This article was written by Guest Blogger: Tracy Ruff
Bipolar disorder is one of the most debilitating mental illnesses that can severely impact one’s life. In terms of causes of disability, bipolar disorder is ranked in the top 10 in developed countries. At any one time, up to 51 million people worldwide have the disorder and its prevalence rate is approximately 1.1% of the global population.
While this figure may not seem like much when compared to other chronic illnesses (40% of the world’s population has hypertension, for example); it is imperative for the general public to understand just how serious the condition is. This is why on the 30 March various global initiatives will be celebrating World Bipolar Day to increase awareness and challenge the terrible stigma associated with the disorder.
Studies show that between 10% and 40% of women will be afflicted by postpartum depression. If one takes the lowest figure of 10%, there are at least 50 000 new cases of postpartum depression per year in South Africa alone. The real tragedy is that for many of these women, it is never even picked up, because despite the considerable number of cases, the condition generally remains undiagnosed and untreated.
Postpartum depression does not only affect the mother – it can affect the entire family – so it is time we all understood more about the illness to play our part in recognising and defeating this highly treatable and avoidable condition.
Despite the fact that Alzheimer’s is the topic of many jokes about forgetfulness and memory loss, most people don’t even know the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s dementia. And they certainly don’t know what to expect when it comes to how the disease progresses.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that each year approximately one million people die from suicide. This is a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100 000, or one death every 40 seconds. It is predicted that by 2020 the rate will increase to one death every 20 seconds.
In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among men and women aged 15-44.
It is time we took this issue seriously and learnt more about the causes, the signs and signals to look out for and what can be done to prevent such tragedies.
The concept of ‘living in the now’ or ‘being in the present’ has its roots in Eastern philosophies, but has gained popularity in mainstream western thinking in recent years because of the writings of people such as Eckhart Tolle, Jon Kabat-zinn and many others.
The increasing popularity of the concept – also referred to as ‘mindfulness’ – has quickly promoted its status from an esoteric concept to an abundantly used ‘power-phrase’ in the area of ‘self-help’. Many people are still confused by the concept and don’t fully understand it. So what does ‘living in the now’ actually mean and why and how should introduce it into our lives?
Depression is the most common complaint of individuals seeking mental health care. By 2020 depression will be the 2nd most disabling health condition in the world (Lopez et al., 2006).
Alarming statistics perhaps and yet what is more alarming is that many people are not even aware that they are suffering from depression. They are not able to recognise the signs and symptoms of depression in themselves or others. This lack of knowledge is causing unnecessary suffering and it’s important that we change this state of ignorance and educate ourselves so that we can:
The term ‘resilience’ was brought to our attention in the ‘70s and ‘80s when the first research findings on resilience were published in the health fields.
Recently, however, resilience has become a fashionable buzz word. It is often bandied about without any real thought to its impact or meaning. We are all supposed to be striving to be more resilient. But what exactly does this mean, what do we do with it and how do we get it?
Bipolar disorder (which used to be known as bipolar affective disorder, manic-depressive disorder or manic depression) is a type of mental illness (specifically a mood disorder) characterized by episodes of an elevated or agitated mood known as mania that often alternates with episodes of depression.
The symptoms can be subtle and confusing. Many people with bipolar disorder are overlooked or misdiagnosed – resulting in unnecessary suffering. With proper treatment and support, however, an individual with bipolar disorder can lead a rich and fulfilling life. So what is bipolar disorder and what can we do about it?
Kleptomania (Klep-toe-MAY-knee-uh) is a well-known impulse-control disorder characterised by the recurrent failure to resist impulses to steal items even though the items are not needed for personal use or for their monetary value. The individual experiences a rising sense of tension before the theft and feels pleasure, gratification, or relief when committing the theft. The stealing is not committed to express anger or vengeance. It is also not done in response to a delusion (false belief) or hallucination (false sensory experience).
Are you concerned about some aspect of your appearance, so much so that it negatively affects your lifestyle? For instance, do you spend many hours a day checking your 'defect' in the mirror or do you, perhaps, spend hours attempting to hide what you regard as a flaw. Maybe you actually remain at home, avoiding dating and other social interactions. If this is you or someone you know, you might perhaps have Body Dysmorphic Disorder – a little-known mental disorder.