Is Therapy the Right Choice for Your Child?

Parenting is one of the most challenging things an adult will ever do. There are so many things that you need to do to help your child be the best that they can be. As a parent, your responsibilities range from teaching them to dress, bathe, and care for themselves to teaching them how to interact with peers, respect others, and follow rules. Additionally, parents are supposed to help their children develop motor skills, language skills, reading skills, as well as everything else they are learning at school. It can be so overwhelming just thinking about all the ways your child needs you. This can be especially difficult if your child has a special need or is naturally delayed in one or more areas of development. As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to make sure your child succeeds. Sometimes, this means seeking the help of a Fairfield, CT therapist who has been educated in helping children with these specific delays. What kind of things can therapies help your child with? Though there are many different kinds of therapies, they can be divided into two main categories: those that help with physical needs and those that help with emotional or psychological needs.

Physical Therapies

There are many different types of physical needs or developmental delays your child might be experiencing and there are thus several different therapy options. Although all children develop at different rates, infants and children who have significant delays in their physical development needs therapy as early as possible to avoid further delays. Physical/occupational therapy can help your child develop fine/gross motor skills, motor planning, and visual-motor integration. Additionally, speech-language pathologists are certified to help your child correct problems with language disorders, fluency, and oral-motor/swallowing issues. Nutritional issues are becoming more and more common in the US. If your child has nutritional deficiencies or is overweight or obese, nutritional counseling is available to help teach you and your child how to create a balanced diet. Finally, there are children who are also affected by genetic syndromes. In these cases, there are teams of developmental behaviorists who can help your child develop needed social and interaction skills.

Emotional/Psychological Therapies

There are also emotional or psychological issues that children suffer from. Children who are unable to communicate effectively and/or have issues with emotional/behavioral control would benefit greatly from working with an executive functions coach. These coaches are trained to teach children how a set of mental actions to perform as a means to dealing with situations that are challenging to them. This includes controlling emotions and behavior, setting goals, completing tasks, memory, planning, organizing, self-monitoring, shifting attention, and inhibition. Additionally, Psychotherapists are trained to help children work through their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. They can help children learn to deal with situations that are challenging to them. Psychotherapists are also trained to treat health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. Some disorders such as ADHD have treatment plans that are controversial. Fairfield, CT therapists can help individualize a therapy plan for your child if he or she suffers from ADHD. As ADHD can create other learning disabilities and anxiety disorder if not treated correctly, most therapists are careful to create a treatment plan specific to each child. These plans can include a combination of medication, coaching, counseling, and behavior modification.

The Benefits Of Alcohol Rehabilitation Center

Alcohol addiction is a problem that affects millions of people worldwide. Its impacts are seen throughout a number of families and communities. The worst thing about alcohol addiction is that it not only destroys families and cause financial ruin, but it can also result in premature death. People have lost their jobs, relationships, and even their lives due to alcohol dependency. One of the best recommendations for people who want to address their addiction is to enroll into an alcohol rehabilitation center as this can yield the most positive results. Here are some of the benefits associated with an alcohol rehabilitation center.

Help in Recovery

The primary goal of alcohol rehab facility is to help an addict overcome alcohol dependency and instill proper change in his conduct that will aid him fight conditions that provoke him to ingest alcohol. It’s the expert team of physicians and counselors at the facility that help the patient in his fight against alcoholism. Therefore, enrolling your loved one suffering from alcoholism is the best thing you can do to help them.

They Offer Support

Alcohol rehabilitation center check alcohol addiction rate of an addict and accordingly begin with the recovery treatment process. They help patient in preventing their alcohol dependency. Addicts get various treatment programs based on their level of addiction. There are two used treatment programs for the recovery of individuals suffering from the alcohol dependency. They include inpatient and outpatient programs. The only disparity between the two programs is with regards to where the patient will live during the recovery process.

Guidance and Supervision

These rehab centers offer a new approach to life. Many of them have intact staff, skilled, qualified and experienced in dealing with people who are suffering from addiction. The psychological as well as other health complexities of alcohol addiction are treated. These centers treat addicts in well-organized surroundings designed particularly for effective recovery. They provide proper treatment services to all groups of people: kids, youth and adults. The positive ambiance created by these facilities can have a positive outcome on the addict’s well-being.

