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*Bipolar II disorder — characterized by high episodes of euphoria and low episodes of depression, together known as hypomania. Hypomania differs from mania in two important respects. While hypomania can affect functioning and quality of life in all facets for an individual with bipolar II disorder, it is not as severe as manic episodes, which may require hospitalization. Second, hypomania does not involve psychosis.

*ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Type — individuals with serious inattention problems, but not much problem with hyperactivity/impulsive symptoms.

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric condition that affects an estimated 2.6 percent of the country’s adult population, and often extremely difficult to diagnose. Like major depression, bipolar disorder is characterized by sadness, fatigue, a loss of enjoyment in everyday activities and disruptions in appetite and sleep patterns. But individuals with bipolar disorder differ from patients with major depressive disorder in that they experience what’s called mania or hypomania – emotional highs, bursts of extreme energy and severe irritability that ranges in intensity and duration.

Studies suggest it can take patients an average of 3.3 physician visits to get an accurate assessment of their condition, and 73 percent initially receive an incorrect diagnosis. Due to the illness' broad nature, the latest iteration of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-V, divides bipolar disorder into several subtypes, but its symptoms often run on a spectrum, meaning there’s no one-size-fits-all diagnosis or treatment. And often, people who are initially diagnosed with depression develop bipolar symptoms later in life. —Retrieved from U.S. News Health (2015, January 15)


Depression is Humiliating

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 4:22 PM

Skin designed & coded by CypherVisor

Depression is humiliating. It turns intelligent, kind people into zombies who can't wash a dish or change their socks. It affects the ability to think clearly, to feel anything, to ascribe value to your children, your lifelong passions, your relative good fortune. It scoops out your normal healthy ability to cope with bad days and bad news, and replaces it with an unrecognizable sludge that finds no pleasure, no delight, no point in anything outside of bed.

You alienate your friends because you can't comport yourself socially, you risk your job because you can't concentrate, you live in moderate squalor because you have no energy to stand up, let alone take out the garbage. You become pathetic and you know it. And you have no capacity to stop the downward plunge. You have no perspective, no emotional reserves, no faith that it will get better. So you feel guilty and ashamed of your inability to deal with life like a regular human, which exacerbates the depression and the isolation.

If you've never been depressed, thank your lucky stars and back off the 'folks who take a pill so they can make eye contact with the grocery store cashier. No one on earth would choose the nightmare of depression over an averagely turbulent normal life. It's not an incapacity to cope with day to day living in the modern world. It's an incapacity to function. At all.

If you and your loved ones have been spared, every blessing to you. If depression has taken root in you or your loved ones, every blessing to you, too. No one chooses it. No one deserves it. It runs in families, it ruins families. You cannot imagine what it takes to feign normalcy, to show up to work, to make a dentist appointment, to pay bills, to walk your dog, to return library books on time, to keep enough toilet paper on hand, when you are exerting most of your capacity on trying not to kill yourself.

Depression is real. Just because you've never had it doesn't make it imaginary. Compassion is also real. And a depressed person may cling desperately to it until they are out of the woods and they may remember your compassion for the rest of their lives as a force greater than their depression. Have a heart. Judge not lest ye be judged.

Source | sherunsfromdarkness.tumblr

If ever I had to accurately describe what it was like to live with depression, these are the exact words I would use- verbatim- as this article mirrors my own personal experiences. -IW

Bipolar Disorder 101

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 8:59 AM

Bipolar Disorder Basics

Bipolar disorder used to be known as manic depressive illness.

It is a mood disorder characterized by mood swings between the "highs" of bipolar mania and the "lows" of depression.

It is an episodic illness. In between episodes of bipolar mania and/or depression, there will usually be periods of stable or normal moods and wellness.

The usual age of onset is late teens to early twenties.

Bipolar disorder is not curable and must be controlled by mood stabilizing medication.

Despite being a life long illness, bipolar disorder is very manageable. In fact, it is one of the "best" mental illnesses to have in that there are many effective bipolar treatments available.

Bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as depression in women or schizophrenia in men.

Un treated bipolar disorder is dangerous and may lead to suicide during depression, or self destructive activities during mania such as wild spending, crazy business ventures, sexual promiscuity or infidelity and other high risk behavior.

Bipolar disorder must be diagnosed and treated by an experienced psychiatrist who specializes in mood disorders.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Symptoms of bipolar depression may include:

Persistent empty or "blue" feeling.

Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities.

Sleep changes - either insomnia or excessive sleep.

Lack of motivation and neglect of routine tasks such as personal grooming.

Indecision. Indifference. Lethargy. 

Symptoms of Bipolar Mania may include:

Reduced need for sleep.

Grandiose plans and beliefs that are not realistic.

Racing thoughts.

Taking on multiple projects and marked increase in goal directed behavior.

Risk taking behavior and distorted judgment i.e. crazy business schemes, reckless investments, sexual indiscretions, shopping sprees, gambling binges etc.

Bipolar Disorder Types

Bipolar Type I is characterized by at least one manic or mixed episode. The mania in Bipolar 1 is serious and may involve bipolar psychosis.

Bipolar Type II is characterized by at least one hypomanic episode, (hypomania meaning literally 'below mania'), and one major depressive episode.

The third bipolar type is called cyclothymia, which is characterized by recurrent cycles of sudden hypomania and dysthymic episodes (type of depression in which a person's moods are regularly low, yet not as severe as with major depression).

Bipolar Disorder Causes

Bipolar disorder is not always inherited and in even in identical twins, both do not always develop the disorder. Although hereditary factors are a major risk factor in developing bipolar disorder, it is not a purely genetic illness.

Neurological Neurotransmitter imbalances and other brain chemistry disturbances can play a significant role in bipolar disorder.

Stress Someone with a predisposition to bipolar disorder may go on to develop the illness if triggered by stressors.

Environmental Factors Seasonal changes or sleep deprivation sometimes precipitate the onset of bipolar episodes.

Pregnancy Obviously, pregnancy in and of itself does not cause bipolar disorder. However, like stress, giving birth can trigger the initial episode in a woman with a predisposition to the illness. 

Bipolar Disorder Myths

Hypomania misconceptions:
 it's a a fun 'high'', an exaggerated form of being the life of the party. Not necessarily. Mania takes on many different forms and can manifest as extreme irritability or even psychosis. (I've experienced both).

Bipolar people are crazy: NO. They have a mood disorder and in between the highs of mania and lows of depression may have long and/or frequent periods of stable moods where they function well. The true bipolar disorder facts are that many people go months or even years without an episode.

Medication and treatment: some people mistakenly believe that bipolar is un treatable, while others believe that bipolar medications are a cure. On the positive side, there are a variety of bipolar medications available, yet finding an effective treatment may take some people longer than others.

Workplace and functioning: although some people are disabled by their bipolar disorder, more than 75% are successful at work. (After graduating college, I maintained a successful and satisfying professional career for three years until my disorder took an extended turn for the worse in 2010. Currently, my situation has not improved beyond the norm of personal or social functioning.)

The myth most bothering is that bipolar disorder is not considered or perceived as a real illness. Although bipolar disorder is episodic and very treatable, it is a serious illness and if untreated can lead to life-threatening consequences, mainly suicide.

Society has a preconceived notion that bipolar is just a fashionable excuse for bad behavior. Bipolar disorder has a clear clinical definition and has been a documented chronic illness for over 2,000 years. Our "bad behavior" is not without a price. We suffer long after the damages as the regret and remorse we feel during "stable" periods consumes us... more so than the consuming illness itself. 


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