Nov
2014

(How to) Track Your Mood in Bipolar Disorder ~ Guest Blog

(How to) Track Your Mood in Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is considered an affective disorder or “mood” disorder and consists of extremely depressed moods, known as depressions, and extremely elevated moods, known as manias or hypomanias. However, it is not always easy to identify the specifics of each mood and, indeed, there are even mixed moods in bipolar disorder where depressed and manic or hypomanic symptoms appear at the same time. For this reason, tracking your mood on a daily basis can help manage bipolar moods and even predict future relapses.

1. Choose a way to track your mood.

Mood tracking can be done on your phone, on the computer or even by a paper and pencil. Examples of mood tracking websites include:

· The Mood Journal from HealthyPlace.com
· Mood and medication charting from MoodTracker.com
· Track your Mood from MedHelp
· Moodscope from MoodScope.com, which also integrates sharing your mood with others

There are also quite a few mood trackers available for your phone. Examples include:

· Mood Panda – by Mood Panda, available on Android, iPhone and the desktop
· eMoods – by eMoodTracker.com, available on Android
· Mood 24/7 – by Remedy Mental Health, sends text messages to you asking about your mood
· T2 Mood Tracker – by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, available on Android and iPhone

Pen and paper mood trackers include examples like:

· A printable mood tracker is available by The Center for Quality Assessment and Improvement in Mental Health.
· A medication, lifestyle and mood chart is available by the Depression, Bipolar Support Alliance
· A bipolar mood scale and a bipolar mood diary are available from Bipolar UK.

The type of mood tracking you choose will be based on what you have available (such as a computer) and what system tracks the parts of your mood that you’re interested in (see below).

2. Choose what parts of your mood you want to track.

Obviously, you want to track your mood, but moods can be tracked in various ways. For example, you could simply rate your mood 1-10, where one is the worst mood and 10 is the best. However, this isn’t a very granular approach. A better way to track your mood is to track components of a mood. For example, you might want to track:

· Anger/irritation
· Happiness
· Sadness
· Ability to feel pleasure
· Anxiety
· Self-esteem
· Loneliness
· Hopefulness
· Distractedness
· Stress level

3. Choose other lifestyle factors to track.

The power of mood tracking is being able to see patterns in your moods based on what is going on around you. In other to make this work, you need to record the events and factors in your life that may affect your mood, such as:

· Unsafe behaviors
· Drinking/drug use
· Amount of sleep
· Quality of diet
· Exercise
· Medication
· Therapy
· Social interaction

4. Customize the mood tracker to track anything that’s missing.

Most mood trackers will only track part of what you want to know but many can be customized. Customize the mood tracker to track everything in which you are interested.

5. Set an alarm to remind you to track your mood each day.

Mood trackers can’t work if you don’t use them. Use an alarm to help remind you to fill them in.

6. Track your mood.

Track your mood for at least 1-6 months to see patterns.

7. Use graphs, charts and reviewing of the tracked data to find patterns.

Most mood trackers output your information in charts and graphs. Use these tools to look for patterns in your mood and what was happening at the time of that mood switch.

8. Share this information with your doctor and/or therapist.

This information can help you manage your own symptoms but it can also give your healthcare professionals insight into your illness that can help them manage treatment more effectively.

Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and mental health advocate from British Columbia, Canada. She contributes her content to Canadian Pharmacy King and elsewhere on bipolar disorder and other mental health issues. http://www.canadianpharmacyking.com

Mood Tracking

Sep
2014

Free Book: The BEST of the Bipolar Friend Blog

Yes, this book is free, but you must do a favor first!

I have many sales and not many ratings/comments on the numerous sites where I sell my full genre of books. So I am making a plea bargain! Please rate and comment on 3 of my books….by comment I mean leave a descriptive sentence or two in the feedback. “Great book” or “Wonderful” won’t cut it. Just read the intro and be creative and positive and generous with your feedback. :)

Please comment on ANY 3 books that I write. After you are done copy the link to all 3 comments and send it to this email address: reachme@pattyann.net with FREE BOOK in the subject line. Be sure to provide your exact email for where to send the PDF book. If you are wondering where my ebookstores are located refer to the locations listed at http://PattyAnn.net.

Also, while you are at it, please be my follower on both my stores at TeachersPayTeachers and Etsy. Just hit the FOLLOW key.

Thank you in advance for your support! Here is a cover shot of the book:

Best of Bipolar Friend Blog

Sep
2014

Fall for Change of Seasons

Fall is upon us coming swiftly as the wind. Be aware that season changes can mean extra (or less) stress in your life. Fall is a time to organize, and prepare for the upcoming winter. And, winter can equal many things including holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas can be doubly stressful for those who suffer with anxiety, bipolar, depression and other life dynamics that pose a challenge.

Being aware is the first step toward coping. If you know your patterns, especially around holidays, take steps now to alleviate worry and hardship. Holidays are not pleasant for all families. Special events can trigger depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and mania events. Here are some coping ideas:

~ Check in now with your doctor about your medication management;
~ Know the triggers that set you off;
~ Stay balanced > eat well and exercise;
~ Pet an animal for comfort and relaxation;
~ Stay away from the bombardment of media;
~ Take walks in nature to soothe yourself;
~ Ask for help from others if you feel yourself slipping.

Happy Fall Everyone!

Aug
2014

A Bit of a Break

Hello Everyone,

I confess I’ve been distracted this summer. Many-too many passages, monumental ones. Therefore I have not written on this blog. With the little time that I have had, I have been busy writing for my other site http://PattyAnn.net so go and check out new upcoming books!

