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General Statistics

 

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

  • Bipolar disorder is more likely to affect the children of parents who have the disorder. When one parent has bipolar disorder, the risk to each child is l5 to 30%. When both parents have bipolar disorder, the risk increases to 50 to 75%. (National Institute of Mental Health)

  • Bipolar Disorder may be at least as common among youth as among adults. In a recent NIMH study, one percent of adolescents ages 14 to 18 were found to have met criteria for bipolar disorder or cyclothymia in their lifetime. (National Institute of Mental Health)

  • Some 20% of adolescents with major depression develop bipolar disorder within five years of the onset of depression. (Birmaher, B., “Childhood and Adolescent Depression: A Review of the Past 10 Years.” Part I, 1995)

  • Up to one-third of the 3.4 million children and adolescents with depression in the United States may actually be experiencing the early onset of bipolar disorder. (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 1997)

  • When manic, children and adolescents, in contrast to adults, are more likely to be irritable and prone to destructive outbursts than to be elated or euphoric. When depressed, there may be many physical complaints such as headaches, and stomachaches or tiredness; poor performance in school, irritability, social isolation, and extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure. (National Institute of Mental Health).

Tell Me About Bipolar Disorder

ARTICLES ABOUT BIPOLAR DISORDER

I Don’t Trust You … Because I Don’t Trust Myself

"With my unpredictable moods, I never felt secure. I was pushing too hard to be heard or pushing people away—until I learned to challenge my mistaken core belief."

What It’s Like To Go Through A Depressive Episode When You Have Bipolar Disorder

"It’s been about a decade since I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder — bipolar II to be exact — a type of mental illness characterized by cycling between mania and depression. And yet the arrival of a cycle still manages to catch me off guard. The sudden onset of a new depressive cycle forces me to scramble into what I call “survival mode.” It's a state of mind I use to protect myself, to disassociate from the negative energy trying to consume me. While using breathing techniques, I imagine I am somewhere else, somewhere quiet. I constantly repeat to myself, “Survive today. Tomorrow will be different.”"

‘I just thought I was broken’: How UT student copes with bipolar diagnosis

"“I just thought I was broken. I just thought there was something wrong,” said Garza, an advertising junior. “It was just so relieving to finally feel like … my life doesn’t have to be like this forever’... I can be, quote unquote, normal.”

Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness characterized by extreme highs and lows in mood behavior known as episodes of mania or depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. These periods can last weeks, months or even years at a time."

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THE CHEMISTRY

BEHIND

BIPOLAR DISORDER

The brain uses a number of chemicals as messengers to communicate with other parts of the brain and nervous system. These chemical messengers, known as neurotransmitters, are essential to all of the brain's functions. Since they are messengers, they typically come from one place and go to another to deliver their messages. Where one neuron or nerve cell ends, another one begins. In between two linked neurons is a tiny space or gap called a synapse. In a simple scenario, one cell sends a neurotransmitter message across this synaptic junction and the next cell receives the signal by catching the messenger chemical as it floats across the synapse in a receptor structure. The receiving neuron's capture of the neurotransmitter chemicals alerts it that a message has been sent, and this neuron in turn sends a new message off to additional neurons that it is connected to, and so on down the line.

Importantly, neurons cannot communicate with each other except by means of this synaptic chemical message. The brain would cease to function in an instant if chemical messengers were somehow removed. By providing a mechanism for allowing neurons to communicate with one another, neurotransmitters literally enable the brain to function. There are millions and millions of individual synapses in the brain. The neurotransmitter traffic and activity occurring inside those synapses is constant and complicated.

There are many different kinds of neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain. The neurotransmitters that are implicated in bipolar illness include dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, GABA (gamma-aminobutyrate), glutamate, and acetylcholine. Researchers also suspect that another class of neurotransmitter chemicals known as neuropeptides (including endorphins, somatostatin, vasopressin, and oxytocin) play an important role in both normal and bipolar brains.

