression – is a severe mental health illness characterised by extreme mood swings between manic highs and depressive lows.
People tend to experience periods of either depression or mania, often with periods of “normal” behaviour in between. Unfortunately, bipolar can take a long time to diagnose, often because people have to have experienced both depression and mania and people take different amounts of time to move between these two extremes (sometimes years).
Some symptoms of depression:
• Effects on emotion... Sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, mood
swings, lack of emotional responsiveness.
• Effects on thinking... Frequent self-criticism, self-blame, worry, pessimism, impaired memory or concentration, indecisiveness, confusion, thoughts of suicide or death.
• Effects in behaviour... Crying spells, withdrawal from others, neglect of responsibilities, loss of interest in personal appearance, loss of motivation.
• Effects on physical... Chronic fatigue, lack of energy, sleeping too much or too little, over-eating or loss of appetite, constipation, weight loss or gain, irregular menstrual cycle, loss of sexual desire, unexplained aches and pains.
Some symptoms of mania:
• Increased energy and hyperactivity... The person may suddenly be able to do far more than usual. They will appear restless and unable to sit still.
• Elated mood... The person will feel high, happy, full of energy, on top of the world, invincible.
• Needing less sleep than usual... The person can go for days with very little sleep or none at all.
• Irritability... This may occur if others disagree with their unrealistic plans or ideas. It is also a result of fatigue as the person goes longer and longer without proper rest.
• Rapid thinking and speech... The person may talk too much, too fast and keep changing the subject.
• Lack of inhibitions... The person may disregard risks, spend money extravagantly, be unusually forthright in expressing opinions or be very sexually active.
• Grandiose delusions... These involve very inflated self-esteem. For example, the person may believe that he or she is superhuman, especially talented or an important religious figure.
• Lack of insight... The person is so convinced that their manic delusions are real that they do not realise they are ill.
Although mania could sound like fun, it often gets people in to difficult situations. They may lose touch with reality (that is, become psychotic). Bipolar disorder is less common than ordinary depression and requires medical treatment.
Both males and females of any age and from any social or ethnic background can develop the illness. The symptoms can first occur and then reoccur when work, studies, family or emotional pressures are at their greatest. In women it can also be triggered by childbirth or during the menopause.
The key to coping with bipolar is an early diagnosis, acceptance of the illness and adapting your lifestyle so you are in control of the symptoms as much as possible. Management of the illness can be achieved through strategies involving
medication, health care, therapy and self-management.

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