Basic Psychology, Psychopathology

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), you may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.

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Causes

Scientists have not yet discovered a single cause of bipolar disorder. Currently, they believe several factors may contribute, including:

  • Genetics. The chances of developing bipolar disorder are increased if a child’s parents or siblings have the disorder. But the role of genetics is not so absolute. Studies of identical twins have found that, even if one twin develops the disorder, the other may not.
  • Stress. A stressful event such as a death in the family, an illness, a difficult relationship, divorce or financial problems can trigger a manic or depressive episode. Thus, a person’s handling of stress may also play a role in the development of the illness.
  • Brain structure and function. Brain scans cannot diagnose bipolar disorder, yet researchers have identified subtle differences in the average size or activation of some brain structures in people with bipolar disorder.

Manic and Depressive Episodes

People with bipolar disorder have periods or episodes of:

  • depression – feeling very low and lethargic
  • mania – feeling very high and overactive (less severe mania is known as hypomania)

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Types of Bipolar Disorder

Subtypes include:

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    1. Bipolar I Disorder is an illness in which people have experienced one or more episodes of mania. Most people diagnosed with bipolar I will have episodes of both mania and depression, though an episode of depression is not necessary for a diagnosis. To be diagnosed with bipolar I, a person’s manic episodes must last at least seven days or be so severe that hospitalization is required.
    1. Bipolar II Disorder is a subset of bipolar disorder in which people experience depressive episodes shifting back and forth with hypomanic episodes, but never a “full” manic episode.
    1. Cyclothymic Disorder or Cyclothymia is a chronically unstable mood state in which people experience hypomania and mild depression for at least two years. People with cyclothymia may have brief periods of normal mood, but these periods last less than eight weeks.
  1. Bipolar Disorder, “other specified” and “unspecified” is when a person does not meet the criteria for bipolar I, II or cyclothymia but has still experienced periods of clinically significant abnormal mood elevation.797fa0d127505af752925c16874c8278

Treatments and Therapies

Right now, there is no cure for bipolar disorder, but treatment can help control symptoms. Most people can get help for mood changes and behavior problems. Steady, dependable treatment works better than treatment that starts and stops. Treatment options include:

1. Medication. 

WARNING :Please do consult a doctor as I am only a psychology student who is not much aware on medicines and the given data is just for an information.

There are several types of medication that can help. People respond to medications in different ways, so the type of medication depends on the patient. Sometimes a person needs to try different medications to see which works best.Medications generally used to treat bipolar disorder include:

    • Mood stabilizers
    • Atypical antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants

Medications can cause side effects. Patients should always tell their doctors about these problems.Also, patients should not stop taking a medication without a doctor’s help. Stopping medication suddenly can be dangerous, and it can make bipolar symptoms worse.

2. Therapy.

 Different kinds of psychotherapy, or “talk” therapy, can help people with bipolar disorder. Therapy can help them change their behavior and manage their lives. It can also help patients get along better with family and friends. Sometimes therapy includes family members.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as individual or family-focused therapy, can help prevent relapses.
  • Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy, combined with CBT, can also help with depressive symptoms.

3. Other treatments.

 Some people do not get better with medication and therapy. These people may try ElectroConvulsive Therapy (ECT).This is sometimes called “shock” therapy. ECT provides a quick electric current that can sometimes correct problems in the brain.

ElectroConvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive therapy, also known as ECT or electroshock therapy, is a short-term treatment for severe manic or depressive episodes, particularly when symptoms involve serious suicidal or psychotic symptoms, or when medicines seem to be ineffective. It can be effective in nearly 75% of patients.

In electroconvulsive therapy, an electric current is passed through the scalp to cause a brief seizure in the brain. ECT is one of the fastest ways to relieve symptoms in people who suffer from mania or severe depression. ECT is generally used only when medicines or other less invasive treatments prove to be unhelpful. It is also used when mood or psychotic symptoms are so severe that it may be unsafe to wait until drugs can take effect. ECT is also often thought to be the treatment of choice for severe mood episodes during pregnancy.

