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November 17, 2005
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Bipolar disorder often misidentified as depression, Iowa State U. officials say
University Wire; 11/11/2005; Anna Shonkwiler
(Iowa State Daily) (U-WIRE) AMES, Iowa -- Bipolar disorder can be easily confused with and misdiagnosed as depression, Iowa State University student counseling officials said.
Marty Martinez, Student Counseling Service staff psychologist, said students can come to the counseling center free of charge to get information or to set up a meeting with a psychologist to get help for themselves or someone they know.
"We encourage friends to come along the first time to counseling sessions if that will make the person feel more comfortable," Martinez said.
Bipolar disorder, a mental illness that affects the brain, can cause severe shifts in mood and energy level and can affect a patient's ability to function.
Sometimes bipolar disorder is misdiagnosed, Martinez said, because of the disorder's similar symptoms to depression. He said a person can be in the depression phase for months at a time and are therefore sometimes diagnosed as depressed.
It is not until the student enters the manic period that they can be determined bipolar.
Ross Szabo, director of youth outreach for the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign, spoke with students in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union on Monday about his personal struggles with bipolar disorder.
Szabo said he was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 16 and was later also diagnosed with anger-control problems with psychotic features. He said he would be on manic highs for days, weeks or months at a time before falling into extreme depression.
"Because of my disorder, I would binge drink, often drinking so much that I would pass out," he said. "It wasn't uncommon for me to pass out for 20 hours at a time."
He said the first thing to do to help someone who may be bipolar is to "turn confrontation into conversation" and just speak with the individual.
Szabo said his older brother was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder and mental illness ran in his family.
"If anyone in your family has any type of mental disorder, you have an increased risk of developing that disorder," he said.
Tim Klunenberg, junior in health and human performance, attended Monday's lecture and said he knows someone with bipolar disorder.
"I know somebody that has it and think it's an under-recognized disorder," he said.
He said he found Szabo's approach to the lecture interesting because he did not just tell the audience what to do.
"He was really interesting," Klunenberg said. "He just presented the information and let us take it in. I thought that was better than someone who gets up there and tells you to do this and do that and doesn't really give you the option of making up your own mind."
(C) 2005 Iowa State Daily via U-WIRE
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The Warning Signs Of An Impending Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode
Bipolar disorder - as the name implies - involves two distinct set of symptoms. One set throws the individual down into the depths of a massive depression. The other places the individual who suffers with bipolar disorder at the top of a peak manic episode.
Most everyone can eventually recognize the warning signs of an impending depressive episode related to bipolar disorder. More likely than not, individuals with bipolar disorder try very hard to avoid it.
However, for many individuals with bipolar disorder, it's more difficult to recognize the signs of an impending manic episode. After all, a manic episode of bipolar disorder can be mistaken in some cases - especially in the very early formation -- for the lifting of the corresponding mood swing of the depression.
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