A Variety of Programs

There are many programs offered by these facilities. These programs can restore the addict’s psychological normalcy and ensure the best attainable treatment. Also, some programs include residential programs, aftercare relapse prevention, and outpatient and inpatient treatment program. One of the most effective treatments is a three-step program which consists of alcohol detoxification, intervention, and rehab process.

Top Quality Services

The staffs at these centers are well trained and experienced to ensure they are giving patients, not just the best physical care, but also psychological care. Experienced therapists are always available for the addicts. Also, fellow alcoholics make for the sense of community of like-minded individuals who are all sharing similar struggle. Being gathered in one room promotes a sense of family as well as support that is vital for sobriety.

These facilities have the best intentions for people who want to recover from addictions. Regardless of how long an individual has been struggling with alcohol dependence, there is hope that they can recover. No condition is too dark and dire that one can’t turn his/her life around and live a healthy and fruitful life.

Featured images:

John Veron likes writing about healthcare, addictions and psychology. He considers The Cabin Chiang Mai as one of the best rehabs in the world.

Vince Li, an ex. schizophrenic, talking about murdering an alien (except it wasn’t alien but a man)

“I began to hear voices that normal people do not hear. I thought I heard the voice of God telling me to write down my journey. The voice told me that I was the third story of the Bible. That I was like the second coming of Jesus. I was to save people from a space alien attack. That is why I traveled around the country. I am not sure of all the places I went to. I now know that it was schizophrenia I was suffering from.”

As you can see, schizophrenia can be pretty nasty. Tim McLean found it the hard way. Read the whole interview with Vince Li here.


9 most important scientific findings about ADHD in 2012.

The area of mental health is pretty dinamic and ever-changing field, where new informations and insights are gained every day and old assumptions pretty easy turn into no more then a myth. To keep you up to date, I decided to compile the most important findings on ADHD in the year 2012. I tried to keep it simple for everybody to understand regardless of educational background, and if you want to know more the are links on every study cited in the article. This is the first review I made and I plan to make a whole series of reviewing posts about most important scientific discoveries in 2012. In the next few days I’ll cover topics of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and more, so don’t forget to check it out. I hope we all learn something from this.

1.    Toward Systems Neuroscience of ADHD: A Meta-Analysis of 55 fMRI Studies

The earlier model of ADHD pathopsychology were focused solely on prefrontal-striatal circuits but this study significantly extends these models. As this review found, ADHD is related to much broader range of dysfunctions than previously thought and includes dysfunction in multiple neuronal systems involved in higher-level cognitive functions, sensorimotor processes and visual systems. In ADHD children,frontoparietal network involved in executive functioning and ventral attentional network involved in attention were under-activated, while somatomotor networks were hyperactivated in comparison with non-ADHD children. In adults, ADHD-related hypoactivation was predominant in the frontoparietal system, while ADHD-related hyperactivation was present in the visual, dorsal attention, and default networks.

TL;DR: ADHD severely alters your brain circuits, and not only behind your forehead as previously thought, but  all around the lobe: your high cognitive functions, attention, motor and visual systems are all affected.

2.    A review of fronto-striatal and fronto-cortical brain abnormalities in children and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and new evidence for dysfunction in adults with ADHD during motivation and attention

An increasing number of studies suggests that structural and functional abnormalities, such as those in study 1 here,persist into adulthood despite a relative symptomatic improvement in the adult form of the disorder. This research presents new data that support this ADHD-persistance hypothesis. Researchers followed young adults with ADHD for 20 years, since their childhood and the results are dysfunctions in lateral fronto-striatoparietal regions, as well as in ventromedial orbitofrontal regions during reward, suggesting dysfunctions in cognitive-attentional as well as motivational neural networks. The authors conclude that their „review supported by the new data therefore suggest that both adult and childhood ADHD are associated with brain abnormalities in fronto-cortical and fronto-subcortical systems that mediate the control of cognition and motivation. The brain deficits in ADHD therefore appear to be multi-systemic and to persist throughout the lifespan.“

TL;DR: Your ADHD symptoms may improve as you get older, but unfortunately they won’t disapper. The reason is, ofcourse, all in neurology: some brain regions of ADHD people are sructurally damaged and time doesn’t fix them.