Time off is good. Try it! Don’t be bashful about care taking yourself.
YOU deserve it.

I am not sure when I’ll return to blog here. Just keep posted.

Guest posts are welcome if anyone wants to contribute.

Thanks everyone!

May
2014

Guest Post > Is Intelligence Linked to Bipolar?

Today’s post comes via a guest post from Slayton Jacob. Guest posts of instructional nature are always welcome!

What is Bipolar Disorder?

-Bipolar disorder is an illness whose symptom is changing moods, between elation and depression. -Typically, as the emotional level of the subject changes from low to high, there is increased activity in the brain’s frontal lobe. This part of the mind is known for controlling creativity. -Scientists suspect that one gene, known as DARPP-32 creates the link between mental illness and intelligence. -This link between different intelligence levels and bipolar, with regard to the research done by scientists is explained below.

Studies Done on Bipolar Disorder
-By 2012, approximately 30 scientific studies that found links between mental illness and creativity were done. These studies may have an effect on the way mental illness and in particular bipolar disorder is understood and treated. -In one study, researchers found that the smartest Swedish students were four times more likely to develop bipolar disorder. In another study, the intelligence of an excess of a million Swedish men was assessed in the course of their military conscription. -The parameters considered included spatial, verbal, logical and technical subsets. The results showed a strong relationship between high intelligence and bipolar disorder in the next 23 years. -On the other hand, when the research was restricted to males suffering from bipolar disorder and mood disorder, the relationship between being admitted for bipolar disorder as well as low and high intelligence levels was significant. Researchers are still searching for explanations for these conflicting results.

The Relationship Linking Bipolar to Low Intelligence
-In an interview with Psychiatric News, Catherine Gale, Ph.D. noted that both subjective and historical reports linked high intelligence and creativeness with bipolar. -In the case of the relationship between low intelligence levels and bipolar disorder, she said that many research studies have found that lower intelligence can be associated with a high risk of developing numerous mental disorders. -Therefore, the finding that lower intelligence levels can be associated with a high risk of developing bipolar disorder was in order.

Low and High Verbal and Technical Ability and its Effect on Bipolar
-When Gale together with other researchers studied the link between results on the IQ subsets and bipolar disorder, they discovered that both low and high verbal ability as well as varying technical ability, although to a lower extent, were linked with a heightened risk of developing bipolar disorder. -However, there was no risk in males with varying rational abilities. This was a surprise for the researchers since it is common for individuals who excel in one subset to perform well in others. -Despite the advantages of bipolar disorder, such as an overflow in productive and creative thinking, there is a downside. Sufferers of the condition may end up abusing substances and drugs, and in extreme cases, commit suicide.

Insuring Your Mental Health
-The European Health Insurance Card or EHIC allows a person to access health services at a reduced charge or for free. It covers the needed treatment in order to allow a person continue their stay in the country until their return time arrives. -It is critical that immigrants to European countries get an EHIC to give them travel insurance for their healthcare in case they get a mental illness such as bipolar disorder.

Apr
2014

NEW BOOK ! The Best of the Bipolar Friend BLOG ~ A Comprehensive Bipolar Guidebook from A to Z‏

Suicide, stigmas, symptoms, relationships, dating, caregivers, communication, medication management, health and well being, creativity, healing tips, spirituality, and finding peace are all important concerns in a bipolar person’s life. This book is a must read for anyone new to- or well acquainted with bipolar. For caregivers, relatives, and friends associated with bipolar kin, this guidebook provides insights, education, and coping strategies that really help.

All the popular blog topics from BipolarFriend.com have been categorically organized and enhanced into a comprehensive, informational book. The format is for easy pick up reading, but you may find these exclusive subjects hard to put down.

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Best of the Bipolar Friend Blogh1

Apr
2014

Heal Your Environment, Heal Yourself

There are three primary triggers for bipolar DNA to engage and alter our body chemistry. First, we must inherit the bipolar genes. Second, bipolar onsets are enabled by hormones changes, or other body chemistry upsets. Third, the stresses in our environment can and will trigger bipolar mood swings.

Environmental stress in today’s society is a given. No one is without pressure. Jobs, families, social situations, health and money conditions present stress to our body. Eliminate the stresses and you will alleviate bipolar symptoms. This is much easier said than done.

Recognizing stress to our bodies AND recognizing the source can be difficult because as humans we get conditioned to our environment. We fall into habits, routines, and patterns that can create discomfort to our lives. By choice and circumstance we allow ourselves to become entrenched in the dynamics of a social dance inside our relationships. Unhealthy relationships are caustic to us bipolar folks.

Most people with bipolar are typically hyper sensitive to their environments. When social situations pit you against your intuition and better judgment it causes stress. An unhealthy relationship can be one that stagnates growth and awareness; one that is void of empathy and understanding; one that triangulates you against others; or one that uses a bipolar diagnosis against you. Relationship challenges come in all shapes and sizes. If the paradigm becomes crippling to you, your health, and your bipolar is in constant turmoil, it maybe time for a complete change.

Only you knows whats good for your health. Taking a good long look at uncomfortable patterns and how these shape your bipolar mood swings is the first step towards awareness. Next, if you have taken action to heal or change your partnership with another and these attempts have failed, a reassessment is in order.

Healing relationships starts with you. There are a number of ways to good health for your body and your mind. Counseling, mediation, honest reciprocal communication, along with healthy eating habits and exercise all help heal. But, if the stress is unending, you will need to take the initiative to step away.

Environments can help cure, or they can kill. Make your choice a conscious one.

Patty Ann from PattyAnn.net
Where Big & Little Lessons are Learned Inside Every Patty Ann Book!