The Common Misconceptions About Bipolar Disorder

What are the common misconceptions about bipolar disorder

For too long, much misinformation has existed about bipolar disorder. The many misconceptions about bipolar disorder can be harmful for those living with the condition.  Whether you have been recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder or someone you know has, learning about the common misconceptions about bipolar disorder may help.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by extreme fluctuations in mood, between mania and depression. Energy and sleep are also affected. Bipolar disorder differs from the normal ups and downs in everyday life that many people experience in that the mood swings occur more frequently and with greater intensity than what is developmentally appropriate and can last much longer. People with bipolar disorder often experience problems at home, school, work and in relationships in addition to other areas of life. 

Are There Common Misconceptions About Bipolar Disorder?

Arm yourself with knowledge by learning about a few of the common misconceptions about bipolar disorder.

Myth: Bipolar disorder is rare.

Fact: Bipolar disorder is not rare and affects millions of people. 

Nearly 2.1% of the population is estimated to experience bipolar disorder in their lifetime. Bipolar disorder affects women and men equally. It is not as common as some other mental health conditions, but it is burdensome in many ways. It is long-lasting and chronic and can significantly impair a person’s ability to live a normal life. 

Myth: If a person has mood swings, it indicates bipolar disorder.

Fact: Mood swings do not always indicate bipolar disorder and regular mood swings are not the same. 

People with bipolar disorder experience very distressing fluctuations in mood that differ greatly from normal fluctuations between times of happiness and sadness in those without the condition. Bipolar disorder mood swings can be persistent and frequent. Many people with bipolar disorder experience cycles of mania and depression that are linked with harmful behaviors, such as going days without sleeping or being at risk of self-harm. 

Myth: Mania is really just a good, happy feeling.

Fact: Mania can be a serious problem that can become detrimental and even terrifying.

It is true that when a person is manic, they may feel good initially, but without treatment, there are often negative aspects. When a person with bipolar disorder comes out of a depressive episode, the high of a manic episode may feel like a sort of relief but a person can also feel like they have no control or situations or people are against them. Manic episodes can make it difficult to function and may cause a person to lose control of their thoughts and actions.

Myth: People with bipolar disorder are always either happy or sad. 

Fact: People with bipolar disorder can experience a balanced mood as well.

Euthymia is a state of mood that is even and balanced and does not correlate with mania or depression. When a person is in euthymia, he or she may feel cheerful and happy and possibly even a resilience to stress. Euthymia can last for long periods of time. 

Conversely, people with bipolar disorder can also experience what is referred to as a “mixed episode,” which entails features of mania and depression at the same time. 

Myth: People with bipolar disorder are violent.

Fact: People who deal with bipolar disorder are not inherently violent. 

Some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder can include impulsivity and irritability – especially when one is in a manic state. These symptoms can make people feel more agitated or act aggressive, but this does not mean a person with bipolar disorder is violent. 

Myth: Medication is the only treatment for bipolar disorder.

Fact: There are many treatments available for bipolar disorder.

The most effective treatments for bipolar disorder focus on balancing the highs and lows in mood as well as energy. Several therapy techniques produce promising results for bipolar disorder treatment, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help encourage attention to automatic positive thoughts in addition to triggers for mania. 
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy to help improve emotion regulation.
  • Psychoeducational therapy to help understand triggers and how to manage the illness.
  • Family-focused therapy to help improve communication and the reduction of emotional conflict. 
  • Medication therapy to help balance extreme symptoms, such as mood stabilizers or antipsychotic medications. 

Atlanta Recovery Place offers treatment for clients struggling with bipolar disorder and co-occurring substance abuse disorders in a serene environment. If you or a loved one are ready to move beyond the symptoms of bipolar disorder and resolve any underlying issues, reach out to us today. Our trained and caring professionals are ready to help you better understand your diagnosis. 

Tips on How to Talk to Someone With Anxiety

Tips on how to talk to someone with anxiety?

It is natural to want to help someone you care about when they are struggling with anxiety – but it can also be intimidating. The anxious person feels completely overwhelmed and may even battle panic attacks. Sometimes people with anxiety don’t have a clear understanding of their condition and may not be able to tell you how exactly you can help them. 

Before you try to help your anxious loved one, it is important to gain an understanding of anxiety. Anxiety is not a flaw. Nearly everyone experiences feeling anxious at some point because it is an emotion that is naturally ingrained into us to help us see potential threats, keeping us on alert. 

People with anxiety or anxiety disorder, however, deal with patterns of anxiety that tend to snowball – often overthinking while worrying about something that has happened in the past occurring again or worrying about the future. They may use avoidance coping to avoid stressors instead of dealing with them, such as avoiding talking about topics, going places or doing certain things. This can be difficult to see and may push people away, but there are ways you can help, including learning how to talk to someone with anxiety.

How to Talk to Someone With Anxiety

Here are some tips on how to talk to someone with anxiety.

Educate Yourself

Learn about anxiety and the different forms, from social anxiety to health anxiety. Increase your understanding about generalized anxiety disorder and symptoms that go along with it. Learn about anxiety treatment and look for supportive suggestions you can offer. By pouring your time into educating yourself, it will show to your anxious friend and can help.