3.    Fatty acids in ADHD: plasma profiles in a placebo-controlled study of Omega 3/6 fatty acids in children and adolescents

Seventy five ADHD children and adolescents were given Omega 3/6 (Equazen eye q) or placebo for three months, followed by three months of open phase Omega 3/6 for all. Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega3/6 ratio were measured at baseline, 3 and 6 months. Of course, Omega group showed improvements in all measured parameters related to ADHD, in comparison to placebo group, both after 3 and 6 months. Compared to placeboists, the 6-month Omegists had significantly greater Omega 3 increase at 3 months and decrease in Omega 3/6 ratio at 3 and 6 months. Omega 3/6 supplementation had a clear impact on fatty acid composition of plasma phosphatidyl choline in active versus placebo group, and the fatty acid changes appear to be associated with treatment response. The most pronounced and long-lasting changes for treatment responders compared to non-responders were in the n-6/n-3 ratio. Here’s the link to the article.

TL;DR: Take fish oil or eat more fish, they contain Omega 3 fatty acids which will help you with your ADHD greatly.

4.    Supplementation with flax oil and vitamin C improves the outcome of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

This study evaluated the effects of alpha linolenic acid (ALA)-rich nutritional supplementation in the form of flax oil and antioxidant emulsion on blood fatty acids composition and behavior in children with ADHD. Flax oil supplementation corresponding to 200 mg ALA content along with 25 mg Vitamin C were given to the participants twice a day for 3 months. And the results were spectacular: individual scores for Inattention, Impulsivity, Restlessness and Self-Control, all symptoms of ADHD, reduced significantly. There’s one drawback of this study: a placebo group was not included which makes it unclear whether flax oil and flax oil only was responsible for this reduction of symptoms. Instead, the pre and post supplementation measures within the subjects were used which is also good measure so I think this study can be trusted.

TL;DR: Along with fish oil, use flax oil too. It’s highly beneficial for ADHD.

5.    Reinforcement, Dopamine and Rodent Models in Drug Development for ADHD

Current treatment with psychostimulants and nonstimulants is effective, but their mechanism of action beyond the cellular level is not well understood. There’s a bald suggestion that altered reinforcement mechanisms are a fundamental characteristic of ADHD. The article shows that a deficit in the transfer of dopamine signals from established positive reinforcers to cues that predict such reinforcers may underlie these altered reinforcement mechanisms, and in turn explain key symptoms of ADHD. The neural substrates controlling the excitation and inhibition of dopamine neurons during the transfer process should be concern in future development of ADHD drugs.
TL;DR: It seems that being unable to recognize cues that predict positive reinforcement explains key symptoms of ADHD. Dopamine is main suspect for this and future drugs should focus on fixing neural substrates of dopamine.

6.    Sex, ADHD symptoms, and smoking outcomes: An integrative model

Both females and individuals with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have been found to be at increased risk for a range of smoking outcomes, and recent empirical findings have suggested that women with ADHD may be particularly vulnerable to nicotine dependence.
This article proposes following hypotheses related to sex, ADHD, and smoking: (1) individuals with ADHD have altered functioning of the dopamine reward system, which diminishes their ability to efficiently form conditioned associations based on environmental contingencies; these deficits are partially ameliorated by nicotine; (2) nicotine interacts with estrogen and the dopamine reward system to increase the positive and negative reinforcement value of smoking in female smokers; (3) in adult females with ADHD, ovarian hormones interact with the dopamine reward system to exacerbate ADHD-related deficits in the capacity to form conditioned associations; and (4) during different phases of the menstrual cycle, nicotine and ovarian hormones may interact differentially with the dopamine reward processing system to affect the type and value of reinforcement smoking provides for women with ADHD.

TL;DR: ADHD are at greater risk of nicotine dependence. Nicotine interacts with estrogen to increase reinforcement value of smoking, and smoking ameliorates some ADHD related dysfunctions. Thus, ADHD females have the greatest risk of nicotine addiction.

