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Decision Making and Risk in people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder

Project Title: Decision making and risk in people diagnosed with bipolar disorder.


My name is Anna Chiara Sicilia and I am conducting this research as a student on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme at Lancaster University.

What is the study about?

The purpose of this study is to explore the links between the way in which people diagnosed with bipolar disorder make sense of their daily experiences and make decisions and their likelihood of taking risks in everyday life.

We answer all your questions regarding our forthcoming Bipolar Sailing Trip in Greece! In case you may have any more questions, please feel free to contact us

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For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) its always ourselves we find in the sea - E. E. Cummings

- enjoy a nice week of sailing along with relaxation and mindfulness exercises

- make new friends who also have an interest in bipolar disorder

- be part of the first ever Bipolar Sailing Trip!

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Professor Goodwin's recent blog post on the mental health elf blog is very helpful in terms of summarising some of the problems we have with structured psychological therapies across most psychological disorders not just bipolar disorder. He is also a much respected figure and scientist in the field of Bipolar disorders in UK and internationally. It is also very encouraging that despite his significant involvement and contribution to pharmacological treatments of bipolar disorder, more recently he has been involved in the therapeutic role of psycho-education.

However, it is very disconcerting to read that psychoeducation as a psychosocial treatment modality in bipolar disorder is based on some coherent model of Bipolar disorder, whereas the other structured psychosocial treatments (CBT, IPSRT, FFT) are lacking in this respect.

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A recent interview and book publication by the former Olympic champion Suzy Hamilton reveals how her bipolar disorder led to her to become a high class prostitute. The only certainty is that her "bipolar disorder", and the bipolar disorder of most of our patients, do not lead them to a career in prostitution.

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Non-adherence in the treatment of bipolar disorder is a very common phenomenon, which has been addressed by various researchers. The negative consequences may include relapse, hospitalization, impairment in everyday functioning, and it can be costly.

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picture courtesy of Christina Tsevis (Crosti) – see https://www.facebook.com/christina.tsevis

picture courtesy of Christina Tsevis (Crosti) – see https://www.facebook.com/christina.tsevis

In our clinical work at BipolarLab, we often come across bipolar patients who seek help when they are depressed. Depression may be the most common symptom, and the most frequent episode of bipolar disorder, but it is not always the most urgent phase to treat. Manic episodes may be more urgent, and more dangerous. Nevertheless, it takes an experienced, and a well trained bipolar patient to seek help once manic. Depressive episodes with increased suicidal ideation or psychotic symptoms can be equally urgent, but for the most common depressive episodes urgency is a matter of choice.

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Reading so many articles about holidays and depression but at the same time working almost exclusively with bipolar patients, I wondered too. Is Christmas good for your Bipolar disorder? What can I really tell you or to our patients about this?

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Bipolar disorder is a condition characterized by recurrent episodes of depression and/or abnormally elevated mood (known as mania) that interfere with psychosocial functioning (see our guide). Depressive symptoms, along with cognitive difficulties in planning, problem solving, attention and memory, are known to be related to low psychosocial functioning and in particular occupational functioning (Bauer et al., 2001; Goldstein & Burdick, 2008).

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The BipolarLab clinicians and staff celebrate the National Bipolar Awareness Day by offering to all bipolar friends a free MoodPulse-Mini session. You get:

 

1. A psychometric assessment of your mood (mania, depression, anxiety) and ability to function.

 

2. Mood measurement with gold-standard psychometric instruments.

 

3. A User-friendly report delivered immediately in your inbox and in your doctor's/therapist's email.

 

For more information about MoodPulse-Mini see here: http://www.bipolarlab.com/moodpulsemini

 

To book a place email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

All assessments are provided all over the world via Skype (in English or Greek) with the assistance of a friendly BipolarLab facilitator.

 

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picture copyright & courtesy of Christina Tsevis (crosti)

Dear BipolarLab Friends,

We are pleased to announce a pilot trial based on BipolarLab's specialist services.

Since our launch, in 2011, we have been working hard to deliver the best evidence-based programs for patients with Bipolar disorder and recurrent depression remotely all over the world. We have learned a lot since that time, and we are now in a position to take up a few patients at a minimal cost (25 euros per session instead of the normal rate of 70-100 euros).

picture copyright & courtesy of Christina Tsevis (crosti)

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental disorder that disrupts the emotional and social lives of people who suffer from it.

Patients with bipolar disorder experience intense periods of mania, where they tend to feel over optimistic or even grandiose, and often become overly social or even inappropriate in their contact with other people. This is something they usually regret and feel ashamed of later, but they have little control over their behavior when they are manic. They also tend to experience periods of depression, where they become withdrawn and isolate themselves. When they do not experience a mood episode, they tend to be fairly well and very likable and cherish the friendship of others, but the effects of their previous episodes persist. The mood episodes disrupt their social lives, and as a result they are often isolated. The lack of a supportive network of friends makes their lives even more difficult to bear, increases their risk to become unwell again, and delays their recovery.

