Bipolar blog

What Caused My Bipolar Disorder: Nature or Nurture?

→ May 25, 2015 - 25 Comments

What Caused My Bipolar Disorder: Nature or Nurture?

The Bipolar Burble is extremely pleased to welcome back today’s guest author: Ross Szabo. Ross is an amazing mental illness educator and advocate. You can read more about him at the bottom.

I’ve often pondered whether bipolar is caused by nature or nurture and even researchers constantly examine the age-old question. The data largely shows that it’s often a mixture of both. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 16. My psychiatrist added anger control problems and psychotic features to my diagnosis at age 17. I love to ponder what part of my bipolar is nature, what’s nurture and what’s me?

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Why Saying “Just Stop Cutting” Doesn’t Work for Self-Harmers

→ May 25, 2015 - 5 Comments

Why Saying “Just Stop Cutting” Doesn’t Work for Self-Harmers

One of the least helpful things you can say to someone who self-harms is, “well, just stop cutting.” Believe me, for most people who cut, if it were that easy, they would have done it already. People struggle with ending self-harm not because they don’t want to but because they use self-harm as a coping skill and you can’t just take away someone’s only or best coping skill. They won’t know what else to do without it. So saying, “just stop cutting” to a self-harmer is like saying, “just stop crying” or “just stop talking to your friends” or “just stop drinking” – if that’s the coping skill the person uses to deal with pain, telling them to “just stop it” doesn’t work.

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Pros and Cons of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

→ May 19, 2015 - 30 Comments

Pros and Cons of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

The pros and cons of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are actually quite numerous but in this post I will try to, unbiasedly, lay out the basic pros and cons for anyone considering ECT as a treatment. I am likely uniquely qualified to do this as I am very educated about ECT (Yes, I still have that book in the works. Did I mention I’m really busy?) and I’ve also had ECT. This does not mean it’s right for everyone, however. Do consider the pros and cons of electroconvulsive therapy carefully before you make your own mind up with the help of a doctor.

[Note: I am running a survey on real patients’ experiences with, and perspectives on, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If you’ve had ECT and want your voice heard, please take the survey here. More detailed information on the ECT survey can be found here.]

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Safety of First-Generation Antipsychotics Like Haloperidol

→ May 18, 2015 - 11 Comments

Safety of First-Generation Antipsychotics Like Haloperidol

First-generation antipsychotics (typical antipsychotics, neuroleptics) have been around since the 1950s, but how safe are first-generation antipsychotics like haloperidol? One doctor, Henry A. Nasrallah, MD, suggests that haloperidol and its likenesses should be retired as first generation antipsychotics are not safe for the brain (he and the literature contend). Are first-generation antipsychotics like haloperidol safe or possibly neurotoxic?

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When to Give In and Let Someone Commit Suicide?

→ May 10, 2015 - 46 Comments

When to Give In and Let Someone Commit Suicide?

Is there really a question as to when to give in and let someone commit suicide? According to some commenters and a recent email I received, there sure is.

This morning, I received an email saying that I was “promoting torture” by telling people not to commit suicide. According to the emailer:

I’m not clear on why this blog makes people feel that ending one’s suffering is not an option…and in fact is a wrong thing to do….?

Don’t we all have choices? If we’ve done all we can and life is absolute hell, then why convince people to continue to live such lives?!

So the question is, is there really a time when you should give in and just let someone commit suicide?

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Mental Health Week? We Need Mental Illness Week

→ May 4, 2015 - 16 Comments

Mental Health Week? We Need Mental Illness Week

This weeks is mental health week in Canada – not mental illness week. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. Mental health is more than the absence of mental illness. It’s a state of well-being.”

This is true. We all do have mental health. And mental health is important. But what we need in society is mental illness week not mental health week.

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Fighting Antipsychiatry Matters

→ April 27, 2015 - 42 Comments

Fighting Antipsychiatry Matters

Antipsychiatry, as a movement, matters and I would say that fighting antipsychiatry, as a movement, also matters.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to stick my head in the sand and just “live and let live.” I’m a live and let live kind of gal. It’s the way I handle most things and in terms of people who are critical of psychiatry (not antipsychiatrists; moderate, rational people) that’s how I feel about them. Criticism, in the end, is often healthy as it help to make an institution better.

But antipsychiatry? That’s another thing entirely. That’s a concept that needs to be fought. Actively.

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Bipolar Pride: Do We Need It?

→ April 14, 2015 - 46 Comments

Bipolar Pride: Do We Need It?

There is this concept of “bipolar pride” or “borderline pride” or “mad pride” or “whatever-mental-illness pride.” I see it on people’s avatars, Facebook pages and whatnot. For some reason, people want to declare their bipolar and say they’re proud of it? I, for one, and not “proud” of bipolar and do not exhibit bipolar pride in any way.

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Mental Health Mobile Applications – What Do You Want?

→ April 6, 2015 - 2 Comments

Mental Health Mobile Applications – What Do You Want?

Mental health mobile applications (apps for your phone, generally) can do things like track your mood, track your sleep and are targeted at different populations like people with posttraumatic stress disorder or depression. But there are gaps in the marketplace, things that are not currently being addressed by mental health mobile applications. So my question is for you, if you could have any mental health mobile application, what would it be?

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Top 5 Myths about Bipolar Disorder – Debunking Bipolar Myths

→ March 29, 2015 - 32 Comments

Top 5 Myths about Bipolar Disorder – Debunking Bipolar Myths

Myths about bipolar disorder abound and, honestly, most people don’t know anything about bipolar except the myths, or common misconceptions. On World Bipolar Day, it makes sense to me to spend a little time pointing out bipolar myths and addressing them.

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Fear of Bipolar Medication Treatment Changes

→ March 23, 2015 - 52 Comments

Fear of Bipolar Medication Treatment Changes

I have a fear of bipolar medication treatment changes. I do. You’d think after 100 changes to my bipolar medication treatment plan I would be used to it, and while I supposed I’m used to it, it doesn’t destroy the fear. I’m so scared that a bipolar medication treatment change will make me worse. I also fear the hope that a bipolar medication treatment change offers.

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8 Things I Wish Parents Knew about Bipolar, Mental Illness

→ March 19, 2015 - 40 Comments

8 Things I Wish Parents Knew about Bipolar, Mental Illness

When you think about your history, what do you wish your (or other) parents knew about bipolar disorder or mental illness? My parents, like many people, knew nothing about bipolar disorder and this, undoubtedly, harmed me. Their lack of knowledge and lack of openness about their own mental health/illness history made my life and my bipolar journey much harder than it had to be. Here’s what I wish my parents, and other parents, knew about bipolar disorder and mental illness.

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