Memorial Day: Remembering ALL Soldiers who have lost their lives!

memorial day 2Today is not just a day to celebrate the first day of summer with our friends and family.

It is a day to remember the men and women who have lost their lives fighting for our freedom.

Many often think that in order to be one who is remembered today that you must have fallen in battle fighting in a physical war.  However, there is a different wars that some soldiers face and that is one that is invisible.  They are called mental illnesses like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD), depression, anxiety, etc.

Many of these soldiers struggle with a battle that leads them to suicide. We must remember those fallen soldiers as well.  A single number has shaped the way that Americans think about young military veterans. It’s the number 22, as in, 22 vets take their lives each day. The number has become a rallying cry for advocates trying to call attention to suicide among vets, especially those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Oct 1, 2015:Google)

If you know someone who is struggling with a mental illness related to serving in our military, now is the time to check on them.  There are many organizations set up to help them including Wounded Warriors.

If you someone who you are concerned that they are thinking about taking their own lives, act NOW.  Please call or have them call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

 

 

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Guest Post: Apps for Mental Health by Patrick

appsThe coronavirus crisis is testing a lot of people’s mental health. The following is a list of mental health apps that are free to download and use! Here is a sampling of apps to help boost mental health. A couple address addiction specifically, but most focus on anxiety, depression, and stress.

 

There are many more options than the ones listed below. None of these are meant to replace therapy or medication, but they may make a good supplement to treatment. 

Addiction

  • reSET-O. Free. Apple and Google Play.

This prescription cognitive behavioral therapy app is designed to be a supplement to and not a replacement for treating opioid use disorder. Paired with other therapies such as contingency management and medication-assisted treatment (MAT), it’s intended to keep people in outpatient care.

  • HipoChat. Free. iPhone and Google Play.
    This mobile app lets people in recovery keep in contact with the individuals who help them stay sober — designated relatives, friends, support group members. It allows recovering people to sound the alarm when in crisis mode. People may also use it to schedule online treatment sessions.

 

Depression, Anxiety and Stress

  • AnxietyCoach. Mayo Clinic. Free. iPhone only.
    This self-help tool is designed to help reduce a number of anxiety causes, including OCD. It includes self-tests, lets users customize a plan to address fears and track anxiety levels, and has a library of activities that may help reduce worry.  
  • Breathe2Relax. National Center for Telehealth & Technology. Free. Apple and Google Play.
    This stress management tool offers how-tos and breathing exercises to curb and overcome anxiety.
  • eMoods. Free. In-app purchases. Apple and Google Play. 

Users track moods by logging their bipolar, depression, anxiety or other mood disorder symptoms. The goal is to document highs and lows and learn triggers. Users may email monthly reports to their therapist to help monitor progress and shape treatment.

  • MoodTools. Free. In-app purchases. Apple and Google Play.

This app focuses primarily on depression. Users can keep a thought diary, track moods, find ideas for activities, access internet resources, take quizzes, and develop a safety plan in case of crisis.

  • Sanvello. Free. In-app purchases. Apple and Google Play.

This popular app aims to help people suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been offering free premium access. (Premium otherwise may be covered by insurance.) The app focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation, offers mood trackers and assessment quizzes, and allows members to connect with a community of other members.

  • T2 Mood Tracker. National Center for Telehealth & Technology. Free. Apple and Google Play.

This app lets users monitor their moods, specifically focusing on six conditions: anxiety, stress, depression, brain injuries, PTSD, and general well-being. Users can also customize preloaded scales as they track moods and keep a diary of events and medication. The information may be shared with health care providers to identify triggers and shape treatment.

  • notOK. Free. Apple and Google Play.

This free app can offer fast help in suicidal situations. Users register and confirm their email and mobile contact information, then choose up to five contacts they trust in case of emergency. (Contacts must accept the invitation.) If the user is vulnerable, they tap the app’s red notOK button and it alerts everyone on the list, giving a location. Contacts can call, text, or track down the at-risk individual. Once the crisis is passed, the user pushes the green feeling better button to give everyone an update.

