Bipolar Disorder Test – All You Need to Know

It is advised that you carry out a bipolar disorder test each year to determine if you are suffering from this condition or not. Bipolar disorder is a condition where you may experience manias or extreme highs combined with depression or lows. As much as the symptoms of this disorder are very distinct, it can become difficult when you need to test for it. This is attributed to the fact that some of its symptoms, especially the manic depression symptoms, mimic signs of other physical or mental illnesses.

Before you carry out a bipolar disorder test, it is imperative that you understand some of its symptoms. Typically, you may exhibit signs that you have never shown before like lack of concentration, overeating, oversleeping, hyperactivity, being moody and so on. In case you notice some of these symptoms, it is good that you schedule an appointment with your care physician. During the appointment, your primary physician may be able to notice some of these signs as you progress. Psychological evaluation will also be useful when testing for this condition, if the doctor says that it is relevant that you go through it. This can be achieved with the aid of a mental health professional that your primary physician may recommend.

The thyroid is an important gland in the body and it can be affected when you have this condition. In order to carry out a bipolar disorder test, you need to have your thyroid function tested. This gland controls most of the areas in the body and it is also said to trigger change of mood in the event of hormonal imbalance. This test can be done from the blood this gland and be tested so to establish if you are suffering from this condition or not.

In some cases, MRI may be used by doctors to test for this condition. As much as the pictures of your brain may not show that you have this condition, they can also be used to rule out other disorders or abnormalities. On the other hand, you can be able to carry out this test on your own too. You need to be aware of the symptoms of this disorder so that you understand which symptoms are close to what you are experiencing. When testing for this condition personally, it is relevant that you record your feelings like mood change, lack of sleep or appetite and so on. Noteworthy is the fact that personal bipolar disorder tests are one way to save lots of money.

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Bipolar Disorder Treatments – Everything You Need to Know

With proper Bipolar disorder treatments, a person is able to lead a normal life and prevent future complications from occurring. Bipolar is a disease that is recurrent, unpredictable and common in a large number of people worldwide. The disorder involves sudden mood swings in an individual from high or low episodes of depression. In some cases, it is more intense and can last for many days or months, which can disrupted every day living and functioning of a person. This is because it affects judgment, behavior, functioning and energy levels.

Diagnosing the disorder earlier in life combined with comprehensive bipolar disorder treatments can really make a difference to help an individual in dealing with this disease and managing it. The best way to treat this disorder is to have a combination of both counseling and medication, which will go a long way in alleviating the effects of this disease. The counseling will help an individual come to terms with this condition and how to deal with it, because professional counseling has been known to cure even severe depression.

Certain drugs used for bipolar disorder treatments help to stabilize a person's moods to normal levels. Some of the challenges faced by patients include mood swings, multiple medication and cost which is a major issue for families that are not conversant with bipolar facts or various treatment strategies that are still in the research phase can be a quiet cost affair. Many individuals prefer drug treatment to treat their disorder like stabilizing drugs that are prescribed for bipolar disease. Regular episodes of depression and mania require the patient taking these drugs for relief. Valproate and Lithium are some of the mood stabilizer drugs. Lithium is considered the best drug for treating pure mania and also useful for patients suffering from other bipolar related disorders. Anti-psychotics also contain stabilizing properties that can treat this disease.

Some of the non-medication treatment alternatives available for this disease include sleep management and psychotherapy that play a big role in treating this disorder. These treatments help reduce symptoms and drastically prevent relapse occurring in the future. The most important thing is to get tested and get to understand the many options available to you or your loved one. Seek professional advice from mental and psychiatric experts on the best treatment. Many non-governmental organizations and support groups offer offer free assistance to people suffering from this disease on where and how to access treatment. The STEP-BD is one of the largest programs dedicated to the study of bipolar disorder treatments.

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What Exactly Is Bipolar Disorder? What Do We Know?

Nobody knows for sure what the cause of bipolar disorder is. However, there seems to be a combination of biological, genetic and environmental factors involved. Things like environment, neurobiology and psychological and social processes also seem to be at work here. Of course, things like drug or alcohol abuse, stress and trauma can trigger episodes. It is important to understand more about such episodes.

Signs And Symptoms In The Manic Phase

Some of the signs and symptoms of a person who is in the manic phase of bipolar include:

  • Euphoric feelings
  • Extreme optimism
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Rapid speech
  • Racing thoughts
  • Agitation
  • Increased physical activity
  • Poor judgment
  • Recklessness
  • Taking chances that one would not otherwise take
  • Very little need to sleep
  • A tendency to become really easily distracted
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Increased sexual impulses

Signs and Symptoms In The Depression Phase

Some of the signs and symptoms of a person who is in the depressive phase of bipolar disorder include:

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Feeling anxious
  • Feeling guilty
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Sleep disturbances
  • A lack of appetite
  • Exhaustion
  • Loss of interest in the person's typical activities
  • Problems with concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Chronic pain without any known reason or cause
  • Recurring thoughts of suicide

Bipolar Disorder and Creativity

Some studies have been done that show that people with bipolar are really creative. One such study was done by Redfield Jamison, the author of “An Unquiet Mind,” in it she examines the relationship between bipolar and creativity. Her finds were released in “Touched With Fire – Manic Depressive Illness And The Artistic Temperament.” This is something that you need to take into consideration whenever seeking treatment.