Our BipolarLab eBuddy program aims to develop a network of BipolarLab eBuddies who will volunteer their time to befriend at least one bipolar patient who will be undergoing supervised treatment by a BipolarLab professional.

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Bipolar disorder has been found to be “the sixth most disabling medical condition”(Murray & Lopez, 1997). Bipolar patients often have other medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease and both depression and mania are phases that are associated with significant problems in activity. Therefore, one cannot help but realize the need to look into more depth the complex relationship between physical activity and bipolar disorder. Even though many studies in the past have tried to look at this relationship, it is only recently that advances in accelerometer technologies are beginning to help us to measure accurately activity patterns in bipolar disorder.

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We wish you a very merry and cheery Christmas and a Happy New Year with a moodeat turkey recipe specially prepared for you to help you cope with the Christmas Blues.

We know it takes a lot more than a moodeat turkey, but every little thing you do helps!

Remember to prepare it with a group of supportive friends and loving family members.

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Setting up and running an evidence based clinical e-practice in the field of mental health is an exhilarating challenge!

In other fields of medicine, this may not be the case, but in the mental health world, evidence based practice is a relatively new development.

"Evidence-based practice" means we conduct our clinical practice based on evidence that we've acquired from clinical research. Similar to drug research, your doctor will usually prescribe medications that've been tested thoroughly through many trials, and have been proven to benefit your health condition. Once upon a time, your therapy could've been based on Dr. Ego’s clinical expertise, big name or great insights, but thankfully these days such practices are slowly becoming a nightmare of the past (although, drug companies still invest on armies of Dr. Egos “aka opinion leaders” to influence your local doctor’s prescription practices).

However, evidence-based practice is a fairly recent development in the field of mental health, and especially in the field of psychotherapy. The rise of behavioral therapy in the 60s, partly as a reaction to the psychoanalytic status quo, and later its marriage with cognitive therapy, have given us a remarkable new tradition of true evidence-based psychotherapeutic practice.

 

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  • How mood regulates food

One thing that determines our enjoyment in life is mood. Mood changes from day to day, moment to moment. We may be happy, energized, have optimistic feelings, take part in enjoyable activities, feel loving; but we may also feel unpleasant, moody, irritable, anxious, tired and even depressed. We've all come across these feelings and have experienced the enormous impact they have on our psychological and physical wellbeing. However, as people tend to favor positivity and happiness, we try to regulate our bad moods by engaging in certain activities and routines such as eating, exercising, smoking, drinking, socializing, playing games, watching TV, etc.

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I recently attended one of the lovely webinars hosted by the International Bipolar Foundation. The speaker Dr Nassir Ghaemi (Professor at Tufts university) presented his book, a First Rate Madness: Mood disorders and Crisis Leadership and discussed the issue of leadership and mood disorders.

According to his talk people with mood disorders and in general mentally abnormal people make better leaders especially at times of crisis. He gave examples of many American and European political leaders who achieved "greatness" and their psychohistory suggests also had a mental disorder - in most cases a bipolar disorder.

I have trouble digesting this argument, not for personal reasons, I also love my bipolar patients and wish to think and speak well of them, but for scientific reasons.

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By VALERIE KILABERIA, BSC., MSC. BIPOLARLAB JUNIOR PSYCHOLOGIST

Even though the majority of research highlights the negative aspects of bipolar disorder, it is not uncommon to listen to patients who talk warmly about their experiences.

A new study conducted by Lobban, Taylor, Murray & Jones (2012) at the University of Lancaster, UK investigated the positive experiences of people who suffer from bipolar disorder. The participants reported that they experience many positive feelings, including intensified abilities, such as higher academic abilities; acute senses, perceptual sensitivity, focus and clarity of thought. They also reported feeling more creative and productive. The research indicated that a sub-group of people with bipolar disorder prefers to be with the condition as they experience invaluable feelings. Some of the participants work or worked in high professional positions and provided information concerning the times when it was incredibly easy for them to work hard. They felt that they could achieve high levels of productivity and were very ambitious.

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Being critical of yourself or being on the receiving end of other people’s criticism is a challenge. Add a mood disorder in the recipe and the impact of criticism becomes even more explosive.

Early research by Julian Leff at the Institute of Psychiatry and David Goldberg at UCLA on schizophrenia focused on the role of “expressed emotion” in families. They coined this term to essentially describe a negative and critical communication style that appeared to characterize many of the families who had members suffering from schizophrenia.

 

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