What should I do if I need help?
Contact Centerstone to talk with a therapist about bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other serious behavioral problems and how we can help.
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes a change in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. It’s different from the ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar can include extreme lows (depression) and extreme highs (mania).
Symptoms of bipolar disorder
When someone experiences the low, or depression, of bipolar disorder, he or she can feel sad and hopeless and lose interest in activities. Symptoms include:
- having a long period of feeling worried, empty or sad
- feeling tired or sluggish
- having problems concentrating, remembering or making decisions
- being restless or irritable
- loss of interest in activities
- suicidal thoughts or behaviors
When someone experiences the high, or mania, of bipolar disorder, he or she may feel a great amount of happiness and full of energy. Symptoms include:
- having a long period of feeling “high,” overly happy or outgoing
- feeling irritable, jumpy or wired
- talking fast
- being easily distracted and restless
- sleeping little
- taking on new projects with extreme optimism
Treatment for bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder often develops in a person’s late teens or early adult years. It is treatable, and people with the illness can lead full and healthy lives. However, like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person’s life.
A treatment plan to help maintain the disorder usually includes medication to control mood swings and symptoms. Psychotherapy, group therapy and peer support can also be helpful in treating the disorder.
What is oppositional defiant disorder?
Even the best behaved children can be difficult and challenging at times, but if your child has a persistent pattern of tantrums, arguing and angry or disruptive behaviors, he or she may have what is called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).
ODD is a childhood condition characterized by repeated disobedient, negative and defiant behavior toward caregivers and peers. In most cases these behaviors are present by age eight, though they can emerge as late as adolescence.
Symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder
If your child experiences four or more of the following symptoms for at least six months, it might be a good idea to have them evaluated for ODD.
- refusing to obey adults’ requests or rules
- actively going against adults’ requests or rules
- often losing temper or arguing with adults
- annoying other people on purpose, yet easily annoyed by others
- showing anger and resentfulness
Treatment for ODD
To greatly reduce problem behaviors, parents can learn a wide variety of skills, some of which are listed below.
- learn the best ways to monitor, praise, discipline and communicate with children
- give suggestions on prevention of common problems
- learn how to improve the quality of the parent-child relationship
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a continuous, severe brain disorder. It is believed to result from both environmental and genetic factors, but the cause is yet unknown. Symptoms of schizophrenia often impact a person’s ability to lead a normal life and earn a living. Most symptoms appear between an individual’s late teens and early 30s.
Symptoms of schizophrenia
If you have four or more of the symptoms below for more than a month with no physical cause, you might consider being evaluated by a mental health professional.
- hallucinations: hearing voices others don’t hear; seeing people or objects that others don’t see
- delusions or false personal beliefs: envisioning self as famous or believing others control your thoughts
- paranoia: believing others are cheating, harassing, poisoning, spying upon or plotting against you
- disorganized thoughts: an inability to plan, organize or logically connect thoughts
- poor comprehension: an inability to take in and understand information or make decisions
- difficulty paying attention or using recently collected information
- speaking infrequently, even when forced to interact
- lack of facial or vocal expression
- having involuntary, clumsy or uncoordinated movements
- repetitious movement or unresponsive and/or immobile
- lack of self care: neglecting basic hygiene such as bathing, brushing teeth or requiring help to complete everyday activities
Treatment of schizophrenia
Typically, schizophrenia is treated with medications that help ease symptoms and improve the quality of a person’s life. People with schizophrenia should work with their doctor to find the best medication for them.
Treatments that help with coping skills are often used to help with symptoms such as difficulty communicating, maintaining relationships, staying motivated, hygiene and home care or employment. It also helps in maintaining a medication schedule with fewer hospitalizations. A positive relationship with a therapist or case manager provides a reliable source for information, sympathy, encouragement and hope – all of which are essential for managing schizophrenia.