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January 2011



Recent Posts



By John M Grohol PsyD 

Bipolar disorder can be devastating… but it doesn’t have to be.

I’m pleased to announce the introduction of Bipolar Advantage, hosted by Tom Wootton and his colleagues. I’m pleased to present this alternative view of bipolar disorder and depression, focused on how it can be used to achieveendure. Tom said it best: rather than simply

The mental health field is plagued with the bigotry of low expectations. Far too many people are talking about “changing the stigma,” while creating the worst stigma of all — the idea that we are not capable of achieving greatness. While their intentions are good, they are doing terrible harm to everyone with a mental condition and those who love and support them. This “can’t do” attitude is rampant in professionals, consumers, friends and family, and advocates.

This blog, then, will be about resetting expectations, raising the bar, and understanding how to believe in yourself once again. A diagnostic label should no longer hold you back from achieving greatness.

The mission of Tom and his colleagues is to “help people with mental conditions shift their thinking and behavior so that they can lead extraordinary lives. We are dedicated to the concept that recovery does not have to be limited to 90% of full function; true recovery means doing the hard work that brings you to 150% We strongly believe that we can turn our ‘condition’ into one that becomes an advantage instead of an ‘illness’ or a ‘disorder.’”

Check it out today: Bipolar Advantage

Source:  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/01/14/introducing-a-new-blog-bipolar-advantage/

Living Bipolar: Do you Know Your Triggers?

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Jan 12th 2010

If you or someone you know or love lives with Bipolar Disorder, it becomes quite clear that there is no easy way to manage it, however, knowing your triggers can help you manage your symptoms and potentially even reduce your dependence on medications.

Knowing your triggers allows you to become more intimate with any signals your mind and body may be sending that a spiral up or down is oncoming. With greater attunement to this, preventative steps can be taken to prevent the relapse. The more and more this is done the greater self confidence you will have to being able to do this in the future. The greater self confidence you have means the less anxiety you’ll have around it, which in itself will reduce imbalance.

Although bipolar disorder is often genetic, there is still often an event that sparks the spiral. In this respect, it’s important to look at what you may be doing in your life that that could be a trigger.

Here are 3 categories of potential triggers to consider:


Sleep – sleep deprivation is often a trigger into mania

Exercise – exercise can help balance us and lack of exercise may be a trigger either mania or depression.

Diet – What are you eating? Foods high in sugar or an unhealthy diet could imbalance your system and lead to the initial spiral of depression or mania.   

Life Events:

Stress – On a scale of 1 -10 how high is your stress and what are you doing to manage it? Too much stress make someone give up or drive someone into a manic state.

Menstruation  – This effects some women

Seasons – Dark days can trigger a depressive episode for many

Major Events:

Death of a loved one, divorce, birth, work stress, financial stress, moving, etc… – These are all potential causes of a spiral up or down.

Getting to know these triggers can allow you to become aware of them while they’re happening and with this awareness you may have more choice as to how to best take care of yourself. This is the very first step…awareness.

This is what I was talking about in a previous post bringing to light recent positive research suggesting Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT ) as a program that helps prevent relapse.

Do you or someone you know live with bipolar disorder? What are the triggers you notice?

Source:  http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=35045&cn=4

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