Bipolar Lifestyles

If you or someone you know has unipolar or bipolar depression, you need to recognize the symptoms of a depressive episode and contact a doctor if they continue or grow more serious.
1.    If you start having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, keep a record and watch for other symptoms.
2.    Be on the alert if someone starts sleeping excessively. Seriously depressed persons can sleep as much as 20 hours a day in some cases.
3.    Be concerned if someone begins canceling social engagements and staring at television programs he otherwise wouldn’t watch.
4.    Notice if mail – even bills – is piling up unopened, or other common tasks such as laundry, taking out garbage, etc., are not being done.
5.    Marked change in appetite (increase or decrease), or significant weight gain or loss, can signify many conditions, including depression; consider it in light of other depressive symptoms.
6.    Keep track of episodes of unexplained and uncontrolled crying.
7.    Document feelings of sadness, guilt, worthlessness or despair that last most or all day for several days.
8.    Be alert if you or your loved one exhibits signs of unusual worry, anger, negativity, helplessness or hopelessness.
9.    Pay attention if you or a loved one begins to have difficulty making even simple decisions. This is a very common warning sign of depression.
10.    Be sensitive to behavioral changes such as disorganization, inability to concentrate, or indifference to everyday necessary tasks.
11.    Notice if actions and thoughts seem to be slowing down (psychomotor retardation) or speeding up jerkily (psychomotor agitation).
12.    Watch your loved one for physical signs of depression such as slumped posture, frowning, decreased eye contact, frequent sighing, inattentive speech, or decreased sexual desires.
13.    Contact the doctor quickly if you experience or someone reports recurrent thoughts of death and suicide.
14.    If depressive symptoms appear after a change in medication, contact the prescribing doctor promptly.

Tips:

1.    Depression can creep up slowly or descend quickly. If slowly, it can be harder to notice, especially in yourself. Get in the habit of observing yourself if you have depressive episodes.
2.    Make a pact with your friend or loved one that if one of you sees danger signals in the other, the affected person will take appropriate action such as contacting a doctor. Or make a pact with yourself!
3.    This is not an exhaustive list of symptoms. You will encounter more through observation and reading. Add more red flags to this list as you learn them!

Source: www.about.com

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