“Getting Fully Aquainted with Bipolar Disorder” AND More on Best 5 Tuesday Reads

Hello and welcome to another edition of Best 5 Reads. Lets start!

1) Getting Fully Aquainted with Bipolar Disorder

Recently, we’ve been hearing more in the news about celebrities who have openly shared their bipolar stories and have encouraged others to recognize bipolar in their own lives. And tragically, we’ve also heard about individuals allegedly with bipolar disorder who have died by suicide or committed acts of violence against others. From a society perspective, bipolar disorder is slowly coming out of the woodwork, and people are starting to ask more questions about this often misunderstood mental illness. Heightened awareness is a good thing, of course. But a profound stigma against treatment still exists, along with a general lack of understanding about bipolar disorder and what can be done about it.

The gap in knowledge about bipolar is exceeded only by the length of time people with the illness begin showing symptoms and when they’re actually treated appropriately. Drancourt et. al (2012) showed that, on mean average, patients will have waited nearly 10 years from their first bipolar mood episode to the time they receive a mood stabilizing medication specifically for bipolar disorder. Another study showed about two-thirds of bipolar patients are misdiagnosed and treated as having other psychiatric disorders (mostly major depression), while those patients had consulted a mean average of nearly four clinicians before receiving appropriate care (Hirschfeld, Lewis, & Vornik, 2003). Because of this 10-year gap in treatment, we have a whole population of underlying bipolar disorder presenting as relational dysfunction, substance abuse, unipolar depression, attention deficits, self-harm, personality disorders, domestic violence, workplace conflicts, and many other common presentations to outpatient therapy.

But the biggest problem with unidentified and untreated bipolar disorder is suicide, which is at least 20 times higher in bipolar patients compared to the general population (Berk, Scott, Macmillan, Callaly and Christensen, 2013). Perhaps even more striking, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013) states that “bipolar disorder may account for one-quarter of all completed suicides” (p. 131). While many people with undetected bipolar matriculate—then languish—through an often cumbersome mental health system, their condition worsens, threatening their own life along with the well-being of every concerned person around them.

With a prevalence up to 5% of the population (Ketter, 2010), a unified method to effectively recognize and comprehensively treat this chronic and deadly mental illness is critical. It’s certainly time to fully understand what bipolar is, how to better recognize and openly discuss it, and treat it in a unified manner with active support around the person suffering from uncontrollable mood swings.

2) Mental health apps helpful but poor design, privacy concerns contribute to low engagement

A clinical review, published in Evidence Based Mental Health Month, suggests numerous issues, including poor app design and privacy concerns, have contributed to a low engagement rate for mental health apps. The article goes on to suggest that more patient engagement during the app design process and the creation of standards could help remedy these issues.

3) Psychodynamic Approaches to Behavioral Change

Psychoanalysts have generally avoided targeting behavioral change in psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapies, believing such approaches can disrupt effective treatment. A central concern has been that these strategies constitute “suggestion,” an effort to influence or manipulate patients. A core focus of psychoanalysts has been on gaining insight, making the unconscious conscious; this increased understanding was considered the primary goal and paved the way for behavioral change. If behavioral change occurred without proper analysis, conflicts were believed to persist, leading to the substitution of different symptoms or problematic behaviors. Over the course of psychoanalytic history, there has been an increasing emphasis on the clinical impact of the therapeutic relationship independent of insight, but these theories and approaches still consider behavioral change to be a secondary outcome.

4) A New Treatment for Bipolar Depression: Part 1

Old data have recently been gathered and systematically presented—reinforced by a new study, but perhaps contradicted by another. So it’s time to revisit this story.

5) These Startups Are Using AI and Virtual Reality to Fight Mental Illness

A growing number of Americans suffer from some form of mental illness, yet only a fraction receive treatment. These companies offer a solution.

Thank you and see you tomorrow for another edition of Best 5 Reads.

Best Regards,

Vikram


18 thoughts on ““Getting Fully Aquainted with Bipolar Disorder” AND More on Best 5 Tuesday Reads

  1. Excellent article on Bipolar Disorder. I have severe Bipolar 1 Disorder, but was diagnosed and treated as soon as I had my first episode. Because I didn’t spend years undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, my quality of life is excellent. I have met many people whose mental illness would be classified as less severe than mine, but they have suffered more because stigma has prevented their access to good treatment. Unfortunately in Australia, the other limiting factor to accessing good quality mental health care is that it is means dependent. You need private health insurance to get quality care. And that is expensive. The public mental health care system, especially when hospitalisation is required provides an inadequate standard of care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there!

      Thank you very much for sharing your story.

      You very well said that early diagnosis and treatments are crucial to treat and stabilize Bipolar Disorder. Not only Bipolar, but I believe all disorders.

      And for that to happen, there should be minimum stigma attached to mental health disorders, and quality service should be provided.

      Great to hear that your quality of life is in excellent condition!