Listen

You probably already know that listening is important but it can be challenging to listen to someone who has fears that you do not relate to. Strive to listen with an empathetic ear without getting annoyed or frustrated. Keep listening even if you feel like you can’t any longer and avoid making assumptions or judgements while you do so. Always remain patient and calm while listening to someone with anxiety.

Be Gentle and Empathetic

Be honest and straightforward when you do speak and/or offer suggestions but remember to be as gentle as you can. Be careful to not minimize their struggles by making statements like, “It’s really not a big deal,” and, “You have no reason to be worried or anxious.” These statements are not only unhelpful but can be hurtful to a person who is already struggling. Most people with an anxiety disorder are generally aware of the fact that their anxiety is not always rational. Pointing out this fact can lead to more negative feelings, self-judgement and discomfort.

It is also important to recognize that some people with chronic anxiety are not willing to change. For example, a person with agoraphobia (the fear and avoidance of places that may cause a person with anxiety to panic) may not be willing to “face their fears.” Remember to be understanding and not try to force them to do something they are not willing or comfortable to do.

Offer Support

Instead, ask how you can help them. Rather than guessing what kind of support they need, ask! Some people benefit from strong support that may look like helping them break their coping strategies down into more manageable steps or discussing in depth how they can work through difficult situations but prefer to have their independence and autonomy acknowledged. Others may prefer more emotional support, knowing that you are there for them through everything and they don’t have to worry that you might abandon them since anxiety can push people away. 

You may be able to help them learn to identify triggers of their anxiety and help them to come up with ways to combat them. Anxiety triggers may include:

  • Relationship problems
  • Work stress
  • Health problems
  • Caffeine
  • Stress
  • Social events
  • Poor sleep
  • Changes in routine

Offer to be an accountability partner. Having an accountability partner who supports an anxious person can increase the chance of positive outcomes. 

Encourage Self-Care

Encourage basic self-care habits, including maintaining a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep and staying active. Many of these habits are forgotten when a person struggles with a mental health condition. Good self-care habits can have a big impact, helping one to manage stress, increase energy and lower risk of illness in addition to increasing mood. 

Seek Help

If your loved one experiences unsurmountable anxiety and/or panic attacks, anxiety can be managed through a combination of self-care and professional help. You can offer to help them find a treatment facility, such as Atlanta Recovery Place. Therapy, medication or a combination of the two treatment methods can help with a person battling anxiety. 

Remember to not pressure a person to seek treatment but if they agree therapy could be beneficial, offer your support and willingness to help them take the first steps. 

Let Atlanta Recovery Place Help You or Your Loved One Today

Reach out to the trained and caring professionals at Atlanta Recovery Place today to find out how we can help your loved one through this obstacle and on the path to greater well-being.

What Are the Most Common Mental Health Disorders?

the most common mental health disorders

Mental health disorders are conditions that affect the way people think and act. They can affect people of any gender, sex, ethnicity, age or socioeconomic group. Disorders can range in severity from mild to severe. People struggling with mental health disorders may struggle to cope with everyday life due to their altered thinking, behavior or moods. If you wonder what are the most common mental health disorders, read on to find out about the ten most common disorders among American adults. 

What Are the Most Common Mental Health Disorders?

Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that refers to a wide range of mental health problems characterized by low mood, loss of enjoyment and interest and reduced energy in addition to other associated cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioral symptoms. Depression is more than just feeling sad. 

There are many different types of and symptoms of depression. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Feelings of guilt
  • Loss of enjoyment and interest in everyday life
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Reduced attention
  • Thoughts of suicide

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by worry and excessive anxiety that occurs on more days than not over the period of at least six months. People with GAD may be excessively apprehensive about outcomes of events or activities. They may also anticipate catastrophic outcomes from mild physical symptoms or medication side effects. GAD sufferers often battle depression too. The following symptoms are common with GAD:

  • Excessive worry and anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle tension
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle tension

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is associated with panic attacks and intermittent apprehension. Panic attacks may occur spontaneously or may be related to specific triggers. The severity and frequency of panic attacks for people with panic disorder can vary. Agoraphobia, which is characterized by anxiety about being in certain situations or places from which a person may be unable to escape, is common among those with panic disorder. As a result, many people with panic disorder avoid a variety of situations, such as being alone in public, being home alone, traveling in a car or airplane or being in a particular place 

Phobias

Phobias are characterized by extreme and persistent fear of a specific situation or object. Usually a person with a phobia experiences extreme discomfort and a level of fear that is out of proportion to the actual level of danger of the thing they fear. Most people with specific phobias recognize that the fear is excessive or out of proportion to the actual risk. 