Treating Bipolar Disorder

Treatment of bipolar disorder focuses on preventing further acute episodes. The two main treatments are:

  • Medication – There are numerous medications, known as “mood stabilizers,” that are used as treatment. These include Lithium, Sodium Valproate and antipsychotic medications. Sometimes anti-convulsants are also used.
  • Psychotherapy – This is a very common, yet effective form of treatment for patients that have bipolar disorder. Make sure you talk with your doctor about the various types of therapy available before deciding on one.

Of course, patient compliance is important. Herein a psychologist must make the patient feel empowered to be responsible for themselves and for learning more about this illness. If these things do not work and the manic episodes include dangerous behavior or the depressive episodes include suicidal ideations, then hospitalization may be necessary.

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The Various Medications For Bipolar Disorder

There are several medications for bipolar disorder which you can use to put your situation under full control. Once you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, take quick measures at the earliest opportunity before your condition worsens. Consider prescription medication as one of the ways you can use to treat it. This will entailing using appropriate drugs which must be prescribed to you by a medical expert and never buy from street vendors or untrained drugs because they will give you wrong prescriptions. Some of the most common drugs used to treat bipolar disorder include lithium, mood stabilizers, anti-seizure drugs and antidepressants although the ones you buy should be determined by the symptoms you are experiencing.

Take note that these drugs have their own side effects that they come with that you have to be cautious because they are sometimes dangerous to even cause death. There are those that increase your blood pressure and high risks of suffering from complications like obesity and diabetes. It is therefore advisable that before you take any of these medications for bipolar disorder you have enough information concerning their side effects and how they can affect you. Likewise, ensure that any medication you seek is prescribed to you by an expert because he will be able to advise you well on how to use them. Do not abandon your dose midway even if symptoms disappear and you start feeling well but complete it to reduce the chances of bipolar disorder recycling.

Psychotherapy is yet another very important medications for bipolar disorder. When you notice symptoms of the disorder whether in manic or depression state, consult a psychologist in time so that he can help you manage it as well as prescribe to you the best medication to pursue. If your situation is not very serious, you can use Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) to temporarily relieve you of the symptoms and it can either be administered to muscle relaxation or a short electricity shock that does not take long.

ECT is usually the last resort used for treating people who are not responding positively to other medications due to several unavoidable reasons. It is even not good for proper treatment of patients with adverse effects as it is not very effective. There is also the option of looking out for more natural remedies for bipolar disorder which are usually the best because they do not have adverse side effects. These may include the use of different types of herbs but always remember to consult a doctor when using herbs since mixing many for a single dose is dangerous.

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Simple Ways Your Lifestyle Can Influence Your Thinking And Mood

Simple Ways To Improve Your Brain's Function

The brain and how it functions, has been a mystery for most of mankind's past, but researchers today are beginning to unravel the secrets, allowing you to see how you can influence this remarkable organ and in so doing, improve the quality of your life.

Different food choices can lead to improved thinking

There are a number of key areas where research has highlighted how different choices can lead to improved cognition and mood. How food influences mood, is now understood in more depth, and as we can now see what goes on inside a living brain, it's much easier to see how what you eat is influencing your thinking.

Improving your ability to learn, remember and focus, as well as keeping your moods more stable is valuable information – whether you are getting older, and concerned about senior moments, or trying to maximize your ability in a competitive work environment.

So much information, too little time

School children, as well as university students, battling to keep up with large quantities of information, can also use these specific guidelines. Follow the points below to help your brain work optimally.

Fats for a fatty brain

As 60% of your brain is made up of fat, you need to choose the right ones. Between 20 – 30% of these fats and oils, should be specific ones, called EFA's or Essential Fatty Acids, which have to be obtained through your diet, as your body can not make them.

It is estimated that 95% of people are deficient in these unique fats, as you do not get them in your diet anymore, due to modified farming practices, poisoning oil processing methods, over consumption of refined carbohydrates, and grain fed animal produce.

Therefore, you are probably not getting these unique fats in your diet anymore, and so your brain may be battling to keep up with all the ongoing demands that are placed on it.

Neurons, specialized nerve cells, require these EFA's; synapses, specialized areas on dendrites and axons, which allow neurons to talk to each other, require them. Axons, which need to be myelinated, to increase the speed of transmission between neurons, need these unique fats too.

Without them, the brain is not capable of working optimally, because their unique structure allows the electro-chemical communication required by the brain to run smoothly.

As these essential fats are required for the structure of the brain, on so many different levels, if they are not there, the function will be hampered.

Supplementing with the right ratio of undamaged Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats, in the right ratio, is therefore critical for optimal brain functioning, as well as development. Furthermore, the aging brain requires these fats to maintain optimal function too.

