How I Manage My Bipolar Disorder

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I went six years between my first (2007) and second (2013) hospitalizations. I pride myself on that. I was hospitalized for a third time in 2014. Through my three hospitalizations and three IOPs (Intensive Outpatient Therapy) I’ve met people on their 10th or 15th hospitalization. Some people are chronically unemployed or on disability. Their illness dictates the course for their life.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be this way.

To make sure I stay stable and highly functioning, I do a number of things:

  1. For the past seven years, I’ve seen my therapist every three weeks and my psychiatrist every three months.
  2. I’m a compliant patient; I take my medicine faithfully and go to all follow-up appointments.
  3. I make time for leisure (reading, hanging out with friends, going out to eat, getting massages, shopping, watching TV, etc.).
  4. For the past year I’ve been getting acupuncture regularly. I’m trying to balance out my reliance on Western medicine with more holistic practices.
  5. I’m protective of my sleep. Not getting enough sleep can trigger depression or mania.
  6. I exercise two to four days per week. There are numerous health benefits gained from exercise.
  7. I try to eat healthy. I can definitely do a better job at this. I saw a nutritionist this summer and have made the dietary changes she suggested.
  8. I try to minimize my stress triggers. Keeping up with all of the paperwork for my job usually takes a toll on me. So I try to manage my procrastination. I don’t always succeed at this. But I’m trying.

A stable life is highly doable. You have to take stock of your life and shape one you’d be proud and happy to live. It is a lot of work. But what in life isn’t?

 

Click here for original article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/krystal-reddick/how-i-manage-my-bipolar-d_b_5559720.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living

PTSD: It’s Not Just for Veterans

When Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is in the news, it is mostly because of the number of veterans suffering as a result of combat-related trauma. Victims of other kinds of trauma can also suffer from PTSD, though, and often do without realizing it. PTSD mirrors other mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, and can also present as, “I feel fine,” when really the “feeling fine” rooted in numbness and avoidance.

Click to read more:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dani-bostick/ptsd-its-not-just-for-veterans_b_8309184.html?ir=Australia

Anxiety Is Good For My Heart, That’s Why I Am Dying.

If you treat every situation as a life and death matter, you’ll die a lot of times. ~Dean Smith

Anxiety is ever present. And this is not just in the world outside of us, but it is ever present in our individual lives. How can we deal with extreme stress or the constant worry that pervade our lives?

Anxieties are real. Sometimes well meaning people may say to us, “Snap out of it. What’s wrong with you, you are bigger than that situation.” Or, “Why are you allowing that little thing to stress you out?” At times, just saying this may be all that is needed to get us out of that state; and a change in thought patter. There is the occasion though when we need a bit more than that.

Anxiety has its tentacles in areas such as phobias, fear and panic to name a few. In some cases, I know of persons who experience persistent anxiety and are in need of medication. And wants prescribed by a medical practitioner I will encourage all to take these as directed.

I could recall experiencing high levels of anxieties in my own life. One of the occasions had to do with a final examination. This was a final exam for my Masters of Arts programme. I had studied for this exam for many months. In spite of the evidence, that I had done all I could have done to prepare, still the stress was there. And what made this period so stressful? Well firstly, burning in my mind was whether I was good enough to pass. The fear of failure was crippling at times, even affecting some of my study periods. Secondly, on my brain was the idea of not knowing what to experience on that day. I mean, the areas that questions were to come from, were told to us. Still I felt as though this was not enough. Third, I knew if I had failed, I will have had to pay to write it over. Further, I will have had to wait for another year before I could get this opportunity again. So much was on my mind.

Well, I wrote the exam and passed. But the pounding of my heart and the difficulty sleeping were real. So I know what anxiety can feel like.

In spite of all that is going on around you. Really try to reduce high levels of anxiety. It can affect more than your heart and blood pressure, pushing your body to the edge. Anxiety can affect your sleep and influence moods, eating habits and relationships with others.

Here are three (3) helpful tips to preventing anxiety:
1. Confronting fear.
2. Managing conflicts.
3. Talking with a friend, spouse or accountability partner.

Do you believe there are other methods to prevent anxiety in life?

OCD Explained

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by repetitive thoughts, impulses, or images that are intrusive and inappropriate and cause anxiety or distress, or repetitive behaviors that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or rigid rules that must be applied. Those suffering from this condition recognize that the obsessions are a product of their own mind. The obsessions or compulsions are time consuming or interfere with role functioning.

Click here for the original article: http://scitechconnect.elsevier.com/ocd-explained/

OCD: Symptoms, Signs & Risk Factors

Written by Ann Pietrangelo

OCD: Symptoms, Signs & Risk Factors

We all double or triple check something on occasion. We forget if we’ve locked the door or wonder if we’ve left the water running, and we want to be certain. Some of us are perfectionists, so we go over our work several times to make sure it’s right. That’s not abnormal behavior. But if you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you feel compelled to act out certain rituals repeatedly, even if you don’t want to — and even if it complicates your life unnecessarily.

Obsessions are the worrisome thoughts that cause anxiety. Compulsions are the behaviors you use to relieve that anxiety.

