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To celebrate Bipolar Awareness Day this Saturday, 26 May 2018, The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) are raising awareness and creating conversations to help fight the stigma against Bipolar Disorder by making use of online resources such as this weeks Facebook Friday Online Chat.

Johannesburg Psychiatrist, Dr Kim Laxton says “Manic Depression has been used as a clinical description of Bipolar and Related Disorders that includes both “poles” of the mood spectrum. These “poles” are depression (low mood, fatigue, sleep changes, ruminate negative thoughts, commonly involving suicidal ideation, appetite and weight changes, low motivation and/or memory and concentration difficulties) and mania (significantly increased energy and goal-directed behaviour, an elevated, irritable, increased thought speed, a decreased need for sleep with or without psychotic symptoms).“

While Bipolar Disorder can seem unpredictable, the symptoms and their impact can be managed with the help of medication, psychotherapy and psychosocial support systems.

Sydney Makhutla, was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder many years ago and as a black man has dealt with stigma. “I’ve also had to learn to manage my Bipolar Disorder by making sure I take my medication and I also joined a support group so I could connect with others who have similar experiences. The fact is when you are sick – you are not alone.”

To learn more about Bipolar Disorder, its symptoms, treatments available, possible relapse triggers, as well as self-help strategies, SADAG is hosting a Facebook Friday online chat on 25 May 2018. Join the expert Q&A 1pm and at 7pm with Psychiatrists on the Facebook page – The South African Depression and Anxiety Group.

For more information or to speak to a counsellor for free telephonic counselling, call SADAG between 8am and 8pm on 0800 70 80 90, open 7 days a week. You can also visit www.sadag.org for information on Bipolar Disorder for coping skills and self-help tips for patients and loved ones.

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