Having bipolar depression is not a joke. It can spell the difference between life and death. In between are episodes of extreme anguish that can make one feel eternally useless and hopeless. On the other hand, a bipolar support group can do a lot to alleviate the pains associated with the disorder. That bipolar support group can be composed of family, friends and even you.
The Challenges of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a brain illness that affects the mood of an individual with extremes of high and low. The person with bipolar disorder finds it hard to cope with the constant shifting of emotions that they become unable to carry on with the demands of daily activities or the maintenance of healthy relationships.
Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
Even if bipolar disorder is a biological illness, the individual experiences psychological effects that influence their thoughts and behavior. In the manic state, they can feel so ecstatic and so full of energy. Yet in the depressive state, they can feel tired and helpless. In both episodes, their thoughts are often irrational and behaviors dangerous. These are just a few of the bipolar disorder symptoms.
Looking for Signs of Bipolar Disorder
Manic-depressive illness may manifest early in childhood or late in adulthood. But most often, the bipolar disorder symptoms become apparent in late adolescence or early adulthood. They can go undetected even though it is important to be very observant and alert to the signals. This way, proper referrals to a mental health professional for diagnosis can be made.
In extremely high moods, the person can exhibit restlessness, talkativeness, racing thoughts, less sleep, being easily distracted, poor judgment, overconfidence over abilities and powers, drug abuse, aggressive behavior and increased sexual desires. Meanwhile, in times of severe depression the person can be very anxious, lonely, fatigued, and pessimistic; complain of pains without medical cause and have difficulty concentrating.
Help for Individuals with Bipolar
With early intervention, bipolar disorder can be treated. The mood swings of those afflicted with the condition can be stabilized and thus help them to live fully functioning lives. One of the treatment modalities involve medications known as mood stabilizers. The medications can be in the form of lithium, valproate, or carbamazepine.
Being Part of a Bipolar Support Group
On the other hand, medications are not the only way to treatment. Most of the time, individuals with bipolar disorder need support that will help them manage themselves during those disturbing mood changes. Getting actively involved in bipolar support groups provides a venue to know more about the disorder and how to cope with it from individuals who experience it themselves. As such, feelings of isolation can be lessened just by being with the group.
Bipolar support groups are available within the local community. In the United States, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill or NAMI can be contacted. For the rest of the world, there is the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, Manic Depressive Fellowship in U.K., Balance: New Zealand Manic Depressive Network, German Society for Bipolar Disorder and the International Society for Bipolar Disorders among many others.
Finally, a bipolar support group is not only available for the individuals themselves but for their families, friends, and social networks as well. This is also important because these people can help prevent stressful situations from occurring that can become triggers for the manic or depressive episodes of those suffering from the condition. Certainly, a lot of help can be extended to individuals with bipolar disorder just by going the extra mile.