 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • CPT Coach. Department of Veterans Affairs. Free. Apple and Google Play.

This app is designed as a treatment companion for patients and therapists to use to work through PTSD using cognitive processing therapy. It includes educational tools, a symptom tracker, homework assignments, and appointment reminders. 

  • PE Coach. Department of Veterans Affairs. Free. Apple and Google Play.

This incorporates prolonged exposure therapy to help with PTSD. The app can be used to record treatment sessions for the patient to review later as they work on homework assigned by the therapist. Tolerance-building and stress-reduction exercises, a progress tracker, and an appointment and assignment reminder are also included.

  • PTSD Coach. Department of Veterans Affairs. Free. Apple and Google Play.

This app teaches users the symptoms of PTSD and coping skills. It also helps locate mental health care providers. Stress management tools, symptom trackers, and the capacity to customize coping tools also come with the download.

 

Patrick is a writer for Sunshine Behavioral Health. Patrick likes to write about addiction and mental health to help lift the stigma associated with them. 

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Being Quarantined as Someone who has Bipolar Disorder

Danger: Keep OutFor most, being quarantined, it is an awful thing and people can’t wait to get back to their “normal” lives.

For me, life is not that much different. Because of my depression, I stay at home and only leave the house once a week to get groceries.  I self-isolate and only have a few friends that I keep in constant contact with.

Luckily for me, I have my husband with me during this time of uncertainty.  I feel for those who are by themselves.

While manic, things would be different, but my way of dealing with bipolar disorder for the past few years is to do everything I can to not get manic.  I have been on strong anti-psychotics that seems to help for the most part.

If I were manic right now, I would probably be going crazy right now as when I am manic, I go, go, go and staying in the house would be difficult.

For me, right now, I am in a hypomanic state, thus the reason I am actually blogging.  I have not written in my blog for almost a year.  Please know that that is because of my depression.

So, in conclusion, this time of self-quaranting has actually been a  good thing for me as it has made me feel like others.  Also, in times to come, I can explain to people that I am like that most of the time and now they might understand.  “Ya know the time you were self-quarantined for months? Well, that is how I live my life.”

 

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Mental Health Advice during this time of COVID-19

covid19This time of this pandemic there are  many people who are feeling depressed, anxious, fearful, angry, traumatized, etc.  They are already seeing an uptick in cases of these and it is predicted it is only going to get worse.

There are some things you can do to make these things better and the number one thing is to know that it is okay to feel that way.

Everyone is different so there are different ways to cope.  The first thing to do is know how you can cope and here are some ways to do that.  Don’t wait for a crisis to do something.  “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”- Nelson Mandela

  1. Make a plan every night of what you are going to do the next day.  Those things can be simple like taking a shower and getting out of your pajamas.
  2. Don’t isolate.  That is hard during this time of social distancing, but there are many ways to reach out to others including email, phone call, zoom, skype, etc.  Nelson Mandela said, ” No struggle can be waged effectively in isolation.”
  3. Reach out to others. Sometimes this will not only help you, but will help the person who you reach out to.
  4. Limit the amount of news you watch and when you do, make sure you are listening to the experts to get the right information.  Educating yourself with the right information will help with anxiety because the fear of the unknown can take a toll.
  5. Ask for help!  If you are feeling lonely, scared, depressed, anxious, talking to someone else will help.  Reaching out to a friend or loved one might be the only thing you need to do or you might need to talk to a mental health expert.  In that case, there are ways to do this without actually leaving your home. (Teletherapy)
  6. Nurture your hearts and do things you enjoy.  Hobbies, exercising, watching a Netflix movie, diy projects, crafts, etc will help and are important.
  7. Find your coping skills.  Everyone copes differently. Learn the way you cope and use those skills.
  8. Rely on your faith.  Know the Serenity Prayer.  God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
  9. Take care of yourself emotionally especially if you are  helping others.
  10. Fear can be detrimental so do tasks to do something else to keep your mind off things.
  11. Work on your goals.  Do things you can control and focus on those.  We can’t control a lot right now, but we can overcome powerlessness by working on things that better ourselves.
  12. I know it is a cliche, but take one day at a time.  You can’t do everything you want to right now, but know we all will get through this and you can focus on that if you are taking it one step at a time.
  13. There are many articles written to help you deal with mental health issues. Find them and the good ones will help.  One I wrote: Depression Tips by a Person who Suffers from Depression due to Bipolar Disorder
  14. Focus on things you know to do like washing your hands, not touching your face, social distancing, possibly wearing a mask.  This can help with anxiety knowing you are doing everything you can do to help yourself and others.
  15. WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS! FOCUS ON THAT!!!!!

