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Rollercoaster life

Mood swings are a part of human nature. But when they become volatile or manic, it could mean something more serious. With Bipolar Awareness Day taking place on Tuesday, MOKGADI SEABI finds out what this disorder is all about
FOR most people April27 marks Freedom Day, a day of celebrating South Mrica?s democracy. But tbr Ruth Hill of Johannesburg, it marks the day she lost her mind.
Shortly after 9pm on the past Freedom Day, the fine arts graduate ran out of her parents? home shrieking at everyone that the world was coming to an end.
So convinced was she that Armageddon was coming that her parents had to rush her to the nearest hospital where she was admitted to the psychiatric ward ? and kept there for three months.
After an extensive evaluation, doctors concluded that Hill suffered from bipolar disorder. ?I really believed that it was the end of the world,? says the 28-year-old.
What is bipolar disorder?
According to the Heallh24 website, bipolar disorder is ?a mOod disorder characterised by extreme shifts in mood, energy and functioning?.
Until fairly recently it was known as bi~ polar affective disorder; and before that, manic-depressive illness. The condition was renamed to avoid the stigma attached to the words ?manic? and ?depression?.
When a person has bipolar disorder their mood swings occur disproportionately, or are totaily unrelated to what is going on around them. These mood swings affect their thoughts, feelings, physical health, behaviour and fnnctioning. Bipolar disorder occurs due to a chemical imbalance in the brain and typically develops in late adolescence or early adulthood.
Who is affected?
Bipolar disorder is stifi highly stigmatised and society still expects aU ilhesses ?mental and physical ? to be cured rather than treated. However, this Illness is more common than people realise.
WARNING SIGNS.
Some of the signs and ~symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include: ? Increased energy and restlessness; ? Excessively euphoric mood; ? Extreme irritability; ? Racingthoughtsandtalkingveryfast; ? Little sleep needed: S Poor concentration; ? Spending sprees; ? Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol and sleeping medications; and ? Provocative, aggressive behaviour.
SEETHE MOVIE
TQ HELP raise awareness of bipolar disorder, Medihelp medical scheme will.lat~nch the DVD, Living with Bipolar Disorder, an Tuesday~ .
Afree ~creening of the documentary will take placeon Tuesday at 7pm at the following SterKinekor Cinema Nouveau thea-? tres: Cedar Square (Joburg), Broqklyn (Pretoria), Gateway (Durban) and V&A (Cape Town). Call TicketLine on 082 18789 to reserve tickets. Bookings close at 4pm tomorrow.
Of the 2% of the world population affected over a lifetime, many Hollywood A-listers have come forward to speak about the illness. Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson (who tried to commit;suicide after his break-up with actress Kate Hudson), action movie hero Jean- Claude van Damme, George Michael, Spice Girl Mel C, and many others have spoken about being bipolar in an effort to destigmatise It.
Living with bipolar disorder Says Johannesburg psychiatrist Dr Dora Wynchank: ?A diagnosis of bipolar disorder is frightening and unnerving, and it may take a while to accept and come to terms with your diagnosis.? - A 2007 research report by Reuters states properly controlled by medication, a person can lead a full and productive life.
?Bipolar disorder can be highly intrusive and affect your quality of life severely, much more so if it is untreated. But it is treatable,? says Wynchank.
Hifi, whose onset of bipolar manifested~ in hallucinations while she was a college student, says she is on medication to help regulate her moods.
As for Lephale, she still meets with her psychiatrist every week and takes medication for her treatment.
?At least now I can keep my feelings under control.? Bipolar disorder requires constant treatment usually life-long care.
However, studies have shown that psycho-social interventions can lead to better mood stability, fewer hospitalisations and improved ftmctioning for the individual.
?There are different therapy options for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder but help and support is also available for their family and loved ones,? says Cassey Amoore, a counseffing manager at the SA Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag).
?Living with someone with bipolar is not easy. Bipolar can create stress for the whole family and they need support too.? Friends are also a vital part of the healing process, says Wynchanic.
Support groups also help as they are nonjudgmental places of support, respect and care.
Earlier this month, Sadag and pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca launched a toil-free help line to provide bipolar sufferers with extra support.
?Now we have the opportunity to provide a national toll-free service to people who have been diagnosed bipolar and their loved ones.? ? If you suspect that you or someone you know may be suffering from bipolar disorder log on to www.bipolar.co.za or email them at info~bipolar.co.za.
? The new line wifi be open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week on 0800 708090.
N Comment at lifestyle~citypress.co.za
Mood swings are a part of human nature. But when they become volatile or manic, it could mean something more serious. With Bipolar Awareness Day taking place on Tuesday, MOKGADI SEABI finds out what this disorder is all about
FOR most people April27 marks Freedom Day, a day of celebrating South Mrica?s democracy. But tbr Ruth Hill of Johannesburg, it marks the day she lost her mind.
