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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2568
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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I may be or am bipolar. I have a few of the listed symptoms

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I may be or am bipolar. I have a few of the listed symptoms ive read. my wife believes so as well and were both trying to find answers and treatments if necessary?! i have battled with depression before and was on some meds for it. this was about 6 months ago and i took prescribed pills for a month before discontinuing them.

NormanM :

Hello, I'm Norman. Are you ready to chat?

NormanM :

Just type when you are ready

Customer:

hi norman! trying to send but i dont know if this is working?


NormanM :

Yes - so far. It can be temperamental though.

NormanM :

First thing is, that in order to be sure of what is wrong, you will have to have a face-to-face assessment with your Doc. Bipolar disorder is quite difficult to diagnose - despite what we might read on the internet!

Customer:

what should i be looking for in questions then? i mean as in not what ive read on the internet.

NormanM :

Frankly, I suspect that by now you will know most of the signs and symptoms of the disorder, but only a trained professional can give you a definitive answer

NormanM :

Just briefly, though one of the most important features of bipolar disorder is the cycling between manic and depressive phase - this can be rapid (over a few days) or slow (over several weeks/months)

NormanM :

Treatment - usually anti-depressants, with, ideally, psychotherapy alongside them

NormanM :

Now I know that you have had a problem with anti-depressants, but ther WILL be one that wil suit you. Finding the right one, howver, can be a matter of trial and error.

NormanM :

Importantly, you must stick with them. Oftena month is not long enough for them to start working properly.

Customer:

is bipolar treatment the same as depression then? in that sense?

NormanM :

If you want the full dignostic criteria, they are here.

NormanM :

Basically, yes, but with the difference tht there are characteristic episodes of unreasonably high mood as well as the usual lows of depression.

NormanM :

Still there?

In brief, you MUST get a professional assessment to be sure of your diagnosis.

It can be dealt with by a combination of proper medication and a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a form of therapy that addresses problems in a direct and targeted way and is brief compared with most other therapies.

The first thing you need to do is to see your Doctor – he will give you a full diagnosis and if appropriate, start your on a suitable anti-depressant medication. He will also want to rule out any physical cause of what you is experiencing.

Depression is seen as a chemical imbalance in the brain, just as diabetes is a chemical imbalance in the body. Diabetics take medication to stay well, why shouldn’t you?

Don’t be afraid of taking medication – it could really help turn your whole life around

Two important issues about this - when you is on medication, you must take it at the correct dose and as prescribed. It is no use missing doses or messing around with the dose.

Secondly, you should know that anti-depressants can take up to 8 weeks from the start of therapy before they begin to show beneficial effects, so it's no use quitting after two weeks.

I mentioned CBT - is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also cause the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.

These ‘automatic thoughts’ are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.

If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted,

the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts’ then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.

Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.

Therapy is not seen as something “done to” the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.

Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.

Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfoforall/treatments/cbt.aspx

If you cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:

http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/cbtstep1.htm

Make the first step NOW – get an appointment with your Doc, and you can start to get better.

You’ll also find some very good help here:

http://www.depression.com/

Norman M. and 3 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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