 

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Guest Post: My First Experience with Inpatient Hospitalization  By Bipolar Taxi

Hopital DoorThe first time I ended up in a psychiatric hospital I was 20 years old. It was shortly after my first attempt at getting off heroin after being on it for a few years. I don’t exactly remember how I ended up there but it was a foreign place to me and I was scared.

The staff didn’t seem to be all that accommodating or even care at all that I was confused. I was asking a lot of questions like “where am I?”, “how did I get here?”, and “what pill is this?” On two separate occasions I was put into restraints and was forcefully injected with the ever so famous Haldol and Ativan cocktail. I believe they referred to it as my “PRN.”

After several days in and out of isolation, acceptance for my newly found situation had set in. The medication had started working and I became less agitated. I stayed in my hospital bed for several more days. Taking the medication and not questioning why this was all happening.

I started eating again which the food was actually decent. I had spent the last year or so homeless and learned to appreciate a good meal when I could get one.

The daily visits with the prescribing doctor were interesting to say the least. It consisted of him telling me what symptoms I was experiencing (how could he know that?)and telling me “we can talk tomorrow” when I asked him when I was going to be discharged. I don’t quite remember how I ended up there against my will but I must have been petitioned by a governing authority at some point.

I continued to become more docile due to the medication. I eventually just stop asking questions, which was at least giving me some sense of control, because the nurses and techs would just turn their backs and walk away when I did.

After about a week or so, the doctor explained to me that he had diagnosed me with bipolar disorder and that I had had a manic episode. He did not explain to me what a manic episode was nor did he give me treatment options for the condition. He told me that the ONLY treatment for this affliction was a lifetime of mood stabilizers and antipsychotics. I had no idea what either one of those things were or how they worked. None of the professionals on that unit would take the time to help me to understand how these medications could affect my life (positive or negative).

I was released from the hospital after about 4 weeks. No education was provided about the illness. No ways to cope with symptoms were provided or encouraged. No plans for follow up or aftercare were facilitated. But, they did make sure I had a prescription for these new medications upon discharge.

So what went wrong to provide me with such a poor experience? Well, I could go on for hours about mental health policy but I won’t. You see, this was about 15 years ago. Big strides have been made in the mental health field since then. Focus is steering towards more client centered environments in hospitals. Also, much more education and training has given to hospital staff since those times. 

I hope that I don’t sound too jaded but this was not a great first experience with the mental health system. It also would not be the last time I was to have a bad experience at the hospital. In hindsight… it’s okay. I like to take the outlook on life that everything I have gone through in my life has led up to today, and today was another amazing day.

Check out more personal stories and informative posts at Bipolar Taxi 

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The Worst things About Having Bipolar Disorder

picartBeware:  This is a rather bleak blog, but felt that the reality needed to be spoken.

Overall, I would have to say the worst thing about it is feeling isolated and losing friends.  I am blessed with a husband and family who supports me, but I know many people are not so lucky.  I was blessed to have 25 years of going to college and working full-time jobs where I met a lot of people.  I yearn for those times again.