Signs and Symptoms of OCD

Signs of OCD usually become apparent in childhood or early adulthood. It tends to begin slowly and become more intense as you mature. For many people, symptoms come and go, but it’s usually a lifelong problem. In severe cases, it has a profound impact on quality of life. Without treatment, it can become quite disabling.

Some common obsessions associated with OCD include:

  • anxiety about germs and dirt, or fear of contamination
  • need for symmetry and order
  • concern that your thoughts or compulsions will harm others, feeling you can keep other people safe by performing certain rituals
  • worry about discarding things of little or no value
  • disturbing thoughts or images about yourself or others

Some of the behaviors that stem from these obsessive thoughts include:

  • excessive hand washing, repetitive showering, unnecessary household cleaning
  • continually arranging and reordering things to get them just right
  • checking the same things over and over even though you know you’ve already checked them
  • hoarding unnecessary material possessions like old newspapers and used wrapping paper rather than throwing them away
  • counting or repeating a particular word or phrase. Performing a ritual like having to touch something a certain number of times or take a particular number of steps
  • focusing on positive thoughts to combat the bad thoughts

Social Signs: What to Look For

Some people with OCD manage to mask their behaviors so they’re less obvious. For others, social situations trigger compulsions. Some things you might notice in a person with OCD:

  • raw hands from too much hand washing
  • fear of shaking hands or touching things in public
  • avoidance of certain situations that trigger obsessive thoughts
  • intense anxiety when things are not orderly or symmetrical
  • need to check the same things over and over
  • constant need for reassurance
  • inability to break routine
  • counting for no reason or repeating the same word, phrase, or action
  • at least an hour each day is spent on unwanted thoughts or rituals
  • having trouble getting to work on time or keeping to a schedule due to rituals

Since OCD often begins in childhood, teachers may be the first to notice signs in school. A child who is compelled to count, for instance, may not be able to complete the ritual. The stress can cause angry outbursts and other misbehaviors. One who is afraid of germs may be fearful of playing with other children. A child with OCD may fear they are crazy. Obsessions and compulsions can interfere with schoolwork and lead to poor academic performance.

Children with OCD may have trouble expressing themselves. They may be inflexible and upset when plans change. Their discomfort in social situations can make it difficult to make friends and maintain friendships. In an attempt to mask their compulsions, children with OCD may withdraw socially. Isolation increases the risk for depression.

Risk Factors and Complications

The cause of OCD is not known. It seems to run in families, but there may be environmental factors involved. Most of the time, symptoms of OCD occur before age 25.

If you have OCD, you’re also at increased risk of other anxiety disorders, including major depression and social phobias.

Just because you like things a certain way or arrange your spice rack in alphabetical order, it doesn’t mean you have OCD. However, if obsessive thoughts or ritualistic behavior feels out of your control or are interfering with your life, it’s time to seek treatment.

Treatment usually involves psychotherapy, behavioral modification therapy, or psychiatric medications, alone or in combination. According to Harvard Medical School, with treatment, approximately 10 percent of patients fully recover and about half of patients show some improvement.

Original post: http://www.healthline.com/health/ocd/social-signs

Activities for Children With Behavioral Problems

by Jennifer Zimmerman, Demand Media

Behavioral problems have many causes. They can stem from neurological disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, emotional issues such as abuse or family issues such as divorce. Regardless of the cause, though, some activities can help children with behavioral problems. Parents and teachers will need to determine which activities are most appropriate for a specific child.

Exercise

No activities can eliminate behavior problems, but some can reduce the likelihood of them occurring. Exercise is recommended by both Kids Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics for help with behavioral problems. For children whose behavior problems have to do with anger, Kids Health recommends martial arts, wrestling and running as especially helpful forms of exercise.

Role-playing

Lack of self-control is often a cause of behavior problems, so the National Association of School Psychologists has suggested activities to help teach self-control. One idea is to use puppets to role-play wanting something that you can’t have. The organization suggests having your child write or draw something he’d like to do, then discussing it and sharing something you’d like to do, but can’t. Next, you and your child can use puppets to role-play scenarios that are typically frustrating for children such as wanting a toy that another child has or wanting to play with a friend who isn’t available. After acting out the scenarios, you and your child should discuss how he felt and what choices he made during the exercise.

Reading Aloud

Reading to your children is more than just an opportunity to settle down at bedtime and increase literacy skills; it can also be an opportunity to practice identifying feelings. Children who struggle to identify feelings, whether their own or others can have behavior problems. The National Association of School Psychologists suggests parents discuss character’s feelings with their children while they read and encourage children to draw pictures to illustrate those feelings.

Teach Problem-solving

Sometimes children misbehave because they don’t know how to handle a circumstance or a feeling correctly, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The National Association of School Psychologists suggests teaching children to deal with feeling angry. Have them recognize that they are angry by identifying characteristics such as clenched hands, then have them count to 10, then have them think about their choices. Discuss choices such as walking away, taking deep breaths or telling the person how you feel in a calm voice. Finally, children should act on their best choice.

 

Click here for original article: http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/activities-children-behavioral-problems-5099.html