OTHER MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Disorder is also called manic depression.  It occurs less frequently than depression but can be very serious.  It is characterized by cycling mood changes from extreme elation (mania) to depression.  Most often the mood change is gradual.  The depressive condition is similar to major depression.  A manic period affects thinking, judgment, and social behavior and may lead to grand romantic or business schemes that create serious problems and embarrassment.  Untreated mania can lead to a psychotic state.  Symptoms include:

  • Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
  • Excessively “high,” overly good, euphoric mood
  • Extreme irritability
  • Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
  • Distractability, inability to concentrate or stay focused
  • Lack of need for sleep
  • Unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers
  • Poor judgment
  • Spending sprees
  • Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
  • Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
  • Denial that anything is wrong

The resistance to treatment for Bipolar Disorder is two-fold.  When an individual is in an extreme manic state, they may feel invincible, will deny there is a problem and are very difficult to reach.  The low manic state includes a feeling of euphoria and well-being.  The individual will actually be more creative and productive, and will know that with proper treatment, they are not likely to be able to revisit this stage.  Understandably, there is a reluctance to lose this sense of well-being, even though a more difficult stage is imminent.

Treatment

Bipolar Disorder is often treated with medications (mood stabilizers, anti-psychotic medications or antidepressants).  Psychotherapy and sometimes electroconvulsive therapy are utilized.  Support is also a key component for recovery.  LCL’s counseling partner Sand Creek can provide an initial evaluation and appropriate referrals at no cost to you.

Resources for Bipolar Disorder

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

American Psychological Association

National Alliance on Mental Illness and Minnesota NAMI

National Institute of Mental Health

ADD/ADHD
ADD/ADHD is a neurobiological condition that affects individuals across the lifespan.  While it’s generally thought of as a children’s condition, many adults who have the disorder are not aware of it.  Rather they feel inadequate because of an inability to get and stay organized, be successful in a job, or remember and track details and appointments.  There may be a history of doing things at the last minute and trying to do many things at once, often unsuccessfully.  Executive functions are affected and need to be managed.  A strategic plan for success seems daunting and overwhelming. One of the biggest challenges is a shame-based distortion that everyone else “has it all together”.  Signs and symptoms include:

  • Distractability
  • Disorganization
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fidgeting
  • Incomplete projects
  • Emergencies
  • Procrastination
  • Chronic lateness
  • Boredom
  • Interrupting others
  • Losing things
  • Perfectionism
  • Hyperfocus
  • Impulsivity

An individual with ADD/ADHD can have areas of particular success in law because of some of these factors.  Because of hyper focus, if there is interest, a large amount of work can be completed in a short period of time.  One attorney with ADHD said “People with ADHD can really think deeply about subjects we have interest in and make creative leaps and unique connections.  I’m good at ‘thinking outside the box’, seeing connections others may not and coming up with unique arguments and/or solutions to problems.”

Resources for ADD/ADHD:

National Institute of Mental Health

Learning Disabilities Association of Minnesota – click on Attention Deficit Support Services

Attention Deficit Disorder Association

National Resource Center on ADHD

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Helpguide.org

Age-Related Dementia (Alzheimer’s Disease)
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia. It destroys brain cells and causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life.  It is progressive and fatal.  Ten of the most common warning signs are:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Problems with language
  • Disorientation to time and place
  • Poor or decreased judgment
  • Problems with abstract thinking
  • Misplacing things
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Changes in personality
  • Loss of initiative

While most people will have some memory changes as they age, there is a clear distinction between normal age-related memory changes and Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.  Someone with normal memory loss may forget part of an experience, may recall things later, can usually follow written or spoken direction, can use notes for reminders and can care for him or herself.  The person with Alzheimer’s symptoms will forget entire experiences and rarely remember later.  He or she cannot follow directions, won’t understand written reminders and will be gradually unable to care for him or herself.

Lawyers experiencing signs of dementia may deny the problem and yet can make mistakes or neglect matters, resulting in harm to clients.  Sensitive and respectful intervention is needed to help the lawyer retire with dignity.  LCL can be a resource.

Eating Disorders
An eating disorder is an illness where an individual has an unhealthy obsession with food, weight and body image and engages in maladaptive behaviors in an attempt to control caloric intake and weight.  A person suffering from an eating disorder has a distorted body image, seeing himself/herself as “fat” no matter how emaciated the individual becomes.

You cannot always “see” an eating disorder, it is a silent killer.  The individual may look perfectly healthy by all outward appearances.  While eating disorders may begin with preoccupations with food and weight, they are often about much more than food.   People with eating disorders may be reluctant to ask for help for a variety of reasons but it’s important to note that help is available.  LCL can provide counseling, assessment and referrals to other resources.

Eating Disorders are Illnesses

An eating disorder is much more than just being on a diet.  They are not a “fad” or “phase.”  People do not “catch” an eating disorder for a period of time.  An eating disorder is a disease with profound effects on the individuals with the illness and those surrounding them.

Eating disorders are extremely dangerous and need immediate treatment.  Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.  The National Eating Disorder Awareness and the National Institute of Mental Health recommend that any person with an eating disorder seek treatment right away.

Types of Eating Disorders

There are four (4) known diagnoses of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Eating Disorder Not-Otherwise-Specified
  • Binge Eating

The four mentioned eating disorders are not all-inclusive.  Other types of eating disorders include diabulimia and orthorexia.  The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) lists all the factors that are evaluated by  medical professionals.

Medical Complications

There are severe medical complications associated with eating disorders.  As previously stated, eating disorders have the highest mortality rates of all mental health illnesses.

The most common associated dangers include malnutrition, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, hypoatremia, gastroparesis, sinus bradycardia and refeeding syndrome.  The “common dangers” are really only symptoms of the damage to the internal systems of the body.  Eating disorders result in severe medical issues which include, and are not limited to, kidney failure, heart attacks, osteoporosis, fatty liver syndrome, and ultimately death.

More Information

These are some helpful websites to get more information about eating disorders:

  • ANAD – National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc.
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Eating Disorder Awareness – The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is the leading non-profit organization in the United States advocating on behalf of and supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders.
  • Eating Disorders Online – This is an amalgamation of articles, resources and treatment options.
  • Eating Disorder Hope offers education, support, and inspiration to eating disorder sufferers, their loved ones, and eating disorders treatment providers.
  • Mentor Connect is a global eating disorders mentoring community.

Many people find help in 12-step based programs such as:

Finding Treatment –

These are some of the available treatment options in Minnesota.  Please keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive and does not indicate a recommendation.

 

Grief and Loss

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder