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Monthly Archives: June 2014

What Happens to the Family When One Member Has Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder 2Bipolar disorder is an illness of extremes, but not every person with the condition experiences the same range of extremes. That means that families will also have varying experiences since the illness, by extension, affects every family member. And yet, others who are living in a similar situation can provide
much-needed support.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings that fluctuate from highly energized and positive (mania) to sad and unmotivated (depression). Some, though not all, people with the disorder may become aggressive during mania. On the other hand, depressive episodes may be such that the person feels incapable of meeting responsibilities like going to work, cleaning the house or even taking care of themselves. Obviously, family members in either situation may struggle with feelings of anger toward the person with bipolar when this is the case. But they often feel guilty about their anger too. After all, their loved one has an illness.

Friends and co-workers may not understand what family members are going through and may be at a loss as to what to say. The struggles, embarrassments and guilt can lead families to become increasingly isolated. A bipolar disorder family support group can provide a much-needed social connection where challenges are well understood. Comfort and compassion from other people sharing a similar experience can mean the difference between families that hold together and those that tear at the
seams.

It’s important that the loved one with bipolar disorder gets treatment. Many episodes can be improved through medication, lifestyle adjustments and individual therapy. The illness can be tremendously improved with attention. But nearly as important is the support given to family members who are walking this journey with their loved one. If someone in your family has bipolar disorder, make sure they seek out help. You and other family members deserve some help too, and a family support group is a great place to start. Contact Family Guidance today and see what services they can provide to help every member of the family.

Summer Break When Your Child Has ADHD

About mid-May everyone is ready for a break. Teachers, parents, kids – everyone is feeling the call of spring; away from the classroom and into the outdoors. Summer vacation arrives just in time every year. No more early morning time crunches, no more homework, no more daily grind.

And it is glorious…for a while. But then one day the complaining begins. No one can find anything to do. Everyone is bored. If your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) the absence of structure can be especially challenging. So how can you help your child have a good summer break when they have ADHD? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Put major summer events (like a family trip) on a calendar where your childADHD 9 can see it.

2. Think about planning one fun event per weekend. Remember: a little is good, a lot is overwhelming.

3. Keep some kind of regular schedule. Children with ADHD do best when their environment is predictable. Summer bedtimes may be a bit later, but there should be a set time for heading off to sleep. Lack of sleep can bring on unpleasant symptoms.

4. Avoid letting the TV serve as a summer babysitter.

5. Make the most of organized summer activities such as swim team, tennis lessons or day camp.

6. Set aside some family time every day. It could be each evening after dinner. Take family bike rides, play catch or Frisbee, go on family walks.

7. If your child is an adolescent and old enough, summer employment is a good way to keep them active and well-directed.

The main idea is to provide your child with ADHD some kind of structure during the summer. It doesn’t have to be highly regimented because they should feel as though it is a break, but parameters are helpful. If you are facing challenges because of ADHD Family Guidance is a great resource. Call and talk to a staff member today.

Get the Facts on Mental Illness

Depression 4Mental illness affects millions of Americans and their families. It is a health issue which affects many but which is rarely discussed in public. That is unfortunate because it leaves room for myths and misunderstandings to develop. Here are a few things everyone should know about mental illness.

1. Mental Illness Has Nothing to do with Intelligence
Mental illness is common and it affects people in every sphere of life. It has nothing to do with a lack of intelligence or cleverness. In fact many of the world’s most outstanding figures were people who dealt with mental illness. Michelangelo, Abraham Lincoln and Vivien Leigh are just a few worth mentioning.

2. Mental Illness is Not a Moral Failure
Mental health problems are often biochemically related. That means that genes and biological factors contribute greatly to the illnesses. It also means that mental illness is not a simple matter of moral failure.

3. Mental Illness is Not Always Forever
Many forms of mental illness are temporary. Depression following the death of a loved one or some other traumatic event is frequently a temporary condition. Many more intransigent forms of mental illness can be treated and overcome. For illnesses which are considered chronic, there are ways that a person can learn to manage and cope with the condition so that it does not have be a lifelong limitation.

4. Mental Illness Should be Treated Not Ignored or Hidden
Too many people hesitate to seek out help for mental illness because they are afraid to admit they struggle. Yet would the same person ignore high cholesterol, diabetes or some other significant health concern. Like other forms of illness, mental illness will not simply go away if it is ignored, in fact, it can get worse.

If you are struggling with depression, anxiety or any type of mental health issue, contact the experts at Family Guidance today. The truth is help is available and you can feel better.