bipolar

National Depression Screening Day and National Bipolar Awareness Day

As part of Mental Illness Awareness Week, today is both National Depression Screening Day and National Bipolar Awareness Day. It’s all part of a larger effort to raise awareness about the mental conditions that affect the lives of millions of people around the world. So what are the stats on depression?[1] Depression affects as many as ten percent of all people in the United States, an incredible 30 million people One out of four young adults will experience a depressive episode by age 24 10% to 15% of all depressions are triggered by other medical conditions (such as thyroid disease, cancer or neurologic problems) or by medications Here are the facts about bipolar disorder:[2] More than 10 million Americans are living with this condition, which is characterized by extreme mood swings and intense emotional states More than half of patients are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 25 Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally But at PatientsLikeMe, we know that patients aren’t just a statistic, and that facts don’t tell the whole story. Your journey is unique, and this is why more than 15,000 PatientsLikeMe members with depression and more than 4,000 with bipolar disorder are sharing their …

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Life with Bipolar I Disorder: What We’ve Learned

Yesterday, our interview with bipolar blogger Andrea gave you a glimpse into what it’s like to live with bipolar I disorder.  Today we take a deeper look into this mental health condition using the data and experiences shared by our 1,237 bipolar I members. First off, however, you may have heard of something called bipolar II as well, so let’s talk about how bipolar I and II differ.  Bipolar I is a subdiagnosis of bipolar disorder that conforms to the classic concept of manic-depressive illness.  It is characterized by at least one manic or mixed episode, and there may be episodes of hypomania (marked by elevated mood, hyperactivity and grandiosity) and major depression as well.  In contrast, bipolar II disorder – which is slightly more prevalent at PatientsLikeMe with 1,556 patients reporting it – is marked by depressive episodes that are more frequent and more intense than the manic episodes. Now, let’s take a look at the wealth of data found at PatientsLikeMe.  To give you a sense of the makeup of our bipolar I patients, 74% are female, more than 78% have an official bipolar I diagnosis, and approximately 40% report experiencing their first symptom prior to the age …

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Lithium and Lamictal - Patient blogger Andrea

Spotlighted Blogger: Bipolar patient Andrea of “Lithium and Lamictal”

How do we know we’re truly living in a Health 2.0 age?  Recently, we’ve discovered that a number of PatientsLikeMe members have fascinating blogs chronicling what it’s like to live with their respective health conditions. For example, we told you in August about the acclaimed gastroparesis blog “My Broken Stomach,” written by one of our members, Mollee Sullivan, and last month, we spotlighted diabetes patient Michael Burke’s blog “Life on the T List,” which shares his experiences before and after a kidney transplant. As a result of this growing trend, we’ve decided to begin a blog series featuring some of the other amazing bloggers that are part of the PatientsLikeMe community.  To start things off, we’d like to share our interview with Andrea, a three-star member who started a candid blog about life with bipolar I disorder earlier this year called “Lithium and Lamictal.”  (The title refers to the two treatments she’s found that work best for her.)  Tune in below to find out why she began blogging and what she hopes to achieve. 1.  Why did you decide to start blogging about bipolar disorder? I decided to start blogging about bipolar disorder after 21 years of living with this …

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Two Mental Health Videos You Need to See

Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? To help put a face on mental health conditions, which affect one in four American adults, we wanted to share two amazing patient stories. They both created heartfelt videos as part of our PatientsLikeMe “Express Yourself Video Contest,” and we’re proud of what a great job they did. Check out each video to learn what it’s like to live with a mental health condition – including bipolar II disorder and major depression – and how connecting with other patients can help.

Tell the World: Video Contest Update

The countdown is on! There are only two weeks left for our patients to enter the PatientsLikeMe “Express Yourself” Video Contest and have a chance to win one of five American Express gift cards ranging from $150-500. If you haven’t heard, we are asking patients to create a video of three minutes or less that answers the question, “How has PatientsLikeMe changed your life?” If you are thinking of entering the contest but not sure how to express yourself, here are some examples of how patients have answered this question: “PatientsLikeMe is the main reason that I concluded I had been mis-diagnosed depressive, instead of bipolar, and just recently decided to try new medication.” “For years, I had always taken just 10mg of . I was told long ago by my neurologist that “too much Baclofen can cause weak legs.” Then I sign up here, take a peek at what you guys are doing, and find out I don’t take enough Baclofen to deal with my symptoms. Give the neurologist a call, no problem, and [I am] much, much better.” “PatientsLikeMe has changed my life.  This is my outlet.  I shared and poured my heart…and connected with hundreds of people …

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A Year in Review: PatientsLikeMe in 2009