The right carbohydrates for a very hungry brain

Your brain is the most energy hungry organ in the body, although it only weighs between 1.3 and 1.5 kg's. And glucose, the breakdown product from carbohydrates, is the brains primary source of fuel.

When the cells, in this case, neurons, are capable of producing energy effectively, the brain will remain sharp, so you'll be capable of thinking well, facilitating learning and memory, as well as mood stabilization.

Unfortunately, people often consume the wrong kinds of carbohydrates, preferring highly refined, processed, additive fried carbohydrates, crackers, crisps, cookies, to fiber-free breads, pizza, fries and donuts.

When your blood glucose increases too quickly, it sets off a number of different reactions in the body, all of which lead to hampered blood glucose supply to the brain, which will in turn result in spurts of energy, influencing thinking negatively.

Your choice of carbohydrates will directly influence your thinking.

A simple way to see this correlation is when you learn that people who have type II diabetes, have a significantly greater risk of developing dementia.

If the supply of glucose to the brain is hampered in any way, whether through the wrong types of carbohydrates, or through the narrowing of blood vessels, your brain will not be receiving the amount of glucose it requires for optimal functioning.

Combining the right carbohydrates and the right EFA's will ensure the right foundation for optimal brain health.

Your brain needs specific vitamins and minerals every day too

Adding the right minerals and vitamins completes the nutrient requirement for a healthy brain. By ensuring that you include vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, as well as whole grains, and organic animal products, if you choose to eat them, you will be obtaining a wide variety of essential nutrients, that support not just physical health, but also cognitive well being.

Unfortunately it's not possible to obtain all the nutrients that you require from your food, although there are people that argu one can.

You are faced with increased nutrient needs today, due to:

increased stress levels, which place extra demands on your body

levels of pollution that require your body to be in state of detox most of the time

severely reduced levels of vitamins and minerals in the produce that is grown, aimed at convenient mass farming, not maximum nutrient content.

Therefore, supplementing an excellent diet, guarantees optimum nutrient intake, and a great supply of essential compounds that facilitate physical as well as mental health.

Move the body to help the brain

Physical exercise has also been found to play a critical role in both physical and mental health, with countless research studies clearly illustrating the role that regular exercise plays in keeping you healthy, happier and more cognitively aware.

Even studies looking at people, who only form of exercise was walking, showed clear benefits to their bodies and their brains. The more aerobic the exercise, the more benefit was enjoyed. This is simply due to the fact that exercise allows more blood to flow to the brain, due to increased circulation, which means that the brain receives more oxygen and nutrients in the process.

Neurons, specialized nerve cells, of which you have about 100 billion, can also become healthy when you exercise regularly, and even increase in number. There is no reason to be a couch potato, especially if you care about how your body and brain are aging.

Exercising regularly provides so many different benefits, physical as well as mental, that it has to be part of the overall approach to optimal health – on all levels.

Take a deep breath and save some neurons

Stress is capable of destroying neurons, as well as negatively impacting other critical functions in the body, so you need to find a way to manage your stress levels. Fortunately, exercise is one of the best ways to combat rampant stress, as your body becomes occupied with another activity, and you get to use up all the adrenalin that stress produces, in a very active, productive way.

Meditation is another way to handle stress in your life, and it provides a space in your day, where you learn to switch off from everything going on around you, experiencing true peace and serenity. This feeling ever pervades your life, and you find yourself calmer and more able to handle stress, in ways that are not counter productive.

Mental stimulation grows neurons

Another form of exercise that is becoming more popular, is a specific form of mental exercise, where people perform precise tasks and tests using a computerized program, with the aim of helping their brains stay agile and capable.

Although the results of these activities, on long term cognitive health are still too sparse to make concrete statements about, initial results on some of the programs are very promising.

Playing Sudoku, learning a new language or taking up a new hobby, are also examples of other activities that will keep your brain performing well.

Combine physical and mental exercise for maximum benefits

Of course, combining a physical and mental form of exercise, can help you save time, and make the activity even more challenging, with complicated dancing steps and martial arts being two simple examples.

No magic pill to save your health – either physically or mentally

Unfortunately, most people are looking for the magic pill that will automatically solve their health as well as cognitive problems. There is no magic solution, because the body and brain can not be separated into different areas of concern. They work together and looking after one of them will automatically ensure the others health as well.

Furthermore, by working to improve your health you end up becoming empowered, and feel more in control of what happens to you. Along the way you also find your becoming becoming happier and could become an inspiration to someone who has not started making positive changes yet.

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What Causes Depression, Stress and Anxiety?

Depression, stress and anxiety causes are numerous, possibly more numerous than at any other time in the past. The mood disorders are sometimes described as modern illnesses. There have always been some cases of psychological disorders, but the widespread presence of the mood disorders is a relatively new phenomenon.

Understanding the causes of the disorders has been a goal of modern science. While some aspects of brain function are not fully understood, there are some things that we do know. Here are the known and suspected causes.

Illness

Heart disease, thyroid disorders, cancer, stroke and Alzheimer's are among the illnesses that can lead to depression and other mood disorders. It is easy to understand why a chronic illness would cause a person to become depressed.

