Just What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Carrie Fisher, and Demi Lovato are among the celebrities to recently share with the public their struggles with bipolar disorder. Just what is Bipolar Disorder?
First, we should take a look at the big picture. Psychiatric diagnoses fall into several main categories, which include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, substance-related disorders, and others.
Bipolar disorder is one type of mood disorder. Others include depressive disorders, dysthymic disorder (a milder form of chronic depression), and cyclothymic disorder (frequent periods of highs and lows that are not severe).
There are different types of bipolar disorders; the two main types are Bipolar I Disorder and Bipolar II Disorder. Both include symptoms of mania or hypomania and may include periods of depression.
Bipolar I is the more severe type. People who have this disorder experience manic episodes - distinct periods that may be marked by expansive mood, need little sleep but feel well-rested, may develop grandiose notions, hallucinations, delusions, racing thoughts, pressured speech, intense activity, and poor judgment.
Such disturbances cause marked impairment in sufferers' work, home, and social functioning. Actress Carrie Fisher told USA Today, "A manic phase is not predictable... The last time, I hacked off my hair, got a tattoo, and wanted to convert to Judaism." People who have Bipolar I Disorder may also experience episodes of depression.
Bipolar II Disorder is a milder version of Bipolar I. Sufferers may experience symptoms similar to manic episodes, but are less severe. These are called hypomanic episodes. People who have Bipolar II do not
have hallucinations or delusions, and their symptoms are not severe enough to markedly impair their work or social functioning.
Bipolar I and II are thought to manifest in people who have a genetic predisposition. Even so, some stressors can worsen the symptoms, but they can be minimized. For example, Catherine Zeta-Jones told the press that stress from her husband's illness worsened her Bipolar II symptoms. She wisely obtained treatment soon after her husband's medical condition improved. Another common problem that can recipitate or worsen bipolar symptoms is a lack of quality sleep. Quality sleep is much more important than most people realize. In our country, people often sacrifice sleep in order to take care of other matters.
Mood-stabilizing medications are usually very helpful in treating these disorders. However, practicing good daily self-care can be one of the best deterrents in minimizing hypomanic episodes. This involves maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, using good talking/listening boundaries in interactions, maintaining self-esteem without going "one-up" or "one-down," and minimizing stress.
Thanks to the recent rash of celebrities talking with the press about their struggles with bipolar disorders, more people in the public may feel safer seeking treatment for their illnesses.
Shelley Uram, MD is a Harvard trained, triple board-certified psychiatrist who speaks nationally and internationally on topics related to psychological trauma, the underpinnings of depression/anxiety, and spirituality. Dr Uram conducts lectures, workshops, and seminars to audiences across the United States and co-facilitates lectures and workshops with Pia Mellody. At The Meadows, Dr. Uram conducts many of the patient lectures, provides ongoing training and consultation to the medical and clinical staff. Dr. Uram is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Arizona College of Medicine, and treats patients at her office in Phoenix Arizona.
Welcome to Addiction Recovery Reality, the official blogging voice for The Meadows treatment center, a multidisorder inpatient facility based in Wickenberg, Arizona.
The purpose of this blog is to open a window into our world. The Meadows specializes in the treatment of addictions, compulsive behaviors, and anxiety and mood disorders. We also actively participate in the larger addiction community; our senior fellows are recognized worldwide as academics, authors, lecturers and trainers.
This blog will enable us to share more information about the latest trends, resources, articles, announcements, lectures, book releases and workshops. Many entires will be published by The Meadows’ professional staff, but we’re also looking to highlight some ”best of breed” materials from the outside world.
Please stay tuned for our opening posts!
By Thomas Best, MD, Director of The Meadows
The Meadows is offering a new program called the "Integrated Evaluation." This program combines our groundbreaking Survivors Week workshop with a state-of-the-art evaluative process.
In addition to attending the workshop, each client meets with a treatment team consisting of a psychiatrist, primary care physician, addiction medicine specialist, clinical psychologist, and nutritionist. The evaluation team works collaboratively to ensure that clients receive the most thorough, integrated, and comprehensive evaluation.
Offered at The Meadows for more than 20 years, the Survivors Week workshop examines the origins of adult dysfunctional behaviors by exploring early childhood issues; these can play important roles in various addictions, mood and anxiety disorders, painful relationships, and other emotional issues. In this revolutionary educational and experiential process, participants learn to identify and address family-of-origin issues that took place from birth to 17 years of age. The primary focus of the workshop is to learn to deal with the emotions that accompany any less-than-nurturing past event, and then to work on resolution of the consequential grief and anguish.
Each participant will meet with a member of our highly trained psychiatric staff who will provide a thorough psychiatric consultation. All of the psychiatrists at The Meadows are board-certified by The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and all have received training in The Meadows' therapeutic model. They strive to view a person's mental health issues in a holistic context and consider all therapeutic options.
The in-depth medical evaluation includes a comprehensive history, physical examination, and thorough laboratory workup. A medical evaluation is extremely important when diagnosing and treating mental health concerns. Often there is a direct correlation between medical issues and psychiatric symptoms. When the underlying medical issue is diagnosed and treated appropriately, the troublesome psychiatric symptoms may remit without medication. A medical examination is also very important in the evaluation of alcoholism and drug addiction, as these disorders frequently lead to medical problems. Our board-certified primary care physician is also certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Psychological testing is also valuable to the assessment process. The results are interpreted by The Meadows' Director of Psychology. Finally, a thorough nutritional evaluation addresses the nutritional needs of the client and any potential problems with food, such as an eating disorder.
At the conclusion of the week, the client meets with our professional staff to discuss the preliminary diagnostic findings and treatment options. A complete report is then sent to the client within two weeks.
For more information, please call 800-632-3697.