In February's NV, Tom Goler said we parents must take good care of ourselves. I agree. However, I want to comment on his description of depression, bipolar disorder, addictions and eating disorders as “by-products of a lack of self-love.”
I wonder if Mr. Goler would say cancer, heart disease, or all other illnesses are by-products of a lack of self-love, too.
Tom Insel is the director of the National Institute of Mental Health. On February 24 he spoke at the City Club of Cleveland. Insel said mental illnesses should be thought of in the same way other illnesses are.
Ground-breaking researching conducted The Mood Disorders Research Program at UH Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University (UH/Case) sheds light on the causes of mental illnesses. When it comes to bipolar disorder, UH/Case doctors say one's genes, brain, and environment are factors.
Most health care practioners believe certain illnesses require medical attention. These include bipolar disorder and, in many cases, depression. These illnesses can lead to addictions, eating disorders and suicide. On the other hand, people with these conditions can lead wonderful lives if they get the right treatment.
Insel said that, each year, nearly 36,000 mentally ill people commit suicide. That's twice the number of annual homicides, he said. Also, a seriously mentally ill person is at risk of dying by age 55 of something other than her or his mental illness.
Because I know fear, shame, and ignorance about mental illness cause early death, to raise publich awareness, i wrote a feature on bipolar disorder in the October 2011 of Neighborhood Voice. It’s online at neighborhood-voice.com/health/understanding-bipolar-disorder.
In the feature, local psychiatrist Gary Wilkes says: “You don’t ask to get pneumonia or cancer or heart disease any more than you ask to be bipolar. It’s a real illness. You can’t treat it by yourself.”
I agree with Wilkes — mental illnesses are real. And as is true with other illnesses, even when you love yourself, you can have a mental illness.
To take part in UH research on depression or bipolar disorder call 216-844-2865. If you are considering suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Help Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).