Wednesday, October 05, 2005

How To Spot Potential Depression Or Bipolar Disorder - By Julie A. Fast

Is it Moodiness or a Mood Disorder? How to Spot Potential Depression or Bipolar Disorder

Step aside, ADD and anxiety—mood disorders are fast becoming the most talked-about illness of the decade. From sitcom characters and celebrities to everyday adults and children, more and more people are being diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder. Still, thousands of others continue to suffer, undiagnosed and untreated. How do you know whether your moodiness is a normal reaction to life or the sign of a serious medical disorder? Before you head for the Prozac—or endure another day of undiagnosed misery—get the facts on these often misunderstood illnesses.

There are two types of mood disorders: bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) and depression (also known as unipolar depression). The symptoms of depression include a lack of interest in things that once brought pleasure, constant feelings of sadness and emptiness, and an inability to get things done. Bipolar disorder has all of the symptoms of depression as well as a mood swing called mania; people with bipolar disorder can cycle back and forth between the two states.

Scientifically defined as a “pathologically elevated mood,” mania can create feelings of euphoria, omnipotence, or hyperarousal that are caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. People with mania may experience extreme exhilaration and other seemingly “good” feelings, but the mania can also manifest as agitation, scattered thoughts, and feelings of extreme emotional discomfort.

Depression and bipolar disorder share a range of other symptoms, including psychosis (a break with reality that can be characterized by hallucinations and distorted thoughts), irritation and anger, problems with attention and concentration (often misdiagnosed as ADD), and anxiety. Unfortunately, these symptoms are often misinterpreted as signs of other illnesses or personality defects, and the real culprit—a serious mood disorder—is often misdiagnosed or brushed off. People with undiagnosed mood disorders often mistake their illness for a flaw in their character, and can spend years desperately trying to “get their acts together and lead lives like regular people” instead of seeking psychiatric evaluation for an illness.

In reality, both depression and bipolar disorder are fairly easy to diagnose—once they are considered as real possibilities. Although a proper diagnosis must be made by a trained professional, here are some clues that may help you determine if your “moodiness” is a sign of a serious illness:

Suicidal thoughts: Thoughts of suicide are common among those suffering from serious depression. Whether action-oriented (I'm going to get a gun and shoot myself; I'm going to take a bottle of pills with a bottle of wine) or more passive (I wish I were dead; Things would be better if I were gone), suicidal thoughts are always a sign that a person’s brain chemistry is not functioning properly, and that professional help is needed immediately.

Unnaturally elevated moods: Mania can be so sneaky. When a person who has been depressed suddenly feels the cloud lift, it's natural to think that the depression has ended and that the person is finally “back to normal.” But for people with bipolar disorder, this is often the first stage of an unnatural, escalating mood swing in the opposite direction. Mania often feels so good—at first—that it's hard for people to recognize it, or acknowledge it as a serious problem. Unfortunately, feelings of euphoria or agitation can continue to intensify until the person no longer makes sense. Those who eventually experience full-blown manic episodes often end up hospitalized, but countless others who suffer from milder manic episodes (known as hypomania) often go untreated, or are treated only for depression. If you or those around you notice marked shifts in your energy, agitation, or feelings of well-being especially if they affect your sleep patterns, you may suffer from bipolar disorder. A psychiatrist or properly trained physician can diagnose your symptoms to determine whether you’re just recovering from depression or experiencing the flip side of this serious illness.

Be aware, too, that antidepressants can ignite dormant mania in people. For this reason, your physician should be aware that what seems a clear case of depression may actually mask the presence of bipolar disorder.

Mood swings vs. moodiness: Some people are just moody. They often react negatively to life events, or they may frequently experience bad moods, short tempers, and irritation. While these people may not be much fun to be around, they do not necessarily have a mood disorder. However, if a person’s moodiness affects his or her ability to work, make friends, or function relatively normally in society, a diagnosis of a potential mood disorder is called for.

Mood disorders involve exaggerated, extreme, or highly disproportionate responses to life events. A moody person may be quick to anger when someone makes a derogatory comment about him or her; a person suffering from a mood disorder may react to the same situation with suicidal thoughts. Moody people can usually be reasoned with; people with mood disorders lose insight into their own situations and often can't see that they need help. For this reason, it’s important that friends and family members understand the warning signs of depression and bipolar disorder, and that they know where to turn to seek help for their loved one. Use the following questions to help you determine whether you or someone you care about may be suffering from a bipolar-disorder mood swing:

• Have you noticed a significant change in everyday sleep patterns because you are feeling low or more happy than usual?

• Do friends, family members, or others comment on your inability to enjoy life, spend within reason, get along with others, keep a job, maintain a relationship, or stay in one place?

• Do you often wonder what the point of living is, or why nothing seems good? Are these feelings ever experienced along with difficulty in concentrating or performing simple tasks?