Measuring neurotransmitters, their chemical variants, locations, and their effects constitute a large area of study in bipolar research. It is known that these chemicals are in some way unbalanced in the bipolar brain compared to normal brain. For example, GABA is observed to be lower in the blood and spinal fluid of bipolar patients, while oxytocin-active neurons are increased in bipolar patients, but the relevancy of these findings to overall brain functioning in bipolar and normal individuals is not yet understood. Whether the presence, absence, or change in these chemicals is a cause or outcome of bipolar disorder remains to be determined, but the importance of neurochemicals in creating bipolar disease is indisputable.

HOW DOES TREATMENT HELP?

Discover ADD/ADHD

month of march 

What is ADHD/ADD? 

 

According to the WebMD

ADHD is a chronic condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity. ADHD begins in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. As many as 2 out of every 3 children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as adults.

General Statistics

 

ADDITUDE: Inside the ADHD Mind

  • In its 2016 study, the CDC found that 3.3 million adolescents ages 12-17 have ever been diagnosed with ADHD.

  • Teens drivers diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to be in a traffic accident, be issued traffic and moving violations, and engage in risky driving behaviors.14

  • Up to 27 percent of adolescents with substance abuse disorder have comorbid ADHD.15

  • Adolescents with ADHD clash with their parents about more issues than do adolescents without ADHD.16

  • Male high-school students with ADHD are more likely to experience problems with attendance, GPA, homework, and more. Male teens with ADHD miss school 3 to 10 percent of the time; are between 2.7 and 8.1 times more likely to drop out of high school; fail 7.5 percent of their courses; and have GPAs five to nine points lower than those of male teens without ADHD.17

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD) - causes, symptoms & pathology

ARTICLES ABOUT ADHD / ADD

When I Found the Courage to Seek Accommodations as a University Student With ADHD

"Undergraduate school was hectic with ADHD, as was community college. I am now a graduate student working on two master’s degrees and I finally had the courage to ask for disability accommodations after being turned down at the community college level when I was seeking my associate’s degree.

My fear that I would be turned down for accommodations once I was studying for my bachelor’s degree cost me the ability to graduate with honors. I finished my undergraduate degree with a 3.5 GPA but honors is 3.67 or higher. I fought daily in undergraduate school to focus on my assignments with my ADHD interfering with many of my planned times to do assignments. I still refused to ask for the accommodations I needed so badly."

What ‘Attention’ Is Really Like With ADHD

"Growing up in school, I rarely raised my hand to answer a question. For some reason, everyone seemed to know the right answer but me. My brain would always come up with a correct answer, but it was usually not the answer the teacher was looking for. On the rare occasion when I did raise my hand, the teacher would hear my answer and reply, “I never looked at it that way,” or “that wasn’t the answer I was looking for.” I wasn’t wrong, but I wasn’t right either. No one else seemed to have as much trouble figuring out the right answer, and at the time I found that frustrating and discouraging.

I noticed it happening in conversations as well. I would hear my friends talking about something, so I would bring up a topic that was related. They would all look at me confused because they didn’t see the connection between topics and thought I was just bringing up some random topic for no reason. I would try to explain the connection to my friends on occasion, and we would always end up laughing about how obscure the connection would actually be when I stopped to think about it.

For reasons I did not understand yet, I was an out of the box thinker, whether I wanted to be or not. I learned how to embrace that part of me as best I could, and while I would have preferred to fit in with everyone, I grew adjusted to being “different” and made the best of it."

10 Study Tips for the Student With ADHD

"In high school, I was a D-student. I wasn’t unintelligent, quite the opposite, actually. Many of my teachers told me I was a joy to have in class discussions and once they explained the material in class, I had some pretty great contributions. So, why the low marks? Whenever I had to sit down and study, I would short-circuit. I just couldn’t manage to get through the homework. It drove my family bananas! They knew I could do better! I remember one particular evening my father offered me, I kid you not, $100 to read two chapters of a book due the next day and write the accompanying summaries, and I just couldn’t get through it. Tension headaches, not enough stimulation and low frustration tolerance all added up to me doing the exact amount of work I needed to finish high school in four years and not a single bit more.

When I got to college, however, I went to therapy, I did research on my own, I read books on attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and I tried and failed and learned until I finally discovered a method of studying that worked for me. I went from high school to the first college that would take me, and I was miserable there. But once I figured out how my brain worked, I left, did a year at community college and transferred to a top 100 university!"

