Bipolar Support Groups

Bipolar support groups provide valuable support for the patient and for loved ones who are having a hard time dealing with the reality of the disorder. An understanding of the illness and the importance of treatment can provide some relief to the patient and loved ones. Bipolar counseling is a very important component of treatment as it provides encouragement and therapy to cope with bipolar disorder. Patients with the disease often go into denial and discontinue treatment. Counseling and support can help to prevent this from happening. Educating the patient and the family about the dangers with discontinuing medication can help to ensure that treatment continues.

Medications that can provide relief for the disorder include mood-stabilizers and antidepressants. Thinking about taking medication for a lifetime can be difficult. After a patient begins to feel better he or she might use this as a reason for wanting to stop meds. A person with the disorder needs ongoing support and bipolar counseling to realize that discontinuing medication can have severe drawbacks. The side effects of meds can cause a patient to want to discontinue treatment. In most cases when a patient is suffering with bipolar disorder the benefits of the treatment outweigh the side effects. Going off meds could cause mania and depressive symptoms to surface quickly and severely. Symptoms to watch for include restlessness, irritability, sleep disruptions, aggressive behavior, and denial of illness, changes in appetite, chronic pain, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal thoughts.

Chemical imbalances in the brain is what causes the mania and depression associated with the disease. People who have the disease are prone to drug and alcohol addiction and extreme or risky behavior. Mood swings can be ongoing and mania and depression can occur at the same time. When this happens one minute the person will feel energized and euphoric the next moment suicidal thoughts can surface. Having the disorder can cause chaos in a person's life; affecting relationships and job performance. Bipolar support groups can help to provide the encouragement needed for the patient to continue with treatment avoiding the chaos felt by chemical imbalances. The severity of the symptoms can vary for each individual. Some patients do not have the severe episodes mania but instead have milder episodes that alternate between mania and depression.

Many patients with the disorder experience feelings of grandeur where their thoughts make them feel invincible. Paranoia and hallucinations have been experienced by some patients with the disorder. Families often have a hard time understanding a loved one that has this disease; they may think that he or she is just exhibiting bad behavior. Bad behavior is a possibility but there may be an underlying cause of some of the extreme behavior exhibited by individuals that have a chemical imbalance in the brain. Bipolar support groups help the family come to an understanding about why and how there is a behavior problem. After the patient begins medication and his or her behavior changes for the better a family can see the difference and realize that there is a psychological problem that is the underlying root for unexplained behavior. Hearing the stories of other people who have dealt with these same kinds of issues helps a person to cope better when he or she realizes other people are going through the same thing. Support from Christian friends can provide a patient with fellowship that involves prayer and faith in God. Praying for friends is important as can be seen with Job and his friends in the Bible. "And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before." (Job 42:10)

Life should be as normal and routine as possible for a person who is suffering with bipolar disorder. Too many changes and excitement can bring an episode of mania and depression. Routine living along with medication can help the patient to avoid episodes that wreck havoc on his or her life. Other lifestyle changes that can benefit the patient include eating healthy, exercise, and restorative sleep. Bipolar counseling helps the patient realize the importance of making healthy lifestyle changes and sticking with ongoing sessions. Learning positive coping techniques can help the patient and the family.

Bipolar does not have a cure but the disease can be managed with the proper treatment. The disorder does seem to run in families therefore indicating that it may be genetic. Environmental issues such as lifestyle choices can cause the onset of the disorder especially if a person indulges in drug or alcohol use. A physician will need to know if there has been drug or alcohol abuse with a patient. One way to help avoid drug or alcohol abuse with future episodes is becoming involved with bipolar support groups. A support group may include teaming up with other members and being able to call them when there is a problem. Having someone to depend upon to help when times of weakness occur can mean a lot for someone with bipolar disorder.

Some of the warning signs that an episode may be coming on is an increase in energy level, concentration level changes, sleep pattern changes, and the desire to indulge in drugs or alcohol. Some things that can trigger episodes include stress, anxiety, illness, and changes in day to day activities. Bipolar counseling can educate a person to be on the alert for triggers or symptoms of an episode. Mania episodes can deceive a person; at first the heightened energy and creativity can be positive. However, the problem that usually results from these episodes is that a person will become carried away to the point that he or she will take risks that can affect others. Behavior can ruin friendships, cause a person to lose a job, and affect close relationships with family. The importance of treatment can not be over emphasized when it comes to bipolar disorder.