Prior to ECT treatment, a person is given a muscle relaxant and put under general anesthesia. Electrodes are placed on the patient’s scalp, and an electric current is applied that causes a brief seizure. Because the muscles are relaxed, the seizure will usually be limited to slight movement of the hands and feet. The patient is carefully monitored during the treatment. The patient awakens minutes later, does not remember the treatment or events surrounding the treatment, and may be briefly confused.

ECT is usually given up to three times a week, typically for two to four weeks.

Basic Psychology, Psychopathology

Mood Disorders

Most people feel sad or irritable from time to time. They may say they’re in a bad mood. A mood disorder is different. It affects a person’s everyday emotional state.Mood disorders are characterized by a serious change in mood that cause disruption to life activities. A mood disorder also referred to as an affective disorder, is a condition that impacts mood and its related functions. If you are struggling with a mood disorder, your moods may range from extremely low (depressed) to extremely high or irritable (manic).

Mood disorders fall into the basic groups of elevated mood, such as mania or hypomania; depressed mood, of which the best-known and most researched is major depressive disorder (MDD) (commonly called clinical depression, unipolar depression, or major depression); and moods which cycle between mania and depression, known as bipolar disorder (BD) (formerly known as manic depression). There are several subtypes of depressive disorders or psychiatric syndromes featuring less severe symptoms such as dysthymic disorder (similar to but milder than MDD) and cyclothymic disorder (similar to but milder than BD).

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      • Major depressive disorder(MDD) : commonly called major depression, unipolar depression, or clinical depression, wherein a person has one or more major depressive episodes. After a single episode, Major Depressive Disorder (single episode) would be diagnosed. After more than one episode, the diagnosis becomes Major Depressive Disorder (Recurrent). Depression without periods of mania is sometimes referred to as unipolar depression because the mood remains at the bottom “pole” and does not climb to the higher, manic “pole” as in bipolar disorder.
      • Bipolar disorders :Bipolar disorder (BD) (also called Manic Depression or Manic-Depressive Disorder), an unstable emotional condition characterized by cycles of abnormal, persistent high mood (mania) and low mood (depression), which was formerly known as “manic depression” (and in some cases rapid cycling, mixed states, and psychotic symptoms). Subtypes include: bipolar-type_0513-slideshow_375936.jpg
      • Substance-induced : A mood disorder can be classified as substance-induced if its etiology can be traced to the direct physiologic effects of a psychoactive drug or other chemical substance, or if the development of the mood disorder occurred contemporaneously with substance intoxication or withdrawal. Also, an individual may have a mood disorder coexisting with a substance abuse disorder. Substance-induced mood disorders can have features of a manic, hypomanic, mixed, or depressive episode. Most substances can induce a variety of mood disorders. For example, stimulants such as amphetamine, methamphetamine, and cocaine can cause manic, hypomanic, mixed, and depressive episodes.

Cause and Effect of Mood Disorders

What causes mood disorders? Researchers and medical professionals do not have a pinpointed answer for this question, but believe both biological and environmental factors are at play. If your family history includes individuals who have been diagnosed with mood disorders, your likelihood of experiencing them, while still low overall, is increased. Traumatic life events are also considered culprits of the onset of mood disorders as well. Mood disorders can negatively impact your work life and school life and intrude on your personal relationships. In some cases, medications and substance abuse can be the cause behind your disorder.

Treatment Options

Mood disorders are treated primarily through medications and psychotherapy. Even with treatment though, it is not uncommon for mood disorders to persist throughout a lifetime or to come and go on occasion. Education about mood disorders help individuals suffering from these conditions recognize patterns of behavior and thought that are indicative of a mood disorder resurfacing – and prompt them to seek additional treatment.Typically, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are prescribed to individuals coping with mood disorders to alleviate emotional distress. Even with medications though, most mental health providers recommend them in combination with psychotherapy.Psychotherapy is focused on changing thought patterns and behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)  is often considered the benchmark therapy treatment for individuals living with mood disorders. It has been found to have significant positive treatment effects, and in some cases, psychotherapy alone is enough to treat a mood disorder.Some mood disorders, such as bipolar depression, are usually treated with lifelong medication of mood stabilizers combined with psychotherapy which may include Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in severe cases. In addition, the severity of some mood disorders may cause hospitalization, especially if the affected individuals has tried to inflict harm on themselves or others or have thoughts or attempted suicide.