Drugs

Medication used to treat heart disease; high blood pressure and high cholesterol are among the drugs that can contribute to either a depressed state or a state of anxiety. Prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills are depressants, as are tranquilizers and alcohol.

Although not always thought of as a drug, caffeine is one of the common stress and anxiety causes. Anyone suffering from nervousness or excessive anxiousness should limit their intake of caffeine or cut it out completely.

Recreational drugs can also cause mood disorders, because of the effects they have on brain chemicals, also known as neurotransmitters. Cigarette smoke contains nicotine and other chemicals that affect neurotransmitter function.

Finally, anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs can sometimes cause increased depression and / or anxiety. New warnings are required on some packaging to call attention to those risks.

Life Changes

Losing a job, getting divorced, money problems and loss of a loved one can cause a person to become depressed. Sometimes, the depressed mood resolves after a while, sometimes not.

Moving, changing jobs, pressure at work and even happy things like taking a vacation, getting married or having a baby are among the stress and anxiety causes. In some cases, it is an accumulation of small irritations that lead to anxiety disorders, irrational fears and feelings of being out of control. The irritation may come from toxins in the environment.

Exposure to Toxins

We live in a pretty toxic environment. There is pollution in the air and water. Toxins are accidently a purposely deposited in foodstuff. Cosmetics, personal care products, household cleansers, bug spray, weed killer, air fresheners and dozens of other items in your home contain toxins.

The safety of each of those products has been determined by assuming a person would only be exposed to one. You may be exposed to hundreds of different toxins every day.

Artificial fragrances are among the most irritating and they are known to contribute to depression and nervousness. Many of the chemicals in our environment are toxic to the central nervous system, the mood control center.

Nutritional Deficiencies and Imbalances

Nutritional deficiencies and imbalances are depression, stress and anxiety causes. In every nutritional deficiency, mood changes and disorders are among the symptoms. Fatigue is another symptom and is often a major complaint among depressed and stressed out individuals.

Nutritional deficiencies in developed countries were believed to be rare until doctors starting doing more testing. Today, vitamin D deficiencies are a common problem and that is just one example.

Soil depletion caused by factory farming has lead to nutrient depletion. It is harder to get all of the nutrients you need every day from the foods that you eat, because fruits and vegetables simply are not as nutritious as they once were.

Many of the foods you eat may be over-processed or over-cooked. Cooking reduces the nutritional value of most foods. In processing, many nutrients are removed. For example, processed grains used in white flour and similar products contain none of the wholesome bran and very little of the essential fiber.

Depending on your food tastes, you may not be getting enough of certain nutrients that are essential for normal brain function. You'll learn more about those nutrients in my next article. The depression, stress and anxiety causes can be addressed naturally and safely. You can be happy without being medicated.

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10 Tips on How to Stop Panic Attacks

There are a number of options you may try to use to stop panic attacks or to stop panic attacks from happening.

1. Leave. This is perhaps the easiest way to stop panic attacks as it will allow you to remove yourself from a frightening or stress situation. However this on its own can actually make the problem worse, as it may enhance the fear of that particular place or situation. This can encourage agoraphobia, which is a very serious medical condition and one that is extremely debilitating and difficult to treat. Only leave a situation if you are also actively pursuing other forms of treatment, such as CBT.

2. That brings me to my next tip – Exposure. By bracing your shoulders and going into a potentially stressful situation you are slowly chipping away at that fear. However this can be very traumatic. If you try this technique, start off small and work your way up. There might be a certain situation that your are slightly apprehensive about. Start with a brief exposure to this situation – even if only for a few minutes – and repeat a few times. After awhile you may find you can tackle a more stressful situation.

3. Try to relax. There are a number of relaxation techniques out there and many experts say are a good beginning point for panic disorders. It is really hard to focus your attention on something if you are actively working to think about something else. In this case, divert your attention to feeling relaxed. Focus on your breath – take slow, deep breaths. Release them just as slowly. Feel them filling your lungs. At the same time, imagine each breath is fixing your post – focus in particular on your breath coming in from your abdominals, and straighten your back. Again, different things work for different people. Research Buddhist meditation, which teaches you to replace thoughts with small sounds.

4. Write about it. Sharing your experiences is one of the most powerful ways you can release stress, stress and anxiety. For some people, talking about what they are experiencing, their concerns and fears, is extremely stressful. Keeping a diary and journaling your inner thoughts is a way you can release that stress while also allowing it to remain private. This is an intensely personal experience so for many people writing, rather than talking, is a way to get that release.

5. However, if you have a trusted friend or relative you feel you can talk to, tell them what you are going through. Suffering from panic attacks can make you feel really alone, so it is nice to be reminded that you do have people around who care for you. This can also help them understand what you are going through, which helps strengthen your bond. This person can be anyone – a teacher, a friend, a grandparent – as long as you are able to trust them that they will respect you and what you have shared with them in confidence.

