Sanctuary for the Abused

Friday, December 16, 2016

Bipolar Disorder: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Bipolar Disorder: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic-depression) is a condition in which a person typically experiences dramatic "mood swings" from periods of extremely elevated moods (mania) to extremely low moods (depression). In most cases, bipolar disorder first appears in young adults, but children and adolescents might also suffer from this disorder.

What are the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder?Bipolar disorder is characterized by two extremes - the polar opposites that give the condition its name.

Signs and symptoms of the manic phase (Bipolar I):

Signs and symptoms of the depressive state:

What is the typical course of bipolar disorder?There is no standard presentation for bipolar disorder. Some people have relatively few or mild episodes. Others may experience rapid cycling (four or more episodes within a year). People can also experience a mixed state, where symptoms of both mania and depression are present at the same time.

What causes bipolar disorder?
Abnormalities in the brain
The cause of bipolar disorder is under investigation, but there are strong indications that it is a brain-based disorder. It seems that several factors act together to produce the illness. Possibilities include:

When an individual is predisposed to bipolar disorder, an episode can be triggered by:

How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?There is no specific diagnostic test for bipolar disorder. It is identified by behaviors often first noticed in adolescence and early adulthood. Symptoms of bipolar disorder may be similar to those of other conditions, such as schizophrenia, other anxiety or depressive disorders, or alcohol or drug abuse.

In children, bipolar disorder may appear similar to temper tantrums, ADHD, or oppositional or conduct disorders. A psychiatrist is the most likely medical doctor to determine the correct diagnosis.

An accurate diagnosis is important because the use of the wrong medication sometimes can lead to more serious symptoms. A medical evaluation should include an assessment of thyroid and kidney function.

How is bipolar disorder treated?
The good news about bipolar disorder is that it is treatable. Proper treatment can help reduce the frequency and severity of episodes and can help people who have the disorder maintain a good quality of life. Without treatment by a psychiatrist experienced with this condition, however, the symptoms can become more severe. But each person is unique. A treatment that works for someone else may not work for you. Although this can lead to heartbreaking rounds of hit-or-miss therapy, there are so many treatments and combinations to choose from that there is bound to be something that is right for you.

Medications may not be the total answer, but they can get you on your feet again and help prevent relapses. It is best to view them as one part of the treatment and wellness equation.

Treatment of bipolar disorder usually includes a combination of approaches, such as:

One challenge in treating bipolar disorder is that the person often enjoys the excitement of the hypomanic or even the manic state, and does not want to give up those feelings to a medication that will level off moods and may have troublesome side effects. In addition, many people are in denial of the problem, or feel stigmatized about having a "mental illness" and refuse to acknowledge the need for treatment. Education about the cause, consequences, and treatment for bipolar disorder can help these individuals:

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Why Women Stay

Situational Factors
Economic dependence. How can she support herself and the children? Fear of greater physical danger to herself and her children if they try to leave.

Fear of being hunted down and suffering a worse beating than before.

Survival. Fear that her partner will follow her and kill her if she leaves, often based on real threats by her partner.

Fear of emotional damage to the children.

Fear of losing custody of the children, often based on her partner's remarks.

Lack of alternative housing; she has nowhere else to go.

Lack of job skills; she might not be able to get a job.

Social isolation resulting in lack of support from family and friends.

Social isolation resulting in lack of information about her alternatives.

Lack of understanding from family friends, police, ministers, etc.

Negative responses from community, police, courts, social workers, etc.

Fear of involvement in the court process; she may have had bad experiences before.

Fear of the unknown. "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't."

Fear and ambivalence over making formidable life changes.

"Acceptable violence". The violence escalates slowly over time. Living with constant abuse numbs the victim so that she is unable to recognize that she is involved in a set pattern of abuse.

Ties to the community. The children would have to leave their school, she would have to leave all her friends and neighbors behind, etc. For some women, it would be like being in the Witness Protection program--she could never have any contact with her old life.

Ties to her home and belongings.

Family pressure; because Mom always said, "I told you it wouldn't work out." or "You made your bed, now you sleep in it."

Fear of her abuser doing something to get her (report her to welfare, call her workplace, etc.)

Unable to use current resources because of how they are provided (language problems, disability, homophobia, etc.) Time needed to plan and prepare to leave.

Emotional Factors
Insecurity about being alone, on her own; she's afraid she can't cope with home and children by herself.

Loyalty. "He's sick; if he had a broken leg or cancer--I would stay. This is no different."

Pity. He's worse off than she is; she feels sorry for him.

Wanting to help. "If I stay I can help him get better."

Fear that he will commit suicide if she leaves (often he's told her this).

Denial. "It's really not that bad. Other people have it worse."

Love. Often, the abuser is quite loving and lovable when he is not being abusive.

Love, especially during the "honeymoon" stage; she remembers what he used to be like.

Guilt. She believes--and her partner and the other significant others are quick to agree-- that their problems are her fault.

Shame and humiliation in front of the community. "I don't want anyone else to know."

Unfounded optimism that the abuser will change.

Unfounded optimism that things will get better, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Learned helplessness. trying every possible method to change something in our environment, but with no success, so that we eventually expect to fail. Feeling helpless is a logical response to constant resistance to our efforts. This can be seen with prisoners of war, people taken hostage, people living in poverty who cannot get work, etc.

False hope. "He's starting to do things I've been asking for." (counseling, anger management, things she sees as a chance of improvement.)

Guilt. She believes that the violence is caused through some inadequacy of her own (she is often told this); feels as though she deserves it for failing.

Responsibility. She feels as though she only needs to meet some set of vague expectations in order to earn the abuser's approval.

Insecurity over her potential independence and lack of emotional support.

Guilt about the failure of the marriage/relationship.

Demolished self-esteem. "I thought I was too (fat, stupid, ugly, whatever he's been calling her) to leave."

Lack of emotional support--she feels like she's doing this on her own, and it's just too much.

Simple exhaustion. She's just too tired and worn out from the abuse to leave.

Personal Beliefs
Parenting, needing a partner for the kids. "A crazy father is better than none at all."

Religious and extended family pressure to keep the family together no matter what.

Duty. "I swore to stay married till death do us part." Responsibility. It is up to her to work things out and save the relationship.

Belief in the American dream of growing up and living happily ever after.

Identity. Woman are raised to feel they need a partner--even an abusive one--in order to to be complete or accepted by society.

Belief that marriage is forever.

Belief that violence is the way all partners relate (often this woman has come from a violent childhood).

Religious and cultural beliefs.

(from the Rural Women's Advocacy Program)
IF you can get to a Domestic Violence Center they can help with resources and a plan to help you get out (you do NOT have to live at the Shelter) CLICK HERE

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