Bipolar is the sixth leading cause of disability in the world.
Over one million Mzansi people suffer from this medical issue that
requires treatment and support, something that many lack.
Men and women are equally affected, but men tend to have more hectic
episodes while women experience more depressive episodes.
Doctors say patients need guidance and support in understanding what
their diagnosis of bipolar means and what their treatment entails, as well as
what medication they will be taking and why.
Bipolar (previously called manic-depression) affects about 2% of the
Sufferers swing between depression, loss of interest in normal
activities, loss of energy, inability to concentrate, and suicidal thoughts
right through to irritation.
They also experience extremely elevated moods, feeling invincible, an
inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, and racing thoughts and speech.
The change in mood can be experienced by those around the sufferer.
What can families and friends do to help?
- Learn about its causes, treatments and symptoms. Know
the difference and warning signs between manic and depressive episodes.
- Encourage your loved one to stick to their treatment
plan, including medication.
- Help them avoid alcohol and drugs.
- If your loved ones become ill with a mood episode and
suddenly feel you are interfering, remember that the illness is affecting them.
- Know the warning signs of suicide. Take any threats as
real and serious.
- When they recover from an episode, let them to adjust
to life and don’t rush or neglect them.
- Treat them normally once they have recovered, but
watch for the symptoms.
Contact Sadag by calling 080 021 2223 or SMSing 31393. The line is open from 8am to
8pm, seven days a week. For more info visit www.sadag.org.