Secondly, the depression part is hard.  Trying to push yourself to get out of bed, take a shower, let alone go anywhere out of the house can be terrifying.  I find myself having a conversation with my self that I hate my life and then I say back do something about it and then from that point, I can’t get enough energy to do anything.

Thirdly, the manic episodes wear me out and I dread them.  Some people say they like them, but I absolutely hate the feeling of racing thoughts, the energy that I use to do stupid things with. I seem to channel some of that energy into getting the house really clean, etc.  However, for the most part, no matter how many safeguards I have in place, I can’t seem to keep a budget or do things that are embarrassing later.

Fourth, the hospitalizations that I have experienced have been AWFUL!

Then, there is the judgment and the people who find out I have bipolar disorder one way or the other and they never look at me the same again. I told a neighbor I trusted I had it and she therefore told a few others and it destroyed me having a chance to be outside without feeling humiliated.  I say to myself and even to others, don’t care what they think, but it is hard not to do so.

Although the stigma has gotten better, people still don’t understand the illness.  They judge you, don’t try to understand you, they just stay away.

There is some hopelessness in there too as when medications don’t seem to work and you keep cycling, you have to wonder if it is ever going to end.

The bad things might  not end today, but things will get better eventually.  I promise. If you need help call the suicide helpline.

Picture Credit:  Doxycycline on DeviantArt

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Am I responsible for what I do while manic and what can I do about it?

responsibilityI do everything I can to not get manic, but sometimes it creeps in.  Those who love me know that and I am lucky as that is better than most people have.

Yes- I am responsible for the things I do while manic, but people who know me and that I have this illness understand that it was “not me” doing those things. They know if I was not manic, I would not have done them.

When I do things while manic, I am not thinking of the consequences.  I just am doing them.  When my world is rocked and I come back to myself again, I am almost always depressed.  Part of what causes me to be depressed is feeling badly and embarrassed about the things I did while manic.

I hate myself for my irrational behavior and that pulls me deeper into depression.

The trick for me is to not get manic as I regret almost everything I do while manic.  Unfortunately, it sometimes creeps in no matter what I do.

I said yes I am responsible for the things I did while manic, but at the same time, I have to ease up on myself and know that I was sick when I did them and not be so hard on myself.  Making amends to people I have hurt is one thing I try to do.  The money I have spent on things I don’t need, I return as much of it as I can.  I somehow can hide  my mania from a lot of people so they don’t know.  I try and act as normal as I can when I am manic.  I held down jobs this way.   No one knew I had bipolar disorder unless I told them and when I did, they were shocked.

The best things I can do is to prevent myself from getting manic by getting enough sleep, eating right, confiding with people I trust when I think I am spiraling out of control, seeing my doctor, watching my stress level, exercising on a regular basis and taking my medicine.  When I am depressed which is most of the time, it is hard to motivate myself to do these things, however.

So- I am responsible for what I do when I am manic. However, I am not usually to blame for getting manic as I have already stated that I do everything I can to prevent it.  I have stated that I am responsible for everything I do, but at the same time, I am not sure I should be held accountable too much to those who love and care about me as they know about my struggles.  Yes- I still make amends with them and I am sure they probably get sick of it, like I do, but I am  lucky that they love me unconditionally and forgive me.  I know that they struggle right along with me.

I realize I was a little wishy-washy there, but that is because as easy it is to say I am accountable, if I take that on with a full heart, I would  never come out of depression.

One piece of advice, is yes take responsibility, but don’t dwell on the past and right as many wrongs as soon as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to be Around People when you are Depressed

crowdsWhen you are in a deep depression, it is hard to motivate yourself to do anything.  It can be difficult to get out of bed, take a shower, talk to friends and even family, exercise, or find anything that you enjoy.

So, if you can’t even get out of bed, how in the world are you supposed to talk to anyone?