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THE CHEMISTRY

BEHIND

ADHD / ADD

How Neurotransmitters Work In ADHD Brains

Before I tell you about these special brain chemicals, let me explain a bit about brain anatomy.

There are millions of cells, or neurons, densely packed into various regions of the brain. Each region is responsible for a particular function. Some regions interact with our outside world, interpreting vision, hearing, and other sensory inputs to help us figure out what to do and say. Other regions interact with our internal world — our body — in order to regulate the function of our organs.

For the various regions to do their jobs, they must be linked to one another with extensive “wiring.” Of course, there aren’t really wires in the brain. Rather, there are myriad “pathways,” or neural circuits, that carry information from one brain region to another.

Information is transmitted along these pathways via the action of neurotransmitters (scientists have identified 50 different ones, and there may be as many as 200). Each neuron produces tiny quantities of a specific neurotransmitter, which is released into the microscopic space that exists between neurons (called a synapse), stimulating the next cell in the pathway — and no others.

How does a specific neurotransmitter know precisely which neuron to attach to, when there are so many other neurons nearby? Each neurotransmitter has a unique molecular structure — a “key,” if you will — that is able to attach only to a neuron with the corresponding receptor site, or “lock.” When the key finds the neuron bearing the right lock, the neurotransmitter binds to and stimulates that neuron.

[Self-Test: Could You Have a Working Memory Deficit?]

Neurotransmitter Deficiencies In ADHD Brains

Brain scientists have found that deficiencies in specific neurotransmitters underlie many common disorders, including anxiety, mood disorders, anger-control problems, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

ADHD was the first disorder found to be the result of a deficiency of a specific neurotransmitter — in this case, norepinephrine — and the first disorder found to respond to medications to correct this underlying deficiency. Like all neurotransmitters, norepinephrine is synthesized within the brain. The basic building block of each norepinephrine molecule is dopa; this tiny molecule is converted into dopamine, which, in turn, is converted into norepinephrine.

A Four-Way Partnership

ADHD seems to involve impaired neurotransmitter activity in four functional regions of the brain:

  • Frontal cortex. This region orchestrates high-level functioning: maintaining attention, organization, and executive function. A deficiency of norepinephrine within this brain region might cause inattention, problems with organization, and/or impaired executive functioning.

  • Limbic system. This region, located deeper in the brain, regulates our emotions. A deficiency in this region might result in restlessness, inattention, or emotional volatility.

  • Basal ganglia. These neural circuits regulate communication within the brain. Information from all regions of the brain enters the basal ganglia, and is then relayed to the correct sites in the brain. A deficiency in the basal ganglia can cause information to “short-circuit,” resulting in inattention or impulsivity.

  • Reticular activating system. This is the major relay system among the many pathways that enter and leave the brain. A deficiency in the RAS can cause inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity.

These four regions interact with one another, so a deficiency in one region may cause a problem in one or more of the other regions. ADHD may be the result of problems in one or more of these regions.

HOW DOES TREATMENT HELP?

The symptoms of ADHD (also known as ADD) don’t just impact learning. They can also create difficulties in everyday life with friends and family.

So how is ADHD treated? There are a number of treatments available for ADHD, in addition to medication. Some kids respond best to one kind of treatment. Other kids may do best with a different treatment or combination of treatments. Together with your child’s doctor, you can come up with an ADHD treatment plan that’s tailored to meet your child’s needs.

ADHD Medication

For many kids, medication is key to ADHD management. Experts largely agree that it’s the most effective form of treatment for most kids with ADHD. Medication works well for around 80 percent of the kids who take it, if the type and dosage is carefully tailored to them. But medication may not be right for all kids and families.

There are two main types of medication for ADHD: stimulant and non-stimulant. They work in different ways in the brain to help control ADHD’s key symptoms.

For some kids, ADHD medications can have side effects. These usually go away after a few days. If not, the prescriber will probably suggest trying a different medication to see if that will work better. Or she might recommend changing from a stimulant to a non-stimulant, or vice versa.

It’s fairly common for kids with ADHD to also have anxiety or