As 2009 comes to an end, we want to take this opportunity to thank all of our members, partners and general fans for another great year.   Here’s a recap of some of the exciting happenings at PatientsLikeMe these past 12 months.  Wishing you all a Happy New Year! Community Milestones This year, the 15+ disease communities at PatientsLikeMe became an online home to more than 50,000 members.   The fibromyalgia community was expanded this past fall to include patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, and we announced a new community scheduled to launch early next year for people with epilepsy.  In addition to celebrating our communities’ awareness days and months within the site and right here on the blog (including Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, MS and PD Awareness Months, National HIV Testing Day and World AIDS Day), many of our members also participated on PatientsLikeMe teams in walk/run efforts to raise awareness and money in the name of their disease.  Congrats to the 40+ teams walking at events to support non-profit organizations like ALS Association, National MS Society, NAMI, Parkinson’s Alliance, APDA, and the MS Society of Canada. The real-time sharing and learning happening on PatientsLikeMe was also highlighted in the report series …

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The Patient Voice – Loud and Clear

We are excited to present the first member video for the PatientsLikeMe Mood community and what better way to kick it off than with one that represents the voice of the patient. In June, we launched The Patient Voice with the inaugural report on inpatient therapy, a topic often discussed by our Mood community members.  At the time of the report, 63% of patients on our site reported an efficacy of “moderate” or “major” for inpatient therapy. Many patients have already benefited from the information in the report, so we decided to create a video that highlights our patient members’ tips and experiences. Check it out on our YouTube or Facebook page, but if you visit the latter don’t forget to become our fan! If you want to know more about patients’ experiences with inpatient therapy, you can download the full report here. It includes even more tips and personal stories, interesting facts about the PatientsLikeMe community and a worksheet that will help you make the most out of your hospital stay. Of course, none of this would have been possible if patients like you were not willing to share. We are always eager to hear what you have to …

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The Patient Voice: Interview with Mountabora (Mood Conditions Community)

Yesterday, we announced a new report called The Patient Voice for Inpatient Therapy, which highlights patients’ top tips for having a positive inpatient therapy experience.  Maureen Oakes, community manager for PatientsLikeMe Mood Conditions Community (for people with depression and other mood conditions), recently interviewed 3-star member, Mountabora, about her experiences with hospitalization.   Here’s what she had to say: (Maureen) You note in your member profile that you have been hospitalized a few times. What were those experiences like? (Mountabora) Being in a psychiatric hospital is kind of like being at summer camp. You’re away from home, living in close quarters with strange people, and participating in structured group activities which may or may not have a purpose. There are a lot of rules, and you lose privileges if you don’t follow them. You have to get up way too early in the morning and eat three meals a day at the cafeteria. There’s a lot of emphasis on learning coping skills, typically through classes and worksheets. There’s also a lot of emphasis on medication; most patients are on at least two or three psychoactive drugs. You go to therapy and you see a psychiatrist, but much more often than you …

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Introducing “The Patient Voice” – First up? Inpatient Therapy

Today’s patient has a loud and strong voice.  At PatientsLikeMe, we hear you.  You’re saying, “I know this disease, I know how it acts in the real-world, and it’s time to share that with others.” With thousands of patients sharing data and experiences every day on our site, we’ve decided to launch a report that takes what you, the patient, knows and shares it with you, the patient community at-large.  For obvious reasons, we’re calling it The Patient Voice. The Patient Voice is a collection of wisdom, sentiments and experiences shared by patients like you regarding important issues you face today.  The reports include PatientsLikeMe member tips, suggested checklists and questions to ask yourself, and real-world patient experiences, as well as some fun facts from about the PatientsLikeMe community. The first report is from our Mood Conditions Community, representing patients with depression, anxiety, bipolar, OCD and PTSD, on the topic of inpatient therapy (or hospitalization).   It’s a topic that comes up quite a bit in our forum, and patients are openly sharing their positive (and negative) experiences with one another.  We’re now sharing some of the positive experiences with you.  Take a look at the free report and let us …

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Annoyed or Impressed By Your Therapist? PatientsLikeMe Mood Members Chime In

In a recent blog post by New York Times’ Tara Parker-Pope, PsychCentral highlights “The 12 Most Annoying Habits of Therapists.”  Launched a year ago this week, our very own Mood community has more than 1,300 patients using “Individual Therapy” as a treatment for their condition.  We asked them to tell us some of the habits they find most annoying and elaborate on the ones outlined by Parker-Pope.  Here’s what they had to say about some of those respect issues: I had a [therapist] fall asleep during the session!  I walked out (without paying of course). My biggest peeve is with therapists who refuse to work in conjunction with my psychiatrist and his diagnosis. I hate it when therapists talk down to me. I’m crazy, not stupid! [Therapists:]  Don’t look at patients as if they’re wacky or as if they’ve just said something wacky.  We are always reading faces and reactions, the last person we need to be judged by is our therapist.  Be mindful of how “tuned in” we are to your body language. I love my current therapist, but…he once took a call in the middle of a session, obviously from a friend or family member (nothing critical), it …

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