      So lets compare public to private healthcare system. How would the inpatient (hospitalization) treatment be different?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I only have first hand experience with the private system, but have spoken to many patients who have experienced the public mental health hospital system. In a private hospital the patient stays until they are well enough to discharge. The right time for discharge is decided by the patient’s psychiatrist in consultation with the patient. In the public hospital system it is not uncommon for patients to be discharged as soon as they are no longer suicidal or deemed a risk to others. That might only take a few days, but the patient is still a long way from well enough to be out of hospital. In the private hospital setting patients usually get a single room, especially for longer admissions. In a public hospital wards are often mixed gender. I have heard of women being sexually assaulted by male inpatients. I have also heard of patients being asked to sleep in chairs when no beds were available. I don’t believe continuity of care is very good in the public system. I have had the same psychiatrist for twelve years. When patients bounce in and out of emergency departments and the public system they are often assessed and treated by a different doctor each tine. Continuity of care is helpful in all fields of medicine. In psychiatry it is essential. These are just a few of the many differences in standard of care provided by Australia’s private and public mental health systems.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much for your detailed response outlining some major differences between public and private health systems in Australia. And I completely agree with you, continuity of care is essential in Psychiatry!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am a survivor of Bipolar Disorder, and what I can say is that at the onset, I was not aware what Bipolar was until sometime! I was given the correct medication, but not explained what it was all about. Had I known exactly what I was having, I would have known exact ways of taking care of myself and better methods in overcoming it!
    So it is after I became aware, I researched and found out, how to go about and what best methods to follow in order to deal with it effectively: “The result being ~ Now it has gone into remission and I am leading a normal life” 🙂
    As someone who has gone through it for almost 15 years, and still aware that it can lift it’s head if neglected, I know the seriousness of it. I have made the maximum effort and still do, in doing everything possible to keep the “Dragon” as to say in control so that it doesn’t have a chance to lift it’s head again.
    I agree that very often it is misdiagnosed, and patients suffer unnecessarily and at length. I feel very strongly about this, “As in the present society, other than the medical personnel, there is so much resources available ~ on the I net, the books, magazines, even if there maybe lack of support from some avenues, WHY they cannot find some suitable methods to “SOMEHOW SURVIVE” without resorting to end such valuable human lives!
    As a Depression and Bipolar/Mood Disorder Survivor A Note of Advice: I appeal to those who are going through mental issues, “Not to lose Hope ~ It is possible to control it ~ Through Medication, Counselling and Psychotherapy” But very importantly we also have in our hands to, keep on working at it Dedicatedly and Persistently, “Physically, Mentally and Spiritually to be able to stay Strong and Healthy” And we can overcome enough to lead a Normal and Happy Life 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much Deepa for sharing your story. I am glad to hear that the “Dragon” is under control now.

      A quick question, so you were given the right medications but you were not diagnosed with Bipolar?

      Like

      1. This was back home. I was given the correct medication, but I was not told it was Bipolar! I studied science subjects upto the Advance Levels. With so many educated people around me even close family, I was and even now is very annoyed why I was not told. As I never knew or heard of Bipolar. Initially why I got the breakdown was because my children left me to go to Australia. I used to read a lot of selfhelp books. Knowing would have made some difference. It was only when I had to go for the medical for the visa I was told to fill in “mood disorder” immediately I went on line and looked up and went through for information. Ordered a book. So began my journey towards wellness !

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “My family did not hide from me! No one was told” I was such a strong and stable person all along, and was wondering what was going on with me. At a time I was fully well, when I asked what was wrong with me, the psychiatrist at the time being a consultant told me it was, “Mania”! I knew what it meant and,”went home very down hearted” Had he just told me the name, “I would have straight gone to the book shop on my way home, and found a book and then and there found out what I can do about it ~ instead it was after years later that I found out from another psychiatrist when I had to fill up the forms for a medical!
        Just imagine if I took it very badly or, someone else who lost complete hope, that itself would have been enough to take unnecessary actions. These are the very reasons that I am doing “My Blog” and openly writing as much as possible to, enlighten and educate, those who are not aware to be able to understand what mental issues are. And also Encourage, Inspire and give Hope to those who have issues!
        Everyone need to encourage and give Hope – all the people who are writing openly in their Blogs/other places, and working in various ways, “Contributes to Mental Wellness and to Eradicate Stigma from the society” and I hope one fine day there will be enough progress, so that we do not hear of it as a big Health problem in the world anymore!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Wow. That’s very odd for the doctor not to tell the diagnosis. I wonder what was his reasoning behind that.

        And thank you and other bloggers who are actively trying to encourage, enlighten and encourage about mental health problems. Thanks again! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes I have been thinking about this, still do. As the word he used was not a good word at all. As now I am leading completely normal life – not of madness! He is known to be careless with his patients. These are things that people face in some of the developing countries sadly !

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Very well said. Well atleast we have psychiatrists in developed countries. Pakistan, the country I belong from, has only 390 psychiatrists in the whole country which has a population of 200 million people. And most them are concentrated in large cities. Which is very sad.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yes. That was the problem as there are too many patients, they only give a few minutes. You wait for hours and they come tired and are in a hurry to go home. Before you start to talk, they have written the prescriptions and out you go! No proper counselling or therapy! Thank you for your time. I like you to take these as experiences a day you start to see patients. God Bless 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Yeah its a big problem with less doctor patient interactions. Hopefully there will be more funding in future to train more psychiatrists.

        One of the main reasons to start this blog was to interact with interesting people like yourself who has first hand experience with mental health problems and system 🙂

        Like

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