7.    Offspring ADHD as a Risk Factor for Parental Marital Problems: Controls for Genetic and Environmental Confounds

Offspring ADHD predicted parental divorce and marital conflict. The associations were also robust when comparing differentially exposed identical twins to control for unmeasured genetic and environmental factors, when controlling for measured maternal and paternal psychopathology, when restricting the sample based on timing of parental divorce and ADHD onset, and when controlling for other forms of offspring psychopathology. Each of these controls rules out alternative explanations for the association. The results of the current study converge with those of prior research in suggesting that factors directly associated with offspring ADHD increase parental marital problems.

TL;DR: You are more likely to get divorced if your child suffers from ADHD.

8.    A randomized controlled trial of CBT therapy for adults with ADHD with and without medication

This was a secondary analysis comparing 23 participants randomized to CBT and Dextroamphetamine vs. 25 participants randomized to CBT and placebo. Both groups showed robust improvement in both symptoms and functioning, but the use of medication did not significantly improve outcome over and above use of CBT and placebo. This study replicates previous work demonstrating that CBT is an effective treatment for ADHD in adults.

TL;DR: Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you deal with ADHD without medication

9.    Practitioner Review: What have we learnt about the causes of ADHD?

This is a review of articles published since 1997 that deals with risk factors related to ADHD and discusses the likelihood that these risks are causal for developing ADHD. The main results are summarized as followes: no single risk factor explains ADHD. Both inherited and noninherited factors contribute and their effects are interdependent. ADHD is familial and heritable. Research into the inherited and molecular genetic contributions to ADHD suggest an important overlap with other neurodevelopmental problems, notably, autism spectrum disorders. Having a biological relative with ADHD, large, rare copy number variants, some small effect size candidate gene variants, extreme early adversity, pre and postnatal exposure to lead and low birth weight/prematurity have been most consistently found as risk factors, but none are yet known to be definitely causal. As far as environmental risk are concerned, they can only be regarded as correlates.

TL;DR: ADHD is complex disorder. We know some risk factors for developing ADHD but the causal factors remain mysterious.

You don’t have to achieve your „ideal“ weight – far less than that is still pretty good

Recent research that have gone pretty unnoticed brought good news for all people trying to lose weight. It seems that, after all, you don’t have to try too hard to get the most out of it. A study by George Blackburn, Harvard Medical School professor, came to conclusion that as much as 5 to 10% of weight loss can lead to substantial health benefits and reduce or even eliminate disorders caused by obesity, such as hypertension, diabetes type 2, coronary hearth diseases and other chronic diseases.Now, I think this should be good news for everybody striving to lose weight, as it is for me.

Some of the encouraging conclusions that professor Blackburn notes are following: modest weight loss was related to improved glycemic control, reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels in overweight individuals. Also, it resulted in extremely positive health benefits for diabetics, whose disease is strongly influenced by obesity. Furthermore, modest weight loss leads to reduction of arterial pressure in people suffering from hypertension, and also to reduction of „bad cholesterol“ in comparison to „good cholesterol.“ Weight loss is also known to ameliorate other cardiovascular disease, and even modest weight loss of 10% to 20% will improve these risk factors. Even the mental health is not exempted from the benefits of weight loss: it has been shown that modest weight loss significantly contributes to the reduction of depressive symptoms in overweight individuals suffering from depression.

Now, these results definitely are encouraging. However, I think this article has a point beyond these encouraging facts: even if you are not quite satisfied with your progression, you probably achieved more than you think. As this arctile shows, the benefits of losing even modest amounts of weight go beyond than meets the eye. Even if your mirror doesn’t yet acknowledge your hard work, your health definitely does. So don’t get discouraged, keep your hard work and you will eventually get to where you want to be. And if you are interested in how you can lose weight in most efficient, natural and cost effective way, please read this article. Good luck!

Fish oil and weight loss – the myth or the truth?

As the headline suggests, in this article we’re going to learn wether there really are benefits of fish oil for weight loss or is this „fish oil weight loss“ story just a myth. But before saying anything about the subject, here are some sobering facts about the obesity today.