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder is characterized by strong fear in social situations that causes distress and leads to a person feeling self-conscious and anxious. People with social anxiety disorder often struggle to function effectively in certain aspects of their daily lives. Their performance at home, work and school may be affected and they may spend days or weeks worrying about a single social situation. Fears are often triggered by imagined or real scrutiny from others. Symptoms of social anxiety disorder may include:

  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Blushing
  • Palpitations
  • Panic attacks
  • Trembling 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive compulsive disorder is another common mental health disorder and is classified as a form of anxiety disorder. People with OCD experience obsessions, compulsions or both. Obsessions are defined as recurrent thoughts, impulses or images that are unwanted and intrusive. Compulsions are distressing and time-consuming repetitive rituals that originate in a person’s mind and not instigated by an external source and that a person feels driven to perform. Usually the person with compulsions acknowledges them as excessive or unreasonable.  

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder usually develops in response to a traumatic event or events that the person has experienced, such as severe accidents, interpersonal violence, military action or disasters. People with PTSD re-experience symptoms over and over again involuntarily and in a vivid and distressing way. Symptoms of PTSD may include:

  • Repetitive and distressing images
  • Nightmares
  • Irritability
  • Exaggerated startle responses
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Avoidance of trauma reminders
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Inability to have feelings

If you are concerned you or a loved one are dealing with one of the most common mental health disorders and want to pursue treatment, our professional team of admissions counselors at Atlanta Recovery Place are available to answer any questions you may have. We can help you through the admissions process if and when you are ready. Contact us today by filling out a form or calling us at 866-278-6306 so you or your loved one can get on the path to true recovery.

The Connection Between Depression and Addiction

The connection between depression and addiction

Depression and addiction can be complex and may feel difficult to manage – especially when a person is dealing with both mental health conditions. Thankfully there is help available for both depression and addiction. Whether you or a loved one struggle with these disorders, understanding the symptoms, treatment options and risk factors of each condition in addition to how the two are connected can help.

Depression Explained

Depression is defined as a mental health condition that causes severe symptoms including lack of interest or depressed mood that affect how a person feels, thinks and handles daily activities that persist for at least two weeks. It can be brought on by a series of difficult circumstances or events but it can also come about without any known explanation and is fairly common. Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders in the United States, with an estimated 17.3 million American adults having experienced at least one major depressive episode in the year prior, according to a 2017 poll

People struggling with depression may exhibit different signs, and some of the symptoms are connected with other mental health conditions, which is why it is important to talk to a medical or mental health professional to rule out any other problems. The most common signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Insomnia
  • Withdrawal
  • Poor concentration
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability 
  • Feelings of worthlessness 
  • Difficulty carrying out daily tasks, such as eating and having good hygiene.

Treatment options for people with depression depend on the severity of the depression and may include therapy and/or medication. 

Addiction Explained

Addiction is another treatable mental health condition that involves complex interactions among brain circuits, the environment and genetics in addition to a person’s life experiences. People who battle addiction exhibit excessive use of substances or engagement in behaviors despite any adverse events or consequences.  Many things in life can lead a person to fall into addiction, such as trauma that people develop unhealthy coping mechanisms to overcome from. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.7 million American adults battled some form of substance use disorder in 2017. 

Like depression, symptoms of addiction can mimic other disorders. Addiction symptoms tend to show up quickly when a person becomes addicted to a particular substance or stimuli. The most common signs and symptoms of addiction include:

  • Loss of control
  • Obsessive thoughts and actions
  • Denial of addiction or substance use
  • Poor coordination
  • Insomnia
  • Unusual body odors
  • Slurred speech
  • Bloodshot eyes and/or unusually large or small pupils
  • Lying
  • Secretiveness
  • Stealing
  • Agitation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes in social behavior and/or groups
  • Lack of financial responsibility
  • Looking unkempt 

Treatment options to help people with addiction vary according to each person, but the most common treatment options for addiction include counseling, medication and/or behavioral therapy. Addiction can be difficult to break, sometimes taking people years or decades to get through it. The temptation for relapse is also high early on in the treatment process, which is why it is important to have help from a professional through the addiction recovery process.

The Connection Between Depression and Addiction

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 8.5 million U.S. adults had some form of dual diagnoses, which refers to having a mental illness, such as depression and a substance use disorder at the same time. 

Both depression and addiction can affect one another. For example, some people with depression may turn to substance use (which may then turn to addiction) to ease their painful thoughts or to get relief from their symptoms. On the other hand, substance use can exacerbate mental health disorder symptoms – or even cause them to develop in certain cases. The two conditions often feed into each other, leading to increasingly severe forms of each illness.

Furthermore, depression can actually weaken a person’s body and immune system, making them more vulnerable to illnesses. When alcohol or drugs are the substance of choice the chances of a person’s physical and emotional health deteriorating can increase greatly. Getting treatment for depression and addiction can help improve quality of life while preventing consequences that can be detrimental – especially in those with severe depression. 

Treatment for addiction and depression is very complex. Many rehab programs are not equipped to deliver optimal results for those suffering from depression and addiction. It is important to find an integrated behavioral health system that offers specialized treatment for co-occurring disorders. The treatment professionals at Atlanta Recovery Place are equipped to help patients struggling with depression and addiction. Reach out today to find out about our services and how we can help you or your loved one get on the path to true healing.