6. One of the most beneficial techniques taught during the CBT process on how to stop panic attacks is thought restructuring. This is really difficult to achieve, as when you suffer from severe bouts of panic attacks it can be hard – almost impossible – to focus on something else. However once you have mastered it you will find it hugely useful. Again, this involves writing about your problem. In this case, write for 10 minutes a day for at least a week (preferably two). It allows you to talk back to your fears, and confront them. It gets better with practice so do not give up. After two weeks, start trying to talk to your anxieties in your head, not on paper. Once you find you are starting to become successful at this, start exposing yourself to stressful situations (as talked about earlier).

7. For a short-term solution, try breathing into a paper bag. Hyperventilation is one of the key symptoms of a panic attack, and also one of the scariest. However you may find this increases the problem as it increases the amount of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream, which can contribute to the frequency and length of panic attacks. If you find this technique does not work for you, try humming or even counting out loud. These are short-term, temporary measures but it can often be enough to get you out of a frightening situation.

8. Cut back on alcohol, caffeine and sugar and increase your Vitamin B intake. Maintaining a healthy diet can help stop panic attacks from occurring in the first place. Reduce or eliminate all of your alcohol intake as it can overstimulate your already tightly-strung nervous system. Similar caffeine and sugar both stimulate your senses, which again can lead to a hyperactive nervous system. To up your vitamin B, look at what foods you are eating. You can find quantitative quantities of thiamine, niacin and B12 in whole-grain cereals and eggs, seafoods like tuna, salmon and swordfish, legumes like beans and peanuts, and fresh vegetables and fruits like broccoli, asparagus, melon and oranges.

9. Visualization is a powerful tool. Focus on the sensations around you. Sit outside on the grass, close your eyes, and concentrate on the grass tickling your feet, the wind brushing your face, the sun beating down on your shoulders. In addition, close your eyes and imagine a vivid scene and concentrate all your thoughts on that. What are you looking at? What does it feel like? Focus all of your attention on picking out every detail of that scene.

10. Seek treatment. Antidepressant medications and therapy both have some negative preconceptions around them, but the best advice you will ever receive is to ignore that. There is no shame in trying to help yourself; in fact it is to be applauded, as you have taken a brave first step towards recovery.

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How to Handle Panic Attacks In Children

Panic attacks in children are often identified in their very early years and these attacks can often plague them from the early stages of life right through into adulthood. This can be particularly frustrating and worrying for parents too, especially in very young children who have not yet developed full speech and are unable to communicate their feelings clearly. This can often lead to parents punishing their children as the anxiety may manifest itself as a tantrum and the child may appear to be acting up on purpose.

It's important then that as parents, we need to be able to recognize these early symptoms of anxiety disorder or panic attacks so we can best act on getting them the proper care and support needed. Parents also need to be understanding of their child's condition and look to show support rather than chastising their children for what seems on the surface to be quite unacceptable behavior.

It's naturally a very painful experience having to witness your children having to cope with this anxiety and anguish, but by learning more about the symptoms and causes of panic attacks, the knowledge and understanding a parent can gain is invaluable in enabling them to help and support their child and their condition. Rather than feeling helpless when these attacks can occur, instead a parent can learn to cope and in turn calm a situation. These attacks and anxieties may start to increase in your young child and the uncertainty as to when they can strike and often put a downer on even the simplest of outings.

Children's reaction and coping with panic can lead to tantrums and a flailing of limbs, which means they may lash out at those closest to them. In turn they also run the risk of hurting themselves when in the middle of a particularly terrifying attack. They may also lash out verbally and speak to you in a way you would not normally expect them to, however these are all natural reactions to anxiety or panic. Try and make a note of what they say and any other extraordinary behavior and keep a journal of events.

By documenting your observations, these notes can then be used to better understand the patterns that occur and may be causing the stress in your child. Make notes of where you were, what your child was doing, what they were saying and who else was around at the time it happened. By doing this, Health Professionals will be able to better identify what may be triggering these attacks, and in turn can identify the appropriate treatments that may be required. Anxiety and Panic in children can often be triggered by events or experiences in school, relationships with friends, family issues, and can also be a result of something

You do not need to look far and you will find numerous online support groups and forums that are available for parents to discuss, share and advise on their experiences with anxiety and panic attacks in their children. It is very important that your child knows that they are not in the wrong and that you are there for them to support and help them through what is a very stressful and alarming time for them. Take control of the situation (and by this I mean a compassionate and understanding attitude) and let your child know that you are there for them, and also to help them overcome their condition.

It is very important that your child understands that none of this is 'their fault'. Without the support of an understanding parent, these continued attacks can give your child incredibly low self esteem and self worth. When you recognize the symptoms, then you can better prepare yourself for those moments when they start to have abnormally. Rather than reaching out to restrain them when they are throwing a tantrum, make sure you can ease the situation and help them calm down sooner. It is also very important to keep reminding yourself that this is in no way a reflection on you as a parent. Instead panic and anxiety in children is a recognized disorder that can be treated and can be cured.

Hang on in there and be with them to help them overcome their anxiety and stress. Remain patient while you work together with your child to find a remedy or solution that will finally see them free from their anguish. Whilst distracting at first, once you can understand the 'why' this is happening, it's easier to concentrate on the 'how' you can help them get better.