To cite one article, today „obesity is reaching an epidemic proportion“ and „it’s the plague of 21st century.“ A 2010. study by Flegal et al. definitely confirms this dramatic point. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) shows that, since seventies, obesity in USA is in constant rise. Data from 1988-1994 showed that the prevalence of obesity in adults had increased by approximately 8 % since 1976-1980 and the same trend continues in 1999-2000. According to the 2007-2008 data, the last analyzed in this study, the prevalence of obesity in USA stabilized at around 33.8% overall, 32.3% among men and 35.5% among women. When the overweight people are included, together with obese, these numbers rise to 68.0%, 72.3% and 64.1% accordingly. Additionally, obesity is extremly expensive disease to treat. It has been estimated that annual medical costs of obesity are as high as $147 Billion and that, on average, obese people have medical costs that are $1429 more than medical costs of normal weight people.

Fish oil, a truly hero

Obviously, we have a big problem here. So the question is: how not to become obese in a first place and, if you are not so lucky, how to effectively treat obesity in a low-cost manner. Here, I’m going to give you a very solid answer to these two questions. Fish oil. Fish oil have been found to be quite beneficial in treating all kinds of medical conditions, from mental disorders  such as ADHD, anxiety and depression, to cardiovascular problems, rheumatoid athritis and so on. But, does it work in loosing weight?

It seems that it does work, moreover it works pretty good. Although it was long suspected that fish oil and weight loss are related in some way, a study by Thorsdottir et al. published in 2007. removed all doubts. The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of including seafood and fish oils, as a part of energy-restricted diet, on a weight loss in young overweight adults. The subjects in the study were instructed to follow a diet which was energy restricteg by 30% from their estimated daily energy expenditure, and to do so for eight consecutive weeks. There were four possible diets: Diet 1 (no seafood), Diet 2 (lean fish – cod), Diet 3 (fatty fish, rich in Omega 3 fatty acid – salmon) and Diet 4 (fish oil capsules). It’s importan to note that the diets were all the same in its total fat, carbohydrates, proteins and fibers – the fish/no fish were the only thing that differed amog them. Without going further into details, let me just tell you the results that will make you happy.

All participants lost weight during 8 weeks of the study, but the losses were quite different across the diets. On average, participants lost 4.4 kg in no-fish Diet 1, but the lost about 1 kg more in other three diets that included fish and fish oil. Men on average lost more weight than women, which was expected since they had more weight in the first place. The men/women ratios of weight loss over the diets were 5.3/3.9 kg in no-fish Diet 1, 6.5/4.4 kg in lean fish Diet 2, 7.0/3.9 kg in fatty fish Diet 3 and 6.7/4.4 kg in fish oil capsules Diet 4. You can see the decrease in weight and other measurements in the table below (adopted from Thorsdottir et al., 2007).

Conclusion: fish oil and weight loss really do go together, and there are substantial benefits of fish oil for weight loss. Actually, it seems that the fish itself can significantly improve your weight loss efforts. Now, don’t just nod your head and then move on and forget about this information. You’ve learned something, now go and really use this information and implement it in your daily life. So, next time you’re on diet, make sure that you include enough of fish or fish oil pills, or for the best results, both. Not only it will help you loose weight faster and more efficient, it will also be quite beneficially for your overall health.


Fish oil and ADHD – can I use fish oil for ADHD?

ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder today is one of the main problems in children and adolescents. It is not just that it affects their current performance, but the fact that this mental health problem  can result in long-time behavioral, social and academic problem. ADHD is mainly treated vith various stimulants and behavioral therapies based on operant conditioning. Some common medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are Ritalin, Adderal, Concerta and Strattera. These medicines are supposed to reduce disruptiveness in children and improve their ability to concentrate, and that is just what they do. Studies have shown that children treated with medcation of this sort have fewer symptoms of ADHD than children treated with bihevioral intervention only or with the placebo. However, there are two main problems with stimulants: they are effective while adimnistered, but their effects often do not persist beyond that meaning they do control the symptoms but they can not cure you from ADHD. The other problem are side effects: side effects of the stimulant medications can be very serious and include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach pain, sleep problems and can even cause some cardiovascular problems.