Basic Psychology, Psychopathology

Depression And Menstruation

Every living human being who has ever had a period is familiar with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). We get moody and irritable, we battle persistent cramps, and we sometimes feel like eating the whole fridge in one fell swoop. We’ve learned over the years how to manage these symptoms, but that doesn’t exactly mean we like it when they come banging on our door every month.

If you know your way around PMS, you may have heard of something called premenstrual dysphoria disorder (PMDD). It sounds vaguely similar to PMS, but it’s a different beast entirely. Women who suffer from PMDD will battle all the basics a several days before their period —menstrual cramps, breast tenderness, fatigue, mood swings — but everything is amplified to the point where they can’t function properly. We’re talking cramps so bad, you’re curled up in the fetal position, have headaches that make you super sensitive to light, and suffer from acute anxiety that prevent you from entering social situations.

“These symptoms need to cause significant stress or interference with day to day activities or relationships”  – Dr. Dweck

The irritability you may experience when you’re PMSing isn’t the same as the severe mood swings someone with PMDD suffers from. They won’t be able to communicate in a healthy way with their friends or their partner when their period is around the corner. Furthermore, people with PMDD harbor intense feelings of sadness, anger, or hopelessness. In fact, these feelings may be so extreme that they can’t get out of bed.

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PMS is a monthly syndrome, but PMDD “is actually a psychiatric diagnosis,” according to Dr. Dweck. There are very specific ways to define it, and she says you have to have at least five of the extreme symptoms in order to qualify for PMDD. The most common PMDD symptoms include:

  1. Severe mood swings that affect your personal relationships
  2. A change in appetite
  3. Fatigue
  4. Depression or feelings of hopelessness
  5. Intense menstrual cramps
  6. Acute anxiety
  7. Feeling out of control
  8. Difficulty going about your everyday tasks

Generally, PMDD begins to show up when women are in their 20s. Between 3 and 10 percent of women suffer from this disorder, but at this point we don’t know what the causes of PMDD are. Although there are some speculations that low serotonin levels in the brain may be linked to PMDD, nothing has been proven in the world of science as of yet.

If you’re wondering whether you have PMDD, keep in mind the symptoms in question have to be related to your menstrual cycle. If the symptoms are every single day, it’s not PMS or PMDD.They have to be during the second phase of the cycle and have to be relieved a few days after the period starts. Also, the symptoms have to be present in your life for at least a year or more. If your PMS is especially bad for a couple months in a row because you were stressed, that doesn’t equal PMDD. the big distinction to watch out for is that the symptoms need to be overwhelming and disruptive to your personal life, your relationships, or your day to day activities.People with PMDD can’t easily go to work or school, get out of bed right before their period. It truly is a debilitating disorder.

If any of this sounds familiar, the first thing to do is speak to your doctor. for the people who do live with PMDD, there are treatment options. Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are sometimes prescribed. These are meant to enhance the amount of serotonin in your brain. In the meantime, maintain a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Whether or not you have PMDD, keeping a healthy lifestyle will make your period easier to live with.

Basic Psychology, Psychopathology

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – Introduction

OCD can be defined as the occurrence of unwanted thoughts or distressing images they are usually accompanied by compulsive behaviors designed to neutralize the obsessive thoughts or images or to prevent some dreaded event or situation .

OBSESSIONS

Repeated uncontrollable, irrational ,unwanted and distressing thoughts or images.

Common symptoms include:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
  • Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order
COMPLUSSIONS

Compulsions can involve either overt repetitive behavior (such as Hand washing) or more covert mental acts (such as counting , praying or saying certain words silently).

Common compulsions include:

  • Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
  • Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
  • Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting
How Does OCD Work?

So, how does OCD actually work? First, to understand OCD, you need to know a little bit about anxiety. Your body uses anxiety as an alarm system to warn you about possible dangers. At a low level of perceived danger, your body might experience stress. At a high level of perceived danger, your body will experience fear. Normally, anxiety helps to keep us alive. It stops us from driving far too fast, and it keeps us alert when we walk down a dark street alone.

With OCD, the anxiety alarm system is triggered far too easily, and its warnings are much more intense than necessary. Minor dangers—or dangers that don’t even exist—might trigger a strong anxiety response.