Shortly after 9pm on the past Freedom Day, the fine arts graduate ran out of her parents? home shrieking at everyone that the world was coming to an end.
So convinced was she that Armageddon was coming that her parents had to rush her to the nearest hospital where she was admitted to the psychiatric ward ? and kept there for three months.
After an extensive evaluation, doctors concluded that Hill suffered from bipolar disorder. ?I really believed that it was the end of the world,? says the 28-year-old.
What is bipolar disorder?
According to the Heallh24 website, bipolar disorder is ?a mOod disorder characterised by extreme shifts in mood, energy and functioning?.
Until fairly recently it was known as bi~ polar affective disorder; and before that, manic-depressive illness. The condition was renamed to avoid the stigma attached to the words ?manic? and ?depression?.
When a person has bipolar disorder their mood swings occur disproportionately, or are totaily unrelated to what is going on around them. These mood swings affect their thoughts, feelings, physical health, behaviour and fnnctioning. Bipolar disorder occurs due to a chemical imbalance in the brain and typically develops in late adolescence or early adulthood.
Who is affected?
Bipolar disorder is stifi highly stigmatised and society still expects aU ilhesses ?mental and physical ? to be cured rather than treated. However, this Illness is more common than people realise.
WARNING SIGNS.
Some of the signs and ~symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include: ? Increased energy and restlessness; ? Excessively euphoric mood; ? Extreme irritability; ? Racingthoughtsandtalkingveryfast; ? Little sleep needed: S Poor concentration; ? Spending sprees; ? Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol and sleeping medications; and ? Provocative, aggressive behaviour.
SEETHE MOVIE
TQ HELP raise awareness of bipolar disorder, Medihelp medical scheme will.lat~nch the DVD, Living with Bipolar Disorder, an Tuesday~ .
Afree ~creening of the documentary will take placeon Tuesday at 7pm at the following SterKinekor Cinema Nouveau thea-? tres: Cedar Square (Joburg), Broqklyn (Pretoria), Gateway (Durban) and V&A (Cape Town). Call TicketLine on 082 18789 to reserve tickets. Bookings close at 4pm tomorrow.
Of the 2% of the world population affected over a lifetime, many Hollywood A-listers have come forward to speak about the illness. Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson (who tried to commit;suicide after his break-up with actress Kate Hudson), action movie hero Jean- Claude van Damme, George Michael, Spice Girl Mel C, and many others have spoken about being bipolar in an effort to destigmatise It.
Living with bipolar disorder Says Johannesburg psychiatrist Dr Dora Wynchank: ?A diagnosis of bipolar disorder is frightening and unnerving, and it may take a while to accept and come to terms with your diagnosis.? - A 2007 research report by Reuters states that ?aduits with bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of committing suicide in their early SOs, usually within seven to 12 years of the onset of the mental illness?.
One such person who tried to take her own life is Precious Lephale, a 22-year-old from Polokwane who lives in Johannesburg. ?After giving birth to my daughter, I became stressed and depressed becaSe T was a single parent and had to raise her on my own. My family is in Polokwane and I had nobody to talk to.? Stress led Lephale to attempt suicide, after which she was admitted to Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital for nine months where she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Can it be treated?
According to Health24, if properly controlled by medication, a person can lead a full and productive life.
?Bipolar disorder can be highly intrusive and affect your quality of life severely, much more so if it is untreated. But it is treatable,? says Wynchank.
Hifi, whose onset of bipolar manifested~ in hallucinations while she was a college student, says she is on medication to help regulate her moods.
As for Lephale, she still meets with her psychiatrist every week and takes medication for her treatment.
?At least now I can keep my feelings under control.? Bipolar disorder requires constant treatment usually life-long care.
However, studies have shown that psycho-social interventions can lead to better mood stability, fewer hospitalisations and improved ftmctioning for the individual.
?There are different therapy options for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder but help and support is also available for their family and loved ones,? says Cassey Amoore, a counseffing manager at the SA Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag).
?Living with someone with bipolar is not easy. Bipolar can create stress for the whole family and they need support too.? Friends are also a vital part of the healing process, says Wynchanic.
Support groups also help as they are nonjudgmental places of support, respect and care.
Earlier this month, Sadag and pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca launched a toil-free help line to provide bipolar sufferers with extra support.
?Now we have the opportunity to provide a national toll-free service to people who have been diagnosed bipolar and their loved ones.? ? If you suspect that you or someone you know may be suffering from bipolar disorder log on to www.bipolar.co.za or email them at info~bipolar.co.za.
? The new line wifi be open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week on 0800 708090.
N Comment at lifestyle~citypress.co.za
HEAVEN AND HELL. . . People who suffer from bipolar thsorder suffer massive mood swings Graphic: Mxolosi Myaka

 

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