Omega 3 as a natural treatment of ADHD

These conclusions made scientists look for another possible treatments that will be more natural and have less side effects. Some researches suggest that Omega 3 fatty acids could be pretty good candidate for treating ADHD as they seem to affect a range of mental disorders such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, autistic spectrum disorders, and some even claim that it might be beneficial in treating anxiety and depression. The main source of Omega 3 is fish oil which you get from fishes, ofcourse. Now, althought you will find much sources on the internet that about the remarkable  benefits of fish oil for ADHD and other disorders, here I will take a bit more cautious approach, or should I say a bit more scientific approach.

There are quite a few studies today that showed that fish oil and ADHD are indeed related. For example, one study found that Japanese and Grenland Inuit, with their high seafood intake, had high levels of fatty acids which in turn was connected with reduction of ADHD symptoms. Another study concluded that „dietary supplementation with fish oils (providing EPA and DHA) appears to alleviate ADHD-related symptoms in at least some children, and one study of DCD children also found benefits for academic achievement.“ Furthermore, ADHD have been linked to biological deficiencies in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and there is evidence that symptoms might be reduced with PUFA supplements which mainly come in the form of fish oil capsules. The conclusion of this study is one that underpins the benefits of fish oil for ADHD the most: „These results add to preliminary findings that ADHD-related problems with inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity might respond to treatment with PUFAs and that improvements may continue with supplementation extending to 30 weeks.“

Things are not that simple

However, not all scientists are equally convinced. Althought they acknowledge that fish oil and ADHD may be related, they stress that the fact they are related still doesn’t mean that we can use fish oil for ADHD treatment. Recent review of studies about fish oil and ADHD published in 2012 states that althought there is some evidence that ADHD could be related to deficiencies of PUFA, there was little evidence, overall, that PUFA supplementation is beneficial for ADHD. Further high‐quality research needs to be done.

So, after reading all this about contradictory conclusions of the scientist, what is my stance on this problem? Well, given that there is some affirmative scientific evidence about the benefits of fish oil for ADHD, and also simplicity and safety of its consuption together with overall health benefits, I think you should definitely go with fish oil ADHD treatment. We know fish oil and ADHD are related, we have some indicies about the upside of fish oil for ADHD. So it seems that fish oil is offering a promising complementary approach to standard treatments.

The WE Part of the AA Program

Someone asked me the other day how I relate to the First Step of Alcoholics Anonymous or what my favorite part of the First Step was? It is without hesitation that I say the WE in the First Step. It says WE admitted WE were powerless over alcohol and that OUR lives became unmanageable.

We Aren’t Alone

Every time I say those words in a meeting I get a shiver down my spine remembering the first time I said it and truly could comprehend what the First Step was saying to me. YOU AREN’T ALONE! I felt very alone when I first came into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Step One kept me coming back, not just because I knew I was an alcoholic but I also needed to know that there were others fighting what I was fighting. I needed to hear and see the WE in order to find the courage to fight this disease graciously and living joyous, happy and free.

Focus on the Positives

As I have gotten further down the road of happy destiny I focus on the positives and get to recognize what really drives my program. When I first got sober I would focus on the powerlessness and unmanageable parts of my life. After getting some sobriety time under my belt I started to realize the powerlessness and unmanageability that came with my using and that I didn’t need to dwell on that anymore. I would never forget my past or shut the door on it but I like to focus on what energizes my sobriety. I truly believe that if you focus on the negative then what you will receive will be negative, but if you focus on the positive then what you receive will be positive.

This is Who We Are, Now Go Help Others

The WE part of the program is one of my absolute favorite tools to use in good times as well as in bad. I have found out that there are many out there just like me and I can help them just as much as they have helped me. When I sponsor other people or I’m helping someone out who is having a hard time with alcohol and drug addiction recovery I love to take Step One and roll it right into Step Twelve, this is who I am now go help others! I love that I get to start with Step One learning who I am and then finish up in Step Twelve helping others find their way back to themselves. The program of recovery is simply a miracle and comes full circle when you have worked all the Steps! Help someone today if you can, even if it’s just lending an ear!

Nature or nurture – is bipolar disorder hereditary?

