Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bipolar Wellness Priorities (6-10)

This is the second installment of where I'd focus my energies and funds if I established a Bipolar Wellness organization.

6. Additional Treatment Options. There is evidence to suggest that biofeedback, hypnosis, light therapy, exercise, mindfulness meditation, and yoga (among others) would be helpful adjunctive treatment options. These options should be tested and implemented, and provided free of charge as they are for many cancer survivors.

7. Stress Management. It has been known for some time that stress has a huge relationship to this illness. Every bipolar depressive should be tested to determine how well or poorly he or she responds to stress. There should be a wide array of free stress management classes provided for BIPS.

8. Work-Related Help. Unemployment is a big problem for BIPS. Again, this should be the subject of major research studies. Specifically what are the difficulties in finding work and keeping jobs? Do people who suffer from depression need to do exercise every day at work in order to release stress? Do they need more sunlight than they can get inside? Are they better off working on a freelance basis or owning their own businesses? What kind of help do they need in order to resolve their problems at work? What kind of support services do they need? Should the government help subsidize grants to enable them to return to school for retraining or further education?

9.Insurance parity. The lack of insurance parity for this illness in the United States, and undoubtedly elsewhere, is a travesty. Every single person with bipolar disorder should be given health insurance at the normal rate, independent of his or her treatment options. Their bills should be paid in a timely fashion. The services they require should be covered in their policies.

10. Therapy. Due to the influence of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, there is a trend away from therapy and towards medication. This is wrong! For years, researchers have known that the combination of therapy and medication (or possibly other treatments) is the most effective treatment. Therapy fees should not exceed insurance payments.Bipolar consumers should be surveyed to determine what they feel are the most effective kinds of therapy. Do they favor behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy, psychoanalysis, or psychodynamic therapy?

What has been most effective for them? There should be discussions and research to determine the efficacy of providing alternative options, aside from face-to-face visits, for people who cannot drive to therapy sessions, who live in rural areas, or who work and cannot take time off.There should also be discussions and research to determine the qualifications for people who treat bipolar patients. Should there be a certification for people who specialize in bipolar disorder?

In addition to the standard medical school coursework, what knowledge-base would be most helpful to people who treat BIPS? What background should they have? What types of adjunctive therapy might be effective, including art therapy, movement therapy, writing therapy, drama therapy, cooking therapy, and play therapy, among others?


Howard said...

I would also advocate "voluntarism therapy." When I get really depressed, sometimes the only thing that helps is to get other-focused. That could be anything from reading a story to my kid's class at school to something more formal.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

I agree!

JayPeeFreely said...

Good ideas and thoughts.

I hadn't been by in a few days, but you've been a quite busy. ;)