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Biopolar II – Techniques to Help Restore Inner Balance

Living with bipolar is a real challenge! The mood fluctuation can feel like riding a never ending roller-coaster. The extensive medical utilization of drug therapy to manage the highs and lows is not only hugely expensive but may be accompanied by a range of side effects. It is scary not knowing when the next high or low will hit and this can feel like one is out of control.

Feeling alone in your struggle is not uncommon as support is rare as often as the people close to you do not know how to support you or how to react to your moods which further complicates the situation. It can be easy to feel like a victim and at the mercy of something far bigger than you. Learning techniques that will assist you in managing this serious illness can help you to support yourself and decrease the impact that bipolar has on your life.

Self-knowledge

Part of the management of bipolar is recognizing the sunset of a mood change. Keeping a daily journal and recording how you are feeling can help to recognize your mood fluctuations. Symptoms of mania, hyper mania and depression are experienced differently by different people. Checking in with yourself daily can facilitate you to take quicker action as you begin to see a mood fluctuation.

Behavior changes

A change in mood is usually accompanied by a change in behavior. Take a moment to reflect on how you will be when your mood is either up or down. Often we may feel high or low and not be aware of how this affects on the way in which we behave. Behavior changes associated with depression may include a change in sleeping and eating habits, a withdrawal from social activities, a lack of interest in hobbies or activities and a generally pessimistic view of life. Manic or hyper mania behavioral changes may include talking faster or more loudly than usual, less sleep, driving fast, increased social interaction, over working, increased risk taking with money or the law and generally shocking people.

These are just some examples of changes in ones behavior that can result from a mood change. You need to evaluate how the up's and down's affect your behavior.

Balance

If bipolar represents two opposite poles (the highs and the lows) and you being dropped from one extreme to the other than the challenge is to remain in the center. With our mood fluctuations we lose this center point and we act out of balance. Usually drugs are used to help to restore the lost balance. If we are low we may use medication which will improve our mood and move us closer to that middle neutral point.

Acting out of mood swings

Often when we up or down we instinctively act out of this space. In other words we act depressed when feel depressed or we act manic when we feel manic. When you are manic and sleeping less, working more, socializing endlessly, listening to load music, etc., you actually feed the mania. We may go with the mood and hand ourselves over too it. The more out of control you have the more out of control you feel.

The same is true for depression, withdrawal from life as a result of depression seems to not only perpetuate the depression but also disrupt one's life. When we hand ourselves over to depression and can not get out of the bed or perform daily function life can get out of control very quickly.

Your strength

Have you ever felt something really intensely and made a conscious decision not act on the feeling? Maybe you felt intense anger or hurt but you knew showing or acting on it would not be in your favor so you did not. We all possess this self-control or self-discipline and can develop and build on it. Rudolf Steiner referred to this as your will. In realizing you are more than your feeling you have the capacity to feel one thing, think about the feeling and then choose your action accordingly. You may not be able to control your mood swings but being aware of the shift in yourself you can develop the capacity to consciously choose your actions. There is no denying what you really feel; in fact the power to change your behavior lies in really acknowledging what you do feel.

Creating balance

Developing the capacity to act from the center when feeling either very high or very low takes practice and also requires the acknowledgment and belief that there is more to you than the 'bipolar'. We all have the capacity to feel something and choice not to act out of this. In order to bring yourself down from mania you could adjust your behavior, for example consciously walk, talk and drive slower. One could also resist going shopping or party and instead do a yoga class or take a bath and stay away from wild entertainment. The aim is to consciously choose activities that bring your mood down and thereby bringing you closer to the center.

The same would apply to depression. Once acknowledging you are feeling depressed you would then work against the downward pull in mood. This could be accomplished by keeping active, going to gym or engaging in exercise or activities that you enjoy, trying to keep to your schedule and focusing on something that uplift you like movies, books, friends and company. The natural tendency to go down and feel negative about everything has to be counter acted. Taking up the daily practice of gratitude and meditation can be most helpful. Usually you will feel better when you are accomplishing something and not just lying on the bed which will make one feel worse.

Benefits

Using these tools to help you to gain some awareness and control of your behavior can affect the rest of your life positively. Friends and family can be very influenced by moods swings which result in major behavior changes. If one is able to contain these mood swings and decrease the impact they have on your life, your family, your work and on general social interaction you will feel more in control.

Bipolar is a serious illness and medication may be a life-long necessity. Using this process does not replace medication or other forms of therapy but it will help you to find ways that help you to live a balance full life. A combination of medication, therapy and life style changes may all be part of managing this illness.

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Intense Jealousy and How to Cope With It

What emotion do you think of when you see the color green? For most people, it's jealousy, aka “the green eyed monster”, or that that makes us “green with envy”. Jealousy is something most of us experience in our lives, but for some of us it can be a more intense, constant feeling than is normal. When this happens it's hard to know how to accept – and many a book or play has actually been written on the intension emotional anguish jealousy can bring about, with Shakespeare's Othello perhaps being the best known example.

