Lara Murray-Sterzel, Staff Writer |
Mental illness is a difficult topic to discuss. For many years, people have either feared or judged someone when they admit to having mental health concerns. But today, the medical field and the media have turned this topic of discussion into spreading awareness for these conditions. Oneonta’s National Alliance on Mental Illness, better known as NAMI, is the very example of that awareness. NAMI works to end the debilitating connotation often associated with mental awareness, spread awareness for health discussions, and promote activism.
On Thursday, Sep. 22, NAMI held a meeting discussing awareness and the stigma surrounding bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is an illness that causes dramatic shifts in a person’s mood, causing a series of high and low emotional states. Depending on the shifts, the mood changes can last a few days, a few weeks, or sometimes months. But in that time span people who have it can fall into depression which may lead to suicide. People who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder can be the young age of eighteen years old, according to NAMI. The alliance went on to explain that with a good treatment plan, people can live a good life with their illnesses.
There are ways to recognize signs of bipolar disorder. People who develop it show symptoms of difficult cognitive activity, rapid behavioral activity, frenzied speaking, lack of sleep, loss of interest, and feelings of pessimism. NAMI explained that people who have bipolar disorder seek treatment through therapy, medication, and self-management strategies. It was revealed at the meeting that it’s best for people who have bipolar disorder to stay away from drugs and alcohol. If they’re on medication the balance between the two can negatively affect them. After the discussion, NAMI shared more insight about bipolar disorder.
There’s nothing wrong with having a mental illness or knowing someone who does. As hard as it is to accept your health conditions, people want to help you. NAMI encourages students to visit the Counseling Center on campus or to come to them if they have any more questions.