Identifying Bipolar Depression

December 2, 2009 at 3:45 pm , by

sad faceCheck out this post by guest blogger and intern, Kristen Domonell.

Do you know someone who’s been depressed for months, maybe even years, and nothing has been able to pull her out of her slump? She may be suffering from bipolar depression.

Bipolar depression is the depressive phase of bipolar disorder and may affect up to 8 million Americans. Symptoms include prolonged feelings of sadness and emptiness, feelings of worthlessness, inability to concentrate and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.  Unlike major depressive disorder—the type of depression we’re more familiar with—bipolar depression is accompanied by periods of extreme highs. Patients sometimes overlook their mania when consulting a physician, leading to misdiagnosis and improper care.

Though there is no cure for bipolar depression, there are many ways to help ward off the symptoms. Talk to your doctor about what combination of medication, diet and lifestyle changes are right for you.

Actress Debi Mazar (Dancing with the Stars, Entourage) has dedicated herself to promoting awareness about the disease as part of the SPEAK and Be Heard… Living With Bipolar Depression campaign. Her close relative’s bipolar depression went misdiagnosed for 10 years, and Mazar is hoping to remove the stigma attached to mental illness.

“The goals of the campaign are to offer a voice to people with bipolar depression, inspire hope in families who are struggling with this disease, and show that success is possible with the right treatment and the support of friends, family and health care professionals,” she said.

What’s it like living with bipolar disorder? Here are some great blogs written by those coping with the disease:

•    The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive Seaneen, a 24-year-old Irish woman residing in London, gives an in-depth and honest account of her highs and lows.

•    All About Bipolar A 35-year old mother of four from Tennessee details “the day to day grind faced by a person dealing with bipolar disorder.”

•    Raw Writing for the Real World of Bipolar 34-year-old Cristina Fender blogs about her experiences with bipolar disorder and offers news and resources for others who are trying to overcome the disease.

Photo by Margaret Shear

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