• Have you ever suddenly felt a wonderful surge of confidence that allowed you to talk with strangers or meet anyone you wanted? Have you ever lost your normal shyness and suddenly felt beautiful and unstoppable? Have you ever made reckless sexual or financial decisions, only to wonder a few months later, Was that me? What was I thinking? Has this been accompanied with a significantly reduced need for sleep?

• Do you go through periods of extreme or unexplained irritability? Do others tell you that you are often unreasonable? Do you kick or hit things (or people) to vent your annoyance or frustration?

• Have you ever found yourself thinking (or hearing a voice inside your head telling you) such things as, You should die. You have no right to be here and you should leave. People don't like you. You're a failure and a fake. Or, I'm a genius. I'm smarter than any other person in the world. I am invincible.?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may want to talk to a health care professional about a possible mood disorder.

Mood disorders are not personality flaws or a sign of weakness. Like diabetes, they are documented physical illnesses, and they can be effectively treated—once a correct diagnosis is made. If you or a loved one may need help, getting that diagnosis is the first step to recovering from these disorders and living a joyful, healthy, productive life.

About the Author: Julie A. Fast is America’s leading voice for people with bipolar disorder. She is the co-author of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding & Helping Your Partner (New Harbinger Publications, February 2004; $13.95, author of the upcoming book Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder. To learn more visit http://www.bipolarhappens.com.

Source: www.isnare.com

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rhodiola Rosea is the latest natural remedy to join the arsenal of natural anxiety and stress (rhodiola danger) reducers.

Rhodiola Rosea, also known as Golden Root, is a native plant of arctic Siberia. For centuries it has been used by eastern European and Asian cultures for physical endurance, work productivity, longevity, resistance to high altitude sickness, and to treat fatigue, depression, anemia, impotence, gastrointestinal ailments, infections, and nervous system disorders.

The first recorded medicinal applications of rodia riza (renamed Rhodiola Rosea) was made by the Greek physician, Dioscorides, in 77 C.E. in 'De Materia Medica'. Rhodiola Rosea has been included in official Russian medicine since 1969.

Despite its long history, the Western world has only recently become aware of the health benefits of Rhodiola Rosea. It has come to the attention of many natural health practitioners because of studies which tested its affects on combating anxiety and stress.

Rhodiola Rosea is considered an adaptogen. This means it has an overall stabilizing effect on the body without disrupting other functions. Its ability to normalize hormones may be effective for treating depression and anxiety.

Studies of Rhodiola Rosea show that it stimulates neurotransmitters and enhances their effects on the brain. This includes the ability for the brain to process serotonin which helps the body to adapt to stress.

Since adaptogens improve the body's overall ability to handle stress, it has been studied to identify it's effects on biological, chemical and physical stress.

A study was performed to test the effects of Rhodiola Rosea when stress or rhodiola danger is caused by intense mental work (such as final exams). Such tests concluded that using Rhodiola Rosea improved the amount and quality of work, increasing mental clarity and reducing the effects of fatigue.

The effects of Rhodiola Rosea have also been tested on stress and anxiety from both physical and emotional sources. A report by the American Botanical Council states that "Most users find that it improves their mood, energy level, and mental clarity." They also report on a study that indicated Rhodiola Rosea could increase stress tolerance while at the same time protecting the brain and heart from the physical affects of stress.

This report included details of studies which highlight the overall health benefits of Rhodiola Rosea.

The generally recommended dose is 200-600mg/day. The active properties should be a minimum 0.8 percent salidroside and 3 percent rosavin.

It is important for consumers to know that Rhodiola may be sold using other species that do not share the properties of Rhodiola Rosea, rhodiola danger, or at ineffective strengths for treatment. Anyone with depression or anxiety should also check with a health professional when treating these symptoms.

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Anonymous said...

Essential oils, roots and herbs can be used in a variety of ways to promote healthy living and how to deal with stress. They are used to create natural remedies for treating ailments common to both people and animals, to add flavor to food, to make perfumes and to create environmentally friendly cleaning products.

You do not have to own a garden to tap into the benefits of plants, roots and herbs. A few herb pots located by a sunny window are enough to get you started. Then, all you need are some essential oils and you are ready to go.

For therapeutic purposes, only the purest oils will do. It is possible to be fooled into thinking that you are purchasing a pure oil. Often, a lesser quality blend of several oils is used to mimic the properties of the pure oil. Blended oils are acceptable for fragrance purposes such as for perfuming a room, but pure oils are a "must" for medicinal purposes.

A reasonable guide to the purity of an essential oil is its price. Pure essential oils are generally more expensive. Common oils such as lavender and geranium are much cheaper than frankincense and carnation oil. It is advisable to become familiar with essential oil prices and then rely on this knowledge when purchasing oils from unfamiliar sources. Keep in-mind that you will generally get what you pay for. A price list from a reputable dealer is a valuable resource when purchasing essentials oils.