I am somewhat an introvert anyway unless I am manic.  Therefore when I am depressed, I am even more apt to  not want to talk to anyone and it is torturous to be in a large crowd.

When I am depressed and don’t want to even go outside, how am I supposed to go to a function and not make it obvious I  am depressed. I can tell some people, but most people don’t understand so I don’t bother explaining.

People have asked me why I am so quiet.  What do I tell them?

I try to avoid going out anywhere, but there are some times I have to go be around people. For example, I recently had  go to a graduation party.  I dreaded it because I knew I  would be around people. Granted, I knew some of them, but very few of those people knew  I suffered from bipolar disorder and even the ones that do don’t really understand deep depression.

I suppose the way I deal with people when I am depressed is fake it until I make it.  I  tried to hang around my husband most of the time, but when he went off and did other things with friends he had not seen in years, I was left alone and only knew a few of his family members and others.  I just give that fake smile (yes-the one that people who suffer from depression have to do) and would try to listen to others and say something once in awhile so it was not totally awkward.  Thank goodness there were some people who loved to talk so  it was not too strange I did not say much.

Luckily, I found someone who I did not know who struck up a conversation with me and we kept the conversation going for a long time. I was proud of myself for doing that.  If I had my choice I would have crawled up into a ball and not talk to anyone. I actually enjoyed the conversation. Of course, there is always the question what do I do for a living.  I can answer I used to be a teacher and worked for my dad for awhile, but am currently looking. It is mostly telling the truth, but I am on disability and I can’t just tell someone that I hardly know.

I have not written in awhile because I have been depressed and can’t think of any topics that might interest anyone.   I like to end on a positive note and try to “teach” something to my readers. I am not sure if this does either one, but wanted to write something.

On a positive note, like I like to end it:  You can do it!     The worst thing that can happen is people think you are strange or quiet and you can just brush that off.  Like my dad says, “who cares what people think”  I know that is easier said than done.

Be proud of yourself for forcing yourself into the situation even though you have been dreading it for weeks.  Pat yourself on the shoulder knowing that you did the best you could do.  You pushed yourself and got out of the house and will actually feel better by doing so.

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Guest Post: Sleeping and Mental Health by MA Sleep Institute

sad sleeperA bit of background on sleep and mental illness

While historically our theory on the interplay between mental illness and sleep disorders was simply that mental illness can cause sleep disorders. Recent research has made the link between the two stronger and more complicated.

As opposed to mental illness being the cause of sleep disorders, new evidence suggests that sleep disorders can cause and/or exacerbate mental illness. The relationship between the two groups of ailments varies based on the specific disorders involved and can change on a case-by-case basis.

One mental illness may develop in part due to a specific sleep disorder, but it can also be a symptom of the same mental illness — creating a positive feedback loop. Some mental issues may show no causal relationships with sleep at all. And some sleep disorders have no relationship with mental disorders whatsoever.

Mental illness and sleep disorders are still fairly misunderstood compared to other pathologies, in no small part because of their origin in the wild, unexplored frontier of the human brain. Only about fifty years ago did we end the barbaric and widespread use of lobotomies and electroshock therapy used to cure a whole host of mental disorders in the mid 20th century — including depression, anxiety, or even the perceived sickness of homosexuality.

Just now we’re beginning to understand the complex synergy between mental and sleep health, and we’re still only on the cusp of reaching a basic understanding of these interactions.

Let’s take a look at the overlap between these disorders.

Sleep disorder prevalence amongst individuals with mental health issues

With one in six U.S. adults suffering from some form of mental illness and 10-18% of adults living with a chronic sleep problem, understanding the causal factors involved in the two groups of disorders and the interplay between them is no small issue.

It’s been known for years that those with mental issues are at a much greater risk for sleep disorders than those without. While about one in five Americans suffers from some sort of chronic sleep disorder, four out of five Americans with mental health issues have an accompanying sleep issue.

