February 16, 2017 • Volume 10, Issue 7 • Subscribe to Hope & Harmony Headlines
Bipolar depression: Sad or mad?
When you’re watching for emerging symptoms of bipolar depression, make sure “irritability” is on the list. You’re just as likely to be unusually crabby, intolerant, and easily annoyed during a depressive episode as to be apathetic or despondent.
More research has been done on irritability in major depressive disorder than in bipolar disorder, but results from both groups indicate that from 40 percent to 60 percent report depressive episodes marked by irritability.
“Irritable depression” (that’s a description, not a diagnostic term) is associated with more severe depressive episodes, more frequently recurring episodes, and co-existing anxiety.
A study published in the International Journal of Bipolar Disorders in December 2016 found that participants with irritable depression also tend to take longer to recover from an episode and had more “unfavorable illness characteristics,” such as higher rates of substance use and more suicidality.
All of which means it’s even more important to take preventive measures when your irritability meter ticks upward.
bp Magazine’s columnist and blogger, Julie Fast uses the terms “weepy depression” and “angry depression” to describe the different ways she can experience bipolar downshifts. Weepy depression comes with what you might call stereotypical symptoms: feeling sad and hopeless, crying a lot, shutting down socially, becoming physically lethargic and having trouble concentrating.
With angry depression, she writes, you feel “pissed off at everyone and everything. Kittens and puppies make you mad.” You focus on the negative, finding “garbage in the gutter when there is a rainbow in the sky.”
More proactive efforts needed to help people quit smoking
December 29, 2016, ST. LOUIS, MO— Many people with serious brain-based disorders want to quit smoking, but their psychiatrists and caseworkers typically don’t offer assistance for smoking cessation, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine and BJC Behavioral Health in St. Louis have found.
American adults with bipolar disorder or another major psychiatric disorder are almost four times more likely to smoke cigarettes as the general population. Laura Jean Bierut, MD, senior author of the new study, said giving up smoking reduces the risk of recurrent depressive episodes. Read more >>
Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse (video)
Substance abuse and bipolar disorder are more complicated combined than either condition alone—but treatment is readily available, and recovery is absolutely possible. Watch Karl’s video blog >>
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community