Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time, and often develop in a person's late teen or early adult years with at least half of all cases beginning prior to age 25. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide if not treated adequately. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives. Consequently, awareness and early access to appropriate treatment are vital and can minimize serious disruption to a student's academic career.

Dr. Russ Federman and Dr. Andy Thomson of the University of Virginia Counseling and Psychological Services have produced a series of videos about Bipolar Disorder based on a book they authored in 2010. The videos include 10 topics about bipolar disorder and are directed at young adults of college age. Each video is between 5 and 12 minutes long, and the videos include helpful information for students dealing with bipolar disorder and those who care about them. The videos include the following topics:

  1. What Is Bipolar Disorder
  2. Psychiatric Medication in Bipolar Disorder
  3. Use of Natural Supplements in the Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
  4. Denial and Resistance to the Diagnosis in the Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
  5. When Is Bipolar Hypomania More Than Simply Feeling Good
  6. Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder
  7. Importance of Good Sleep for Those with Bipolar Disorder
  8. Importance of Healthy Life Structure for Those with Bipolar Disorder
  9. Importance of a Support Group in Treating Bipolar Disorder
  10. Looking for a Psychotherapist or Psychiatrist Who Treats Bipolar Disorder

The International Bipolar Foundation has published a free, online manual called Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder. The manual draws on the expertise of mental health professionals and the experiences of those whose life has been touched by the illness. It contains helpful information on a variety of topics that arise in everyday life, as well as resources for dealing with specific issues facing those affected by bipolar disorder.