  • Somewhere between 65% to 90% of adults with depression suffer from a sleep disorder.
    • The most common sleep disorder among those with depression is insomnia, but 20% suffer from (the more easily treated) sleep apnea.
  • For adults with anxiety disorder, 50% also suffer from a sleep disorder.
  • Those with bipolar disorder are plagued with sleep disorders at a rate anywhere between 69-99%.
  • About 25-50% of children with ADHD suffer from a sleep disorder.

Unsurprisingly, the most common sleep ailments here are insomnia and hypersomnia (sleeping excessively) during manic and depressive phases respectively.

While not all with mental health issues present a sleep disorder, it’s clear that a great many do.

Now that we’ve established a strong basic link between the two issues, let’s delve into the synergy between them and think about the methodology used to determine this link.

How do we determine that sleep disorders can cause or exacerbate mental illness?

There are a few ways to try and figure this out.

One approach is to identify people presenting sleep disorders with no evidence of mental health issues as determined by testing and follow them over time. While a robust approach, it does leave to question whether the same genetic, lifestyle or psychological factors that could cause sleep issues may also play a role in depression that tends to manifest itself at a later date than the sleep disorder (see lurking variable).

This study from the Henry Ford Health Sciences Center makes use of this type of experimental design and serves as much of the basis for what we know about sleep disorders potentially leading to mental health issues.

Additionally, to see if sleep disorders can worsen mental illnesses, we need to see if treating a sleep disorder (but not necessarily psychiatric issues) helps to improve the psychiatric issue. This may hint that sleep disorders can be a cause of mental illness. However, due to the structure, we can only say with certainty that the presence or severity of sleep disorders can affect the severity of mental health issues.

study from Oxford has provided some of the most compelling research on the intersection between mental health and sleep using a form of the above methodology.

These studies are difficult to get right, and there are some things we should keep in mind when discussing them.

Inherent difficulties in establishing causal relationships between sleep disorders and mental health

Let’s say, hypothetically, that someone ruins their knees after years of physical activity.

They can no longer exercise and as a result, begin to suffer from sleeplessness early on. Because they can no longer exercise, they find themselves feeling less fulfilled or they gain weight, later showing signs of depression.

The knee injury preventing exercise causes first insomnia and then depression — making it appear that one causes the other whereas the injury caused both, just at different times.

One single factor that affects two different variables (independent and dependent) but isn’t controlled for in studies is called a lurking or confounding variable — something that is important to keep in mind in these chicken vs. egg questions.

Establishing the chicken and egg relationship

I can hear you screaming to get to the point, so here we go.

Depression appears to be the mental illness with the most evidence that suggests it may be caused or exacerbated by sleep disorders.

Let’s focus on this in particular.

EVIDENCE SUGGESTING SLEEP DISORDERS, SUCH AS INSOMNIA, CAUSE DEPRESSION

In the Henry Ford Health Sciences Center study, young adults were brought in for an initial interview that included questions on sleep and mental health issues and returned again three years later to follow up.

The research showed that individuals who in the initial interview reported episodes of insomnia but no signs of major depression were four times as likely to develop major depression by their second interview three years later.

A more recent study, also done by the Henry Ford Health Sciences Center, employed a very similar experimental design and presented similar results. The team discovered that those expressing insomnia or insomnia-like sleep issues were again at a significantly greater risk of developing a major depressive disorder than those without sleep issues. This study specifically controlled for stressor events, age, and gender, making it extremely strong evidence for sleep disorders as a cause for depression.

Let’s throw some more evidence into the pile. Researchers in a long-term study on twins discovered that while sleep problems at age eight were a statistically significant predictor of depression by age ten, the opposite relationship was not true.

Even if we want to put our cynical hats on and reintroduce the idea of lurking variables or lack of controls into thinking about this, these studies paint a pretty clear picture that insomnia and depression have a strong causal link. While the possibility of lurking variables in this research is present, the case for insomnia as a cause or sign of major depression is becoming very compelling.

