Monday, August 4, 2014

My Fact Finding Mission

While I was trying to understand bipolar disorder I found information from many sources. It was overwhelming and confusing trying to sift through everything. There are many types of places to find information on bipolar disorder. Some are more reliable than others. In this blog post, I will discuss books, blogs, forums, and websites about bipolar disorder.

Books can be great resources for learning about bipolar disorder. I have checked out several books from the library over the past year. There are many books available that can help you understand the condition and how to cope with it. The books that I find most useful are The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know by David J. Miklowitz, PhD and Living with Someone Who’s Living with Bipolar Disorder: A Practical Guide for Family, Friends, and Coworkers by Chelsea Lowe and Bruce M. Cohen, MD, PhD. The books not only provide important facts about the illness, it also discusses the importance of education and coping skills. The subheadings and question-answer format makes it easy to find specific information. I have checked these books out from the library many times and I am considering purchasing both books in the near future. 

One of my favorite resources for bipolar research is blogs. They are good at giving information about other people's experiences. I like the way that blogs explain things in simple terms that make it easier to understand. This genre of online information provides examples of real life situations that books do not necessarily cover. The personal insight from individuals with bipolar disorder and the people who are close to them is a great way to identify with what others are going through. 

Forums about people who have a loved one who has bipolar disorder are interesting. They tend to be full of raw personal stories, juicy details, and drama. Even though some forums are very helpful, most of them can be negative. I found that some perpetuated the stigma of mental illness. I felt that the people who complained the most on these forums were people who did not take the time to understand bipolar disorder. They were usually involved with an individual that was not compliant with their medication and/or going to therapy. Unless both parties involved takes an active role in understanding what is going on, there is little chance that the relationship will improve. It is rare that I visit those forums anymore.

When I began looking for information on the internet, I found many websites. Some of the most reliable sources that I found were from National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). These websites were based on facts not opinion. I recommend .org and .gov websites.

In conclusion, there are many resources about bipolar disorder. Some sources are more reliable than others. In my opinion, knowledge is the best tool when dealing with bipolar disorder. The individual with the condition and the people close to them will have more successful relationships if everyone involved are educated.

photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/dlee13/14143888895/">Daniel E Lee</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
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