Imagine that someone with OCD touches a doorknob, and becomes overwhelmed with the fear that their hand will become infected (this is the obsession). They immediately wash their hands, but not for 15 seconds like many people might. Instead, they wash their hands for 10 minutes (this is the compulsion).

The brain takes note of the serious response to touching a doorknob, and confirms to itself that touching doorknobs must be dangerous. Furthermore, the brain notices that the anxiety did in fact diminish after 10 minutes of hand washing, so it must have helped. This creates a negative feedback loop where small sources of anxiety result in extreme responses, which then further reinforce the obsessions and compulsions.

Diagram depicting the cycle of OCD.

During the treatment of OCD, this cycle will be identified and broken.

CAUSES

When it comes to what exactly causes this disorder, the science is still out. Simply put, there’s a lot more research that still needs to be done.

What we do know, however, is that there are a few confirmed risk factors that help us understand what causes different OCD types. They are:

  • Genetics – People with first-degree relatives like parents, siblings, or children that develop OCD as a child or teen are at a significantly higher risk of developing types of OCD.
  • Brain Structure – Scientists have begun narrowing down differences in the frontal cortex between OCD and non-OCD test subjects that might point to specific areas of the brain that are affected.
  • Environment – Experiencing physical, sexual, or emotional abuse at a young age has also been shown to be a risk factor when it comes to developing obsessive compulsive disorder. Various types of OCD may also develop in children following a streptococcal infection.
ASSESSMENT AND DIAGNOSIS - Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS)

he Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) is a 10-item scale designed to measure the severity and type of symptoms in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) over the past seven days. The symptoms assessed are obsessions and compulsions. This scale is useful in tracking OCD symptoms at intake and during/after treatment.

Total Y-BOCS scores range from 0 to 40, with higher scores indicating greater severity of OCD symptoms. Scores on the obsession and compulsion subscales range from 0 to 20, but only the total Y-BOCS score is interpreted. Total scores can be split into five categories, based on severity of symptoms. People who have a total Y-BOCS score:

  • Under 7 are likely to be subclinical
  • 8-15 are likely to have a mild case of OCD
  • 16-23 are likely to have a moderate case of OCD
  • 24-31 are likely to have a severe case of OCD
  • 32-40 are likely to have an extreme case of OCD

Here is the  Y-BOCS CheckList to measure your OCD  : Y-BOCS CheckList

 

Inspirational Motivation, Motivation

Breathing in Relaxation and Breathing out Tension

What do you mean by tension? In simple words Tension is nothing but it is the evaluation of our mind to a particular thing ,people or situation. The evaluation process  in different people are entirely different from each other to a particular situation/thing . Take the very simple example as the exam ,  few people are really afraid of exams, very  few are confident about  exams  and some people have a don’t care approach to exams. Here the main subject is exam , but the way that different people approach the subject  makes it different.

When person is not talking to you , when a person talks to you ,when your teacher scolds you , when your husband is angry with you and like never ending river the list of tensions flow onto your mind that hits your soul and the water spread s whole over your body  making you weak. The pre setting of our mind on a particular thing, person or situation is the main reason behind tension. When this pre setting in our mind goes wrong; then  we need to disconnect  the wires of our brain that we have already connected to somewhere else. So the only precaution for this disease called tension is to  delete all your pre settings from your mind.Breathe out the contaminated tensions to the air by deleting all the pre assumptions from you mind then automatically you can breathe in the fresh oxygen of relaxation.

Kill Tension Before Tension Kills You

Always remember the thing that nobody is responsible for your tension ,it’s you who creates the tension and it is the same you who is going to suffer from it. You are killing yourself on behalf of tension. You don’t have the right to articulate that anybody is responsible for your tension ,because tension is a big process  that you are making out of your own mind with your own evaluation process that can’t be interrupted by anyone.You are the maintainer of your mind and you are the only one who has the key to operate it .So you decide whether to run your mind smoothly with no pre settings or whether to complicate your mind with all the assumptions that may ruin your system.

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The after effect of tension may be  in the form of anger or weep which my negatively hit your atmosphere and reflects back to you with a much worse effect. After the heavy storm and  thunder our mind comes back like a calm river without knowing the truth that the storm and thunder just wasted our energy and time with no reason.