Depression Support Groups

Depression support groups are available for anyone who is experiencing symptoms of hopelessness, anxiety, major mood changes, and suicidal thoughts. Many health professionals consider depression to be the cause of disability in large segments of the population worldwide. Almost 20 million people suffer with some depressive symptoms and women are among the most afflicted. While it can be extremely debilitating and difficult to overcome in some instances, there is hope for almost everyone who receives assistance through depression treatment centers, individual counseling, physiological treatments and a wide range of other treatment choices.

Symptoms can range from mild to acute, but most often include sadness, fatigue, unfounded guilt, sense of worthlessness, lack of concentration, inability to sleep well, and a feeling of emptiness. There are also physical symptoms that are associated such as digestive problems, chronic pain or headaches. Many of the nation's depression treatment centers have recognized the overlap of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects and attempt to provide a combined approach to treatment. Each center operates from a certain philosophical viewpoint and will have its own variety of psychological treatments including depression support groups or other forms of therapy.

There are many Christian depression treatment centers that base their treatment models not only on the medical aspects of the affliction but also biblical applications for personal resolutions. Since much of depressive symptoms are rooted in personal struggles, perspectives and circumstantial conflicts, hope for real resolution and peace is possible through a Christian world view. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3) This is not to underrate the importance of underlying physical problems that are also associated with depressive symptoms. Many Christian depression treatment centers provide medical doctors and health care professionals who can either locate or eliminate any physical factors that may cause or contribute to depressive symptomology.

In order to receive the best help possible, those who have the classic symptoms usually benefit from a complete physical that takes into account any health problems known or unknown. Serious cases of depression may require hospitalization in one of the many treatment centers around the country in order to protect the patient and to reach the root causes more quickly. Licensed, treatment centers provide testing, personalized physician's care, psychological analysis, individual therapy, and depression support groups. Depending on the particular philosophy of each center, many different types of therapies and counseling methods are used to assist depressed individuals in resolving related issues.

Some of the common secular approaches to depression are behavioral and interpersonal therapies. Behavioral therapies are generally based on the assumption that depressive thoughts and actions are part of an overall negative belief system that can be altered by changing these behavior patterns through recognition and reinforcement. Patients are taught to recognize their negative patterns and choose to replace these patterns with positive patterns. Behavioral therapies have much of their basis in behavior modification techniques and attempt to teach a patient to re-learn and replace poor responses. Interpersonal therapy generally delves into an individual's personal relationships in order to find the source of problems. Interpersonal therapy uses a broad range of techniques such as individual counseling and depression support groups to reach into many relationship issues from many perspectives. Along with various therapy models, many centers will choose to put patients on medicine therapy in order to alleviate the most serious symptoms.

Anti-depressant drugs are usually prescribed for people who enter depression treatment centers for depressive episodes. Anti-depressants are not limited to hospitalized patients, but are widely prescribed to general patients by not only psychologists, but internists, general practitioners and gynecologists when a doctor believes his or her patient can benefit from this type of drug therapy. Some people may only use the drug for a short term while others may have a difficult time coping with life without it. There are many opinions as to the benefit of long term use of anti-depressants, but most health care or counseling specialists recognize the need for its use in seriously depressed patients who are a threat to themselves or others.

As in the case of drugs, there are also many opinions as to the benefits or harm caused to patients who are not properly handled medically, psychologically and spiritually during times of depressive episodes. The link between spiritual and health issues as they relate to depression is constantly debated. Many people have found real relief when their situation is addressed from a holistic viewpoint. Understanding that humans are a tri-part being, i.e. body, soul and spirit who are created by God, provides the foundation for a balanced approach to a number of life's difficulties, not the least of which is real depression. Helpful avenues such as depression support groups and treatment centers that understand this connection can provide much needed direction in finding real solutions for desperate people.





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