For 2016 Im going to try and post each month on a mental disorder. People who have mental illness are often cast in a negative light. Popular media and the news only show you the negative side or the tragedy surrounding a mentally ill person. This lack of understanding perpetuates a cycle of ignorance thats passed down through the generations. Over the next 12 months I will share with you my clinical knowledge, anecdotal information, and interactions from the couch to increase your knowledge and decrease your fear of mental and emotional disorders. I will do my best not to use too much clinical jargon as I want this information to be easy to understand. And I won’t make it too long. Need more information or a clarification please don’t hesitate to contact me.

there is a thin line between genius and insanity…i like to use that line as a jump rope:
People are quick to label others as “crazy”. Well, Im here to tell you there is no such thing. At least not diagnostically. Everyone at some point in time exhibits behaviors and makes choices that can qualify as “crazy” or says something that sounds “crazy”. So does that make everyone “crazy”? I once had a twenty something in my office who asked me her diagnosis and I told her Bipolar disorder. She immediately burst into tears and said “but I don’t want to be Bipolar”. Well, no-one really wants to be bipolar. So I explained to her there is something wrong with everyone. Genetics are like rolling dice, you never know what you are going to get, but the odds are good that you are going to get something. Some people have physical ailments, others mental, and others emotional. There are some unfortunate souls who have a combination of two and even some that have all three. Some people spend their entire life (autism) plagued by their illness while others have a late onset (huntington’s disease or alzheimer’s). It helps to have some knowledge of your family tree so you can understand your genetic predisposition. For example, In order for you to have a Bipolar diagnosis someone else in you family must have it. One of the strongest genetic links in Bipolar disorder is among the Amish. Because they do not marry outside of their culture as a culture they have the largest concentration of the disorder over any other race or culture. Schizophrenia is another mental disorder with genetic links. For schizophrenia we have pinpointed the defective chromosome. We also know that if a father has schizophrenia his son is more likely to get it than his daughter. We don’t know why its this way, at least not yet. Just because one is genetically predisposed for something does not mean they will get it. The disease may be dormant in their system for an entire lifetime.
What people often see are the symptoms of bipolar mania or a schizophrenic psychotic episode. And because the behaviors are out of the norm they fear what they don’t know. There can be some very positive aspects of mental disorders as well. There are a small percentage of bipolar people who have euphoric, creative manic phases. Such that their mania is like a muse allowing them to write books and music and create wonderful art. It can allow them racing thoughts, and a flight of ideas resulting in thinking outside the box. Unfortunately the great majority of bipolar people experience the angry, and hypersexual manic phases and that is what the media chooses to share with the population.
When I was teaching, I once had a student ask me if I felt safer working with an unmedicated bipolar person or an unmedicated schizophrenic person. I said the schizophrenic person. Many people who have the disease are in fact harmless. The are in the world inside their head and not aware that you are even present. However they do have the potential for violence when you try to bring them out of their world and into the regular world. They can also be violent based on the content of their hallucinations or delusions. But the content always has a running theme and rarely ever changes. The voices are almost always the same voices. Sometimes they say something different but to the schizophrenic person they are the same voices with the same identity that has always been present. Once you gain some understanding of mental illness your respect for mental and emotional disorders will increase and your fear will decrease.
Above I have provided minimal information for 2 disorders and I will cover each one in depth for my monthly posts for this year. I ask that you take a moment and forward this information on those you know to increase the understanding and decrease the fear. Got questions? feel free to ask I will answer.

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