There are lots of different types of jealousy, though they're all equally unpleasant to experience from either end. There is sibling rivalry, where the achievements or attention a brother or sister receives makes someone feel inadequate or left out. There is platonic jealousy – for instance, if a friend suddenly begin to neglect you for work, or a significant other, and you find yourself missing their friendship. And of course, romantic jealousy is well-documented for how destructive and upsetting it can be.

People engaging intense jealousy are often shunned by those around them, or told to get over it. It's true that an extremely jealous person can, unfortunately, be rather unpleasant or difficult to spend time with, but it's also true that sometimes it's simply not as easy as just “getting over it”.

Although it may be difficult to accept at first – for many people engaging intense jealousy are hesitant to admit that the problem lies primarily with them – therapy can be useful for coping with jealousy. Although a certain degree of jealousy is normal and experienced by everyone at least once or twice in their lifetime, jealousy should never persist to the point that it isolates a person from their friends, or causes them prolonged emotional distress. When it does it's a warning sign that something deeper is wrong – and therapy can help to locate exactly what that deeper something is.

What's more, therapy can provide a judgment-free environment for someone experiencing intestinal jealousy to talk about their feelings. Many friends and family, although initially sympathetic, may find it outputting to talk about an emotion such as jealousy as length; it's not for nothing that jealousy is often described as an “ugly emotion”.

Jealousy can be difficult to cope with and manage, but it does not have to be. Once you've got the root of your jealousy, you can begin to heal.

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Misconceptions Of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a very common issue for many people and is a diagnosis that many people do not really understand. When someone is diagnosed as bipolar this means that they can swing very quickly from one mood or state of mind to another which can seem quite erratic to those who are around them but many people do not, at least at first, realize that the person is dealing with a disorder.

Confusion arises when the terminology of mania comes up when researching bipolar disorders. The dictionary states mania as an excess excitation or enthusiasm. Most people would interpret this as a happy state of being. For bipolar individuals it can mean a period of wild behavior or excess rages. Mania takes on a whole different meaning when used in regards to bipolar individuals.

There are many symptoms that appear in a person who has bipolar disorder. Some are more predominate then others and are more noticeable to the average person. Along the erratic mood swings you may observe lack of control, angry outbursts, little need for sleep, can not control their impulses. Other behaviors may be negligent sexual behavior, inflated ego or extreme spending sprees. However, the other side of their elated state is the tormenting and severe bouts of depression.

The ominous signs of a depressive bipolar individual can be seen in the inability to make decisions or concentrate, either an increase of loss of appetite, excess fatigue where they do not even want to get out of the bed to horrific thoughts of suicide. Many times during the periods, the individual will withdraw from family and friends which is hard for those who truly care about them. No one knows how long these episodes can last. Because of this, bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose. For some these episodes switch quickly and multiple times a day and others stay in one state for a longer period of time.

Substance abuse is a common problem among those with this disorder as is suicide. Overall, getting an accurate diagnosis and the treatment that is needed can help a person to keep their symptoms under control and begin to live a healthy and productive life once again. Mental illness can be difficult to address since the symptoms can be in a constant state of flux but it is important to realize that help is available for those who are struggling with this illness.

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Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder – Everything You Should Know

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that affects approximately 2% of the population in the United States today. This disorder causes frequent, severe shifts in mood – from mania to depression. Oftentimes people will misdiagnose it as a small problem, not the serious one that it is. For this reason, it is important to recognize bipolar disorder's symptoms and get a diagnosis from a psychologist.

Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

Some of the most common bipolar symptoms include:

  • Feelings of extreme elation and deep depression that occurs at the same time
  • Large variations in work quality and output
  • Periods of great optimism that are either followed or preceded by periods of great pessimism
  • Periods when you are overly happy or sad
  • Racing thoughts
  • Extreme irritability
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Anyone who experiences these symptoms should talk to a psychologist in order to get a proper diagnosis. Since there is not a definitive test (ie blood test, brain scan) for bipolar disorder, diagnosing it can be a complicated process that requires the skill and experience of a licensed psychologist.

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder

In order to reach a diagnosis you will be interviewed by a psychologist. Herein your family history will be looked at since it is believed that bipolar disorder is a genetic condition. Of course, the psychologist will also want to know about your current symptoms (ie concentration level, mood, reasonability ability, memory, ability to interact with others) as well. Blood tests and a brain scan may be used to rule out other illnesses with similar symptoms such as drug abuse, stroke and brain cancer.

Treating Bipolar Disorder

There are a lot of great benefits to an early diagnosis. This is especially true whenever you consider that 15% of bipolar patients attempt suicide and 60% abuse drugs or alcohol at some point in their lives. Once diagnosed, there are a lot of different prescription medications available for treating this disorder. Since it is primarily thought to be caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain these medications will be used to correct this. Psychotherapy is also helpful when used with these medications. All of this will allow you to live a “normal” life even though there is no cure for bipolar. Even so, this is thought to be really good news for those who are afflicted by this disorder as many of them will otherwise find that their lives are strictly interrupted.

