- Read and research so you can understand as much about your condition as possible.
- Write down your medication(s), their dosage(s) and what to do if you forget a dose in each case.
- Write down all contact information for your healthcare providers as well as the contact people the provider has set up in case he or she cannot be reached.
- Find out how your medications may interact with each other and with medications you're taking for other issues.
- Learn about any side effects of your medications and be on the lookout for them.
- Learn about how any of your medications will affect medical conditions not related to mood.
- Explore the non-medical treatments that may improve your condition. Exercise, diet changes, social involvement, healthy sleep patterns all contribute to mood.
- Know if psychotherapy can help your treatment.
- Be aware of typical problems those undergoing treatment experience.
How well you cope with life - your mental health - is just as important as your physical health. Worry, stress, anxiety affects everyone, but if it overwhelms your ability to cope, make good decisions, and have fulfilling relationships, you need help. Counseling, medications, and supportive friends can help strengthen your ability to cope - and improve your mental health.
1 AnswerSince mood disorders tend to tailor-make their symptoms to each individual, it's important that you become an expert in your own care. Further, becoming an expert in your care helps you feel in control and more self-confident. It's also interesting to read up on these issues! You can become proactive in your treatment. Take charge of your treatment in the following ways:
1 AnswerAn individual and/or the family can feel insulted, confused and angry when you bring up your observations on mood disorder symptoms. A negative response stems from the fact that so many have put mood disorders in the category of "character flaws" or "personal weakness" for so long. But once you realize you can fight this ignorance with facts, you will have quite an arsenal.
In the past years, medicine has advanced at a phenomenal pace. Psychiatric research and the medicines that have resulted from it have advanced even more. Studies and studies of studies have proven unequivocally that depression and bipolar disorder stem from biochemical anomalies that can be treated in all sorts of ways:
- with other chemicals like medications and even nutritional supplements
- with talk therapies
- with lifestyle changes
Despite these facts, there's no point in painting a pretty picture that your friend and his or her family will greet your concerns and information with gratitude and open arms. Because ignorance remains, they may be insulted. They may be angry. Most of all, they'll be afraid. Fight their fear with the facts.
1 AnswerMood disorders are incredibly prevalent in society today. One in ten adolescents between the ages of 13 and 19 will experience some form of bipolar disorder or depression.
Some of the most talented celebrities (Jim Carrey, Howie Mandell, Hugh Laurie), athletes (Terry Bradshaw, Ricky Williams, Earl Campbell), musicians (Kurt Cobain, Naomi Judd, Adam Ant) and politicians (Abraham Lincoln, Dan White, Merriwether Lewis) have not only admitted to having mood disorders, they've discussed their situations openly on television. Having experienced the futility of hiding and ignoring their atypical moods, they exhort others to be honest with others and seek out the best treatments.
1 AnswerOnce accepted as a volunteer, researchers will ask you to sign an "informed consent" form. Even if a trusted doctor or friend has recommended this trial for you, make sure you take your time reviewing it yourself. You do not need to sign the form right away. Share it with family members and friends. It may be wise to have others agree to intervene should your symptoms or side effects become unmanageably severe during the trial.
The informed consent form describes how the trial will proceed. It also covers the testing procedures and different treatment possibilities. It's important that you closely examine the potential benefits and risks of the treatments to be studied, along with any hazards or discomforts that can arise. Share these with friends or family members, preparing them for possible behavior changes. Should you become unable to make competent decisions, they will need to intervene.
1 AnswerResearch shows that those who discuss their suicidal thoughts (or outline a plan) eventually make an attempt. Further, young adults can be impulsive. Where a suicidal adult may take six months thinking it over, a teen may act impulsively and if he or she has the means, one rash decision and extreme mood could end a life.
If you're concerned about your friend, you can gently ask if he or she has had suicidal thoughts recently. Simply asking will not prompt your friend to make an attempt. Your question will not put the idea in your friend's mind either. If your friend is suicidal, the family and a counselor need to know.
Impress upon your friend that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The problem can be resolved. And don't tolerate listening to your friend's black outlook on life. Suicidal people have a chemical imbalance. They do not perceive life realistically no matter how certain they are that they can see things even more clearly than you!
Your friend can feel better. Ask them to trust your judgment. Impress upon them that their brains are not giving them correct messages right now and that they can feel better.
Finally, remove all weapons, drugs, alcohol or other things with which they can injure themselves. Most of all, encourage your friend to call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. The highly trained suicide counselors there know exactly what to say. They've heard about every situation and discussed options with a wide range of personalities. They can give your friend action steps to take so that she or he can get help and treatment.
1 AnswerResearchers typically conduct clinical trials for mood disorders on an outpatient basis. The only times a clinical trial takes place in a hospital is when the study requires already hospitalized subjects.
1 AnswerBecause clinical trials for mood disorders measure very specific symptoms and responses, researchers establish strict criteria for participation. Do not ever take being turned down personally. Researchers may screen for individuals:
- with a diagnosis of the illness the medication has been designed to treat
- who even display the subtype of the illness (clinical depression rather than dysthymia, for example) and specific symptoms (like rapid cycling)
- who are free of other illnesses the treatment of which may skew the results of the treatment to be studied
- who do not take any other medication who do not drink to excess or take "street" drugs
- who have never taken the medication to be studied
1 AnswerIf you're concerned about safety and convenience, rest assured that clinical trials have evolved significantly in the past two decades. With the proliferation of lawsuits, the testing institution, doctors, therapists and nurses now carefully protect the rights and well-being of research volunteers.
That said, make sure that, when considering participating in a clinical trial, you center your decision on your own personal needs, interests, beliefs and expectations. Do not undergo any therapy to please family members, doctors or anyone else in your life. It's important that you research the trial thoroughly and read all agreements you're asked to sign. You have a responsibility to know all risks involved before agreeing.
1 AnswerThere are several benefits to participating in a clinical trial, particularly if the drug targets your specific symptoms. First, you have access to a drug that is not widely available. Second, while participating in the trial, it's most likely that you'll interact with several specialists, gaining access to multiple opinions and extensive experience. Finally, the drug may have fewer side effects than the one you're currently taking, as doctors continually work to eradicate these. Best of all, you get all this for free! The study organizers typically don't charge for medications, visits or tests.
1 AnswerSome clinical trials for mood disorders have all participants take the experimental medication or undergo the experimental "talk therapy." Other clinical trials split the participants into two groups: those who take the medication or experience therapy and those who take a "placebo" or "sugar pill" or refrain from therapy. Throughout the trial, researchers continually evaluate participants, not only taking their own notes and measurements, but asking whether the participant is experiencing any changes in mood or side effects. Researchers may also need to execute laboratory tests, such as blood and urine tests.