mood disorder tips

Schizophrenia: Myths and Realities

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With the downward spiral of TV celebrity Amanda Bynes, the world’s focus is on schizophrenia. While the condition ranks high in the public’s consciousness, our collective understanding of it is low. There are a number of falsehoods about people with schizophrenia based on the false assumption that the experience of each schizophrenic is the same.

Here are some myths and realities of schizophrenia:

• Myth: People with schizophrenia have “split personalities.”
• Reality: This is a symptom of a completely different illness.
“Split personalities” or “multiple personalities” are not a symptom of schizophrenia; in fact, these symptoms indicate a different mental illness called Dissociative Identity Disorder. The “split mind” of the schizophrenic refers to the dissociation between thought and feeling. “A person may be telling a very sad story while smiling, or may be afraid of things that are completely mundane,” says Duckworth. A person with schizophrenia may react inappropriately to situations but does not mean he or she has multiple personalities.

• Myth: People with schizophrenia are dangerous.
• Reality: Some people with schizophrenia may be dangerous, but most are not.
Some people with schizophrenia may be prone to violent outbursts. There is evidence that suggests psychoses can fuel violent behaviors, but the actual numbers don’t justify a fear of all people with schizophrenia. In fact, people with schizophrenia are in greater danger of being victimized by the general population.

• Myth: People with schizophrenia will never get better.
• Reality: Many people recover.
“Symptoms sometimes lose their intensity,” Duckworth says. Most people can find some form of relief from symptoms. Up to half of patients suffering with schizophrenia can experience significant or even complete recovery with treatment.


Sep 06, 2013
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Boost Your Emotional Health

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Taking care of your emotional health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. If your emotional health is out of balance, you might experience high blood pressure, ulcers, chest pain, or other physical symptoms. When you are feeling good about yourself, it can be much easier for you to deal with life’s ups and downs.

Here are some ways you can practice better stress management and boost your self-esteem:
• Grow Your Circle of Friends: It is important that you have a support group of friends and family. You need people in your life that you can talk with about your problems, who will listen to you, so that you know that you are not alone with your problems, someone is there for you.
• Learn More: As the old saying goes, “knowledge is power”. If you are having a problem, learn all that you can about the issue or the health condition you may be facing. The more you know, the less you will be worried about and fear what might happen.
• Get moving: Do any form of exercise that you enjoy. It can work as a good partner for people who are on medication as well as for people who have mild or moderate depression and don’t need to be on medication. Exercise can be a great tool for stress management.
• Develop a passion: Everyone should have a hobby. Whether it is collecting stamps, listening to music, photography, you should do something that brings you some real joy. Something that is all yours that you can take pride in, which in turn can boost your self-esteem.
• Meditate or practice yoga: Both can be very effective for stress management. Meditation can help you to focus your thoughts, while yoga has been proven as a stress reliever. Some other stress-reducing techniques include deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.
• Get Enough Sleep: People who usually get a good night’s sleep tend to wake up with more energy and be more productive. When you are overly tired, every task and responsibility can seem exaggerated. Be sure to try and have a good night’s sleep every night.
• Learn to Say No: When you try to do more than you are able to handle, it can only lead you to being frustrated and stressed out. If someone asks you to do something that you absolutely can’t do, say no. At the very least, ask for some help. If you can’t do it, explain kindly to them why but firmly.


Aug 22, 2013
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Learning to Cope with Bipolar Mood Swings

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Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings from mania to depression.  Coping with the mood swings of bipolar disorder can be difficult. The best way to prevent moods swings is to get treatment for bipolar disorder. However, it is also possible to reduce the frequency and intensity of mood swings by being aware of situations or events that can trigger them. The most common triggers for bipolar mood swings are:

  • Stress from major life events
  • Lack of sleep
  • Caffeine and alcohol
  • Erratic schedules
  • Certain medications, such as antidepressants and corticosteroids
  • Seasonal changes
  • Thyroid problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Stopping bipolar medications or varying the treatment schedule

While some triggers might be impossible to avoid, lifestyle changes and mood-management strategies can make a big difference. Here are some suggestions from experts for managing and coping with mood swings:

  • Control Stress: As a major bipolar trigger, do what you can to simplify your life and relieve any and all stress in your work and personal life. See if your spouse, family members, and friends can help with household responsibilities. Stress-management techniques, such as meditation, visualization, and yoga can also help.
  • Keep a regular schedule: Stick to a routine to help control your mood swings. Change can be difficult for people with bipolar disorder. Have meals, do errands, exercise, and go to bed about the same time every day, even on the weekends.
  • Practice healthy sleep habits: Being overtired can trigger mania in some people. Try to relax before bed by listening to soothing music, reading, or taking a warm bath. Be disciplined about your sleep habits. Don’t stay up late watching movies or reading until you finish the book, since the lack of sleep can make your mood swings worse.
  • Get Moving: Studies have shown that regular exercise can help to improve mood. Start slowly by taking a walk around the neighborhood and gradually work up to exercising on most days of the week.
  • Write it down: Keep a journal that makes note of big events, stresses, how much sleep you are getting and what you are eating and drinking. Over time, you may see some patterns emerging. By knowing what your triggers are, you may be able to prepare for times when you might be most vulnerable to your mood swings.


Aug 12, 2013
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Traveling well with Bipolar Disorder

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“Triggers control bipolar disorder,” said Julie A. Fast, author of best selling books on bipolar disorder

Common triggers can include lack of sleep, time changes, new people and relationships problems, she says. Unfortunately, travel has all these elements. This is why it is very important for you to plan ahead and prepare for your trip.

Here are some tips to help:

  • Prioritize sleep: Sleep is the main challenge when you are traveling. “If you are traveling to a different time zone, try to get on that sleep pattern before you leave,” says Fast. Also, make sure you pack early so that you are not scrambling the night before and missing out on sleep. You can also speak with your doctor about using a sleep aid.
  • Book flights around your schedule: While it can be helpful, don’t try to save money by booking a 4 a.m. flight or another time that doesn’t work for you. Buy flights with fewer stops, and if you have to change planes, make sure to schedule enough time between flights. It is better to be bored than stressed.
  • Bring extra medication: You might run into a few problems, such as flight delays and extra layovers. So you might end up traveling for longer than you first thought, which is why you don’t want run out of your medication.
  • Plan ahead for what might go wrong: “In preparation [for your trip], think about bipolar first, and plan accordingly to minimize triggers,” Fast said. Ask yourself, what’s caused problems in the past? What might cause problems this time? How can you prepare for those problems? “Planning ahead is the only way to prevent the mood swings that sneak up on you when you travel.”
  • Make time for exercise: Movement is crucial for your mental, physical and emotional health. However, it can be hard to fit physically activities in when you are traveling. If you are at the airport early or have time between your flights, walk around for a bit. If you are traveling by car, make sure to stop every few hours to walk around, stretch or even run for a bit.
  • Just Breathe: When you feel yourself get anxious or overwhelmed, focus on your breath. Slow down any panicked panting by taking slow, deep breaths.

Traveling with bipolar disorder can be tricky. This is why it is very important for you to plan ahead, and be prepared. By doing so, you can enjoy a worry free vacation.


Aug 09, 2013
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Positive Psychology

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Many people seek therapy to help them with a problem. What if the research and techniques in the field of psychology could be used to build upon existing strengths and personality traits to help people become happier and more engaged in their lives? This is the main question behind the work of researchers and psychologists in the field of positive psychology, which goes beyond positive thinking to a deeper understanding of what makes people happy. Positive psychology is focused on three basic areas of study and practice:

  • Positive Emotions: Consists of contentment with the past, current happiness and hope for the future.
  • Positive Traits: Courage, resilience, curiosity, self-knowledge, integrity, compassion, and creativity.
  • Positive Institutions: An example of this is Community Institutions, which can benefit from focusing on the tools that are developed in positive psychology research.

Positive psychology can be easily confused with the idea of positive thinking. However, there are several important differences, such as:

  • Positive thinking emphasizes positivity in every situation, while positive psychology offers a variety of tools for success
  • Positive psychology draws from the knowledge of experts who have studied depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders
  • Positive psychology is evidence-based, meaning it is based on research

To nurture your own happiness through positive psychology, here are some exercises to help:

  • Practice gratitude
  • Allow yourself to enjoy what you enjoy, whatever it may be, and be sure to savor it!
  • Practice optimism and try to find the positive spin in every situation
  • Argue with yourself about negative beliefs about the past



Jul 14, 2013
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