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A Guide to Living With Bipolar Disorder

If you are living with bipolar disorder, you may be required to make a couple of adjustments and make healthy choices in order to live a healthy life. There is no doubt that bipolar disorder has been termed as an illness that is recurrent and lifelong but this does not mean that you can not live a healthy life incase you are suffering from the same.

While the first step towards meeting this end is adhering to proper medication and therapy it is important to state that there are several other things that you could do to ensure that living with the condition becomes easier. In essence, the manner in which you react after certain mood episodes is that determinates whether you will be able to recover easily or not.

Concepts for Quick Recovery

  • Hope: It is important to have faith and believe that you can effectively cope with your changing moods. This is among the major concepts that make it easy for you to recover from the bipolar disorder.
  • Perspective: Note that cases of depression as well as those of manic depression take recurrence patterns. While you may go through painful episodes and doubt wherever you can get well, it is important to main a positive perspective at all times.
  • Individual responsibility: Living with bipolar disorder claims that you take responsibility for your actions and work towards keeping your moods at a stabilized state. This may demand that you seek for help from others and adhere to your medication guidelines. In addition to this, you will also be required to stick to the appointments you have with your doctor.
  • Advocate for yourself: Make sure that you speak out for yourself so that you can get the necessary treatment needed to give you the opportunity to live a healthy life.
  • Educate yourself: If you take time to research, you will discover that there is a vast wealth of information about the condition and you can educate yourself more so that you can learn how to deal with any issues that might arise.
  • Exercise some patience: Living with bipolar disorder is not an easy feat and you should not expect to see significant changes overnight. It will take sometime for you to perfect the art of controlling your emotions but with the right strategies, it should not be difficult for you to achieve this end.

By following through with all these tips and adhering to a healthy diet, it should be easy for you to live a healthy lifestyle. As you explore these options, you will soon discover that living with bipolar disorder is manageable.

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Major Depression and Mania That Is Associated With Bipolar

Bipolar disorder used to be known simply as manic depression. It is a psychological mood disorder that greatly impairs a person's ability to regulate their mood. As such, these people are prior to episodes of major depression and mania.

Understanding Major Depression

There are a lot of different types of depression. Many people experience some kind of depression whenever they are faced with significant disappointment or grief. This is known as minor depression. Bipolar patients suffer from what is known as major depression. Psychologists refer this to as bipolar depression. Some of the signs of major depression include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in all or most activities
  • Persistent change in weight or appetite
  • Insomnia or hyposomnia
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

These occur over a prolonged period of time on a daily, or near daily, basis.

Understanding Mania

The DSM, which is the main diagnostic manual that mental health professionals use, says that in order to be diagnosed as bipolar you must have at least one manic episode that is not caused by drug or alcohol abuse, medication or a medical disorder. It is also important to understand that mania is different from being in a really good mood. Mania is an abnormally elevated mood that includes the following symptoms:

  • Racing thoughts
  • Fast or pressured speech
  • Irritability
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Easily distracted
  • An increase in goal-directed behavior
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for negative consequences

In Conclusion

While everyone may experience some of these symptoms from time to time, a person with bipolar disorder will have several of these symptoms all at the same time. Of course, some people will have substantial separate episodes of mania and depression through their lives. Some people are more prone to bouts of depression while others are more prone to bouts of manic episodes. These episodes oftentimes seem like diametric opposites to people who do not have this disorder, but it is important to note that bipolar patients can even experience both mania and depression at the same time. This is what is known as a mixed episode.

The goal should be to educate ourselves about bipolar disorder, so we can help others in the future that suffer from this disease.

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Making Bipolar Disorder Simple – Not Confusing What Doesn’t Need to Be Confused

There are so many places where you can get information about bipolar disorder so that you can know how to detect it and what to do in order to control it. This disease is very complicated and it is mostly inherited genetically from ones birth parents. Scientists have been conducting studies to find out the basic causes of this disorder and there have been no finds that are based on solid facts but there are so many theories that surround the development of this disorder in humans. This disorder can develop in children, teenagers and even adults but it can be controlled.

This disorder is also known as the manic depression illness which is primarily a disorder in the brain which causes human beings to have shifts in energy, moods and also affects the ability for one to carry out the everyday duties without any help. The symptoms of this disorder are very different and they are very different from the normal ups and downs in life and they result in destroying relationships, marriages and families in the long run. What most people do not understand is that this is a disease and it can cause damage to the human brain and what the infected person needs most is care and attention.

In kids, this disorder can cause one to be violent, rebellious and have no interest at all in his / her academic studies. This disorder often develops in a person's teen years and early stages of adulthood but there are recorded cases where it has developed earlier in a person's life. This disease has not yet been understood by scientists but it can develop late in a person's life or very early but this all depends on the life style that an individual lives. Stimulants like alcohol are said to have a huge effect because they accelerate the occurrence of this disorder.

This disease is also known to be caused by an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brains of humans. These chemicals are used in controlling all the brain and body functions and when they are not balanced, a person may develop bipolar disorder. It is very easy for an individual to detect this disease in a person and the first step that should be taken in order to help that person in consulting a specialist who will guide you on what to do. Many of the people who have this disorder live in denial which is not healthy for them.

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