There is an urgent need to extend the desire to help others in need to those who are afflicted with clinical mood disorders, including anxiety, bipolar disorder, and clinical depression. With one out of six Americans suffering from some form of mental illness, there are many reasons for family and friends to provide support. Often, mental patients feel that the outside world cannot understand their pain, leading them to turn to publications written by both unknown and famous mental patients.
However, the memoirs of the famous often only touch on their mood disorders, emphasizing the wrong things and telling stories about their families, other luminaries, and entertainment industries. On the other hand, books written by average sufferers provide more detailed descriptions of their episodes and weave them into their life stories.
Mood disorders have become a little talked-about and often misunderstood epidemic that is sweeping across America. According to today’s statistics, clinical depression is the main reason people visit their doctors, and the class of psychotropic drugs prescribed is second only to that of analgesics or pain killers. Bipolar disorder is the second-highest reason for U.S. disability awards. Unemployment rates for those with mood disorders are 50% higher than for the general population, and women suffer clinical depression twice as much as men do. The mood disorder suicide rate is 33% when a person is left untreated and 20% when properly treated, and 90% of all suicides result from clinical depression. Unfortunately, only 33% of patients diagnosed with clinical depression receive treatment, while only 49% of bipolar individuals receive treatment.
As someone who experiences bipolar disorder and has been a burn victim, I can attest to the fact that psychic pain often exceeds physical pain in terms of intensity and duration. Utter hopelessness and suicidal ideation cannot be adequately described in words. There is no cure for mood disorders or a “dipstick” to test the brain’s neurotransmitter levels that regulate human emotions and behaviors. Instead, exotic and costly medications and psychotherapy are the primary means of mitigating the pain and skewed behaviors that those with mood disorders experience. The doctor-patient goal is to reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of episodes and encourage patients to adopt positive, healthy, and beneficial lifestyles.
Unfortunately, the social stigma associated with mental illness continues to be equivalent to unwed mothers before the 1960s, leading to many people “putting them away”. This must end, as there are too many people suffering from mood disorders to ignore them any longer. One effective pain relief method for easing mood disorder symptoms is peer interaction and comfort found in either physical or cyber discussion and support groups. Sharing the stories of other mood disorder sufferers is also helpful and can provide relief by entertaining and educating the reader. Reading stories written by mental patient peers can help sufferers of mood disorders, both manic and depressive episodes, to know that they are not alone in their struggles.
In a library or bookstore psychology/manic-depression category, there are plenty of books that bring understanding, hope, help, and healing for sufferers of bipolar disorder and clinical depression, as well as for their families and friends. The first step in combatting the epidemic of mood disorders is by providing support, spreading awareness, sharing stories, and accepting those who are struggling with mental illness.
Written by Jeff C. Baker