There are quite a few theories that try to explain the origins and causes of bipolar disorder, but those have gone little further than theories that try to explain just depression. As we said in the earlier post, some theorists think that depression and bipolar disorder are in fact just two manifestations of the same disorder. That is why most of the theories about bipolar disorder are similar to those explaining unipolar depression with manic phase bein explained as defence mechanism against disempowering psychological state caused by depression.

Bipolar disorder is less prevalent than depresion (about 1 % of the population) and the first symptoms usually appear around the age of 30. It affects males and females in the same proportion.  There are evidences that suggest that mood disorders, inclucing bipolar disroder, are hereditary,at least in a part. When trying to answer the question is bipolar hereditary, scientists use methods such as family analysis, twin studies or studies of adopted children.

What do the studies say?

I’ll list the main results of those studies here. The prevalence of mood disorders among the closest relatives of bipolar patients are 10 % to 20 %. The risk is even higher in those whose close relative came to suffer from bipolar disorder relatively early in life. But the interesting fact is that there is even higher prevalence of unipolar depression than bipolar disorder among the relatives of bipolar patient with the ratio of 13,2 % vs. 6,4 %. One study found that the coefficient of concordance of the bipolar disorder among the identical twins was 72 %, while one of the fraternal twins was only 14 %. This means that there is significantly greater chance that one will suffer from bipoar disorder if his/her identical twin suffers from it than if his/her fraternal twin suffers from it. Studies of adopted children provided further evidence. The biological parents of bipolar children more often suffer from some kind of mood disorder than the parents who adopt those children, ad the vice versa is also true: children will more often have bipolar disorder if their biological parents have it compared to  situations where their foster parents suffer from it. One recent study even suggested that bipolar disorder could be caused by dominant gene on 11th chromosome.

Together these results give us strong indicies that bipolar disorder has significatnt hereditary component, even larger than that of unipolar depression, and that genetic predispositions can explain great deal of variance of bipolar disorder. So, if you are asking yourself is bipolar disorder hereditary, the answer is – yes. But that said, it doesn’t mean that if your parent suffer from it, you will automaticly inherit it. You won’t because there are lots of other factors that influence the emergence of the disorder. But to be honest, you do have a bigger chance of developing it than some stranger on the street. If you want to know how you can identify if you or someone you know have bipolar disorder, read this post.

Effects of bipolar disorder on everyday life – a Wayne’s story

If you want to know what are the effects of bipolar disorder and how does bipolar disorder affect daily life, read this clinical case adopted from the book Abnormal psychology by Kring, Johnson, Davison & Neale.

Wayne, a 32-year-old insurance appraiser, had been married for 8 years. He and his wife and their two children lived comfortably and happily in a middle-class neighborhood. He had not experienced any clear symptoms until age 32. One morning, Wayne told his wife that he was bursting with energy and ideas, that his job was unfulfilling, and that he was just wasting his talent. That night he slept little, spending most of the time at his desk, writing furiously. The next morning he left for work at the usual time but returned home at 11:00 a.m., his car overflowing with aquariums and other equipment for tropical fish. He had quit his job, then withdrawn all the money from the family’s savings account and spent it on tropical fish equipment. Wayne reported that the previous night he had worked out a way to modify existing equipment so that fish “won’t die anymore. We’ll be millionaires.” After unloading the paraphernalia, Wayne set off to canvass the neighborhood for possible buyers, going door-to-door and talking to anyone who would listen. Wayne reported that no one in his family had been treated for bipolar disorder, but his mother had gone through periods when she would stop sleeping and become extremely adventurous. For the most part, the family had regarded these episodes as unproblematic, but during one period she had set off across the country without the children and had returned only after spending a major amount of money. The following bit of conversation indicates Wayne’s incorrigible optimism and provocativeness:

Therapist: Well, you seem pretty happy today.

Wayne: Happy! Happy! You certainly are a master of understatement, you rogue! [Shouting, literally jumping out of his seat.] Why, I’m ecstatic! I’m leaving for the West Coast today, on my daughter’s bicycle. Only 3,100 miles. That’s nothing, you know. I could probably walk, but I want to get there by next week. And along the way I plan to contact a lot of people about investing in my fish equipment. I’ll get to know more people that way—you know, Doc, “know” in the biblical sense. Oh, God, how good it feels.