Usually, pure essential oils cannot be applied directly to the skin and must be mixed in a base oil to reduce their strength. Base oils such as almond oil or wheatgerm oil are commonly used for this purpose. Base oils are generally derived from seeds, nuts or vegetables and allow you to create essential oil remedies that can be massaged into the skin.

So, what do you need to get started with essential oils and natural remedies?

Without a doubt, Lavender is one of the most useful and desirable oils. Not only does it work wonders on cuts, bruises and burns, it also aids sleep and helps with relaxation.

The Tea Tree and Eucalyptus oils are useful for treating a variety of respiratory ailments. These are excellent for the treatment of colds and coughs. They can be massaged into the chest or burned in an oil burner to help clear the airways and prevent congestion. Tea Tree oil is a natural antiseptic and can be dabbed on cuts, bites and stings. It is often used to treat spots and pimples and when diluted with water, acts as a mouth gargle (keep in-mind it should never be swallowed).

Another basic antiseptic is Geranium oil. With its distinctive perfume and pain relieving properties, it is a necessary inclusion when starting out.

Peppermint oil should also be purchased as it treats digestive complaints and may be used in preparations for freshening breath.

For fragrant perfumes and establishing ambience in a room, buy some Patchouli and Ylang-ylang oils. Often combined in scented candles and air fresheners, a few drops of each in an oil burner creates a wonderfully perfumed home. Orange oil mixed with Cinnamon oil is a lovely winter alternative that evokes seasonal, holiday smells. Besides their perfume qualities, all four of these oils have other properties. Patchouli treats eczema and dandruff. Ylang-ylang is reputed to relieve stress, palpitations and high blood pressure. Orange is used in natural remedies for depression and nervous tension and Cinnamon is excellent for warts and viral infections.

The herbs, Thyme and Rosemary can be grown in pots and used when needed. To create essential oils from herbs, stew some large amounts in pure water, collect the steam and cool it. The oil will rise to the top of the drained water and can be collected with an eyedropper. Alternatively, a "flower still" can be purchased to make the job easier. Thyme and Rosemary are both antiseptics and can be used in skin care preparations. They are also delicious when used in cooking.

Lemon oil and fresh lemons will purify water and, when mixed with honey, are effective remedies for colds and flu. Lemon and white vinegar are highly efficient cleaning agents that can be used for domestic cleaning tasks without damaging the environment. Use white vinegar as a natural disinfectant or mix it with water to clean windows and wooden floors. It is also handy to keep a bottle of white vinegar in your car if you swim in the ocean. It will bring instant relief from jellyfish stings.

Citronella oil is perfect in summer to keep the insects at bay. Another natural repellent is Garlic. Fleas will not bite a dog that has been eating garlic, so a few garlic capsules in the dog food are a cheap solution to your pet's flea problem. A soft collar soaked in Citronella will also do the job.

Garlic also helps to promote a healthy immune system when the weather turns cold and viruses begin to circulate. In fact, most of the oils and herbs listed above are effective in helping to prevent many common winter illnesses.

Whether you are looking for remedies or nature friendly products to use around the house, the oils and herbs suggested above should help get you started. You will be ready to make some healthy changes in your way of life!

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Anonymous said...

Everyone has days when they are down, worn out, sexual performance anxiety and just not feeling all that happy.

That's OK, you need to have days like this, otherwise how would you know when you are happy. You need to have something to contrast your happiness with. What is black without white?

Even though you know that sadness (sexual performance anxiety) is a part of life, let's try to make it a small part of life.

With that said, here are a few tips to help you feel better when you are feeling down in the dumps. They are easy to do, easy to practice every day and they work!

1. Stand up straight, sit up straight. When your body is in alignment your energy can flow and when your energy is flowing freely, you can flow.

2. Smile! Yes, just smile. Easy to do and effective.

3. Repeat positive affirmations. Things like "I feel good", "Positive energy flows through my body", "I see the good in all".

4. Listen to some music that you like. It doesn't have to be anything specific, just something you enjoy. Certain types of music work better than others, but experiment and see what works for you. Studies have shown that Classical music and new age music work best.

5. Take some time out for yourself, relax and read a book, do something for yourself.

6. Meditate. Meditation is an excellent habit to develop. It will serve you in all that you do. If you are one who has a hard time sitting still, then try some special meditation CDs that coax your brain into the meditative state. Just search for "Meditation music" on Google or Yahoo and explore.

Our outside work is simply a reflection of our inside world. Remember there is no reality just your perception of it. Use this truth to your advantage. Whenever you are sad, realize that it is all in your mind and you do have the power to change your perception.

These tips will lift you up when you are down, but don't just use them when you are sad or sexual performance anxiety . Try and practice them everyday, make them a habit. You will be surprised at how these simple exercises will keep the rainy days away.

On a final note, if you are in a deep depression that you can't seem to shake, please go see a doctor. This is your life and don't take any chances. sexual performance anxiety

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