EVIDENCE SUGGESTING SLEEP DISORDERS LIKE INSOMNIA EXACERBATE DEPRESSION AND COMPLICATE TREATMENT OF DEPRESSION

The studies on insomnia exacerbating (but not explicitly causing) depression are extremely robust as well. The aforementioned Oxford study focused on treating students presenting mental health and sleep issues for only their sleep issues through something called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT.

Though CBT intervention focused on insomnia treatment, researchers found that as insomnia symptoms decreased, so too did psychiatric symptoms like hallucinations, paranoia, and depression.

It’s also been reported that depressive individuals respond worse to treatment if they present sleep disruptions than those without, and that individuals with treated depression were more prone to relapse if they have untreated sleep disorders.

Additionally, other studies have shown that those unlucky enough to suffer both depression and insomnia as opposed to simply depression rank much higher in terms of suicidal behavior.

So can we conclude with absolute certainty that insomnia can cause depression?

Not just yet.

Let’s approach this with some level-headedness and scientific literacy.

While it appears that insomnia often precedes depression, and while treating the symptoms of insomnia can ameliorate the symptoms of depression or other mental illnesses, the studies aren’t ironclad and robust enough to come to a conclusion.

We’re close, but until we see more detailed and long-term studies, or research elucidating the biochemical or genetic foundations behind depression or insomnia, we can’t with 100% confidence conclude that sleep disorders like insomnia cause mental illness such as depression.

WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE US?

What we can take away from this is that we can use insomnia and other sleep disturbances as a probable early marker of depression and other mental illness, and can begin preventative or treatment steps before these mental disorders set in.

Parents who notice their children have significant sleep difficulties may want to take them in to see a mental health specialist. If you find yourself up all hours of the night, you may want to speak to a doctor about treating your sleep issues. In addition, getting information on identifying and preventing the onset of major depressive disorder symptoms could be helpful early on.

The presence of a sleep disorder could be an important red flag that something might be going wrong with your body or brain chemistry. Pay attention to it.

While research hasn’t yielded an “aha!” moment on the subject yet, we’re heading in the right direction. We’ve gotten that much closer to determining that mental illness may be developed through sleep disorders.

Some more useful information:

Our Guide to Sleep After Trauma
– The Relationship Between Depression and Insomnia
– Why Sleep is So Important to Mental Health
– Sleep & PTSD
-How Addiction Impacts Sleep 

Disclaimer this is from Mattress Advisor and contributed by Christine, a community outreach coordinator.

 

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Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder I

bipolar disorder pic

Bipolar disorder I has extreme highs (mania) and extreme lows (depression)

MANIA

  • delusions of grandeur
  • risky behavior
  • talking rapidly
  • talking non-stop,
  •  talking about unrealistic things
  •  feeling that you are unstoppable, oftentimes
  • irritability
  • need to sleep less
  • racing thoughts
  • can’t concentrate
  • change in appetite
  • increase in activity
  • sometimes hallucinations
  • reckless behaviour
  • hypersexuality
  • more creative
  • unusual focus on religion
  • spending money excessively
  • inappropriate humor
  • europhia

DEPRESSION

  • extreme sadness
  • suicidal thoughts
  • change in appetite
  • unmotivated
  • difficulty concentrating
  • fatigue
  • decreased energy
  • feeling empty
  • feeling irritable
  • hopeless
  • anxious
  • feeling guilty
  • insomnia
  • aches and pains
  • sleep change-usually too much
  • loss of sex drive
  • thoughts of death
  • agitation
  • thinking dark thoughts
  • restless

You do not need to exhibit all of these to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder I.  However, most people with severe illness do experience most of them from time to time.

When you have bipolar disorder and cycle rapidly, it can be very discouraging to say the least.

However, there is hope out there. Therapy and medication are two examples of things that can help.

 

 

 

 

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