Professional Advice for Family Members w/ Loved Ones Suffering from Addiction

The following is an interview with Thomas Foley, CADC, Clinical Director of BioCare Recovery, which is a drug rehabilitation treatment center in Pennsylvania. This interview reflects the personal and professional opinions and advice of Thomas Foley only and not those of iamafighter. Please read with individual discretion, and always consult a licensed healthcare professional before implementing anything that you read on the internet.

What is addiction? How is it defined?

support group for family member of addict

iamafighter’s anonymous support group for family members and friends of addicts has over 300 members!

Each individual will have an understanding of addiction based on their own life experiences and observations.  This personal understanding can be useful in navigating through the addiction and recovery process with a loved one.  It is important to balance that subjective experience with the objective, fact-based, scientifically-supported, boiled-down-to-brass-tax, straightforward definition of the pathology of addiction.  Here is a basic definition: Substance addiction is a chronically relapsing brain disorder that has been characterized by (1) compulsion to seek and take the substance, (2) loss of control in limiting intake, and (3) emergence of a negative emotional state (eg, dysphoria, anxiety, irritability) reflecting a motivational withdrawal syndrome when access to the drug is prevented. Drug addiction has been conceptualized as a disorder that involves elements of both impulsivity and compulsivity that yield a composite addiction cycle composed of three stages: ‘binge/intoxication’, ‘withdrawal/negative affect’, and ‘preoccupation/anticipation’ (craving) (Koob & Volkow 2010).

How does a person develop addiction?

A majority of people will at some time in their life experiment with and/or casually use some substance.  The main factors that determine whether a person will try a drug are 1. Perceived risk associated with using versus expected benefit and 2. Availability.  This is why most individuals’ first experience will be with Alcohol, Marijuana and Tobacco.  When we are teenagers, which is when most people begin to experiment, these are the substances that are perceived as less risky and also have greater availability for that age group.  The main risk factors that determine heightened probability of addiction include:  1. Genetics- your family history, 2. Age- when you start taking drugs (the earlier experimentation begins, the higher the possibility of addiction developing) 3. Family (including abuse, neglect and traumatic experiences in childhood), as well as Social Environment (including access to drugs) and 4. Types of drugs used. Risk factors for becoming addicted, like other conditions and diseases, vary from person to person (NCADD 2014).
family member of addict support group

iamafighter is a 24/7, anonymous resource available for free at iamafighter.com and in the app stores!

How do I know if someone is addicted?

The complexity of addiction combined with some cultural stigma that has been attached to substance use disorders can make it difficult to recognize & accept that a loved one in addicted.  The most basic qualitative measurement to determine if someone has become addicted is “CONTINUED SUBSTANCE USE DESPITE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES.”  The severity of these consequences will vary from person to person.  Oftentimes the phrase “functional addict” will be mistakenly attached to a person.  This is a fallacy. By its definition, addiction creates disruption on functioning in several areas of a person’s life.  Families/friends and treatment providers can fall into a method of thinking that minimizes obvious damage that is incurred by overestimating levels of functioning in other areas of a person’s life.  The progressive nature of addiction dictates that eventually symptoms will progress without appropriate interventions.  Additionally, addiction isn’t defined by the frequency or the amount of substance used, it is measured by the impact on a person’s life when they take a substance.
“…eventually symptoms will progress without appropriate interventions.  Additionally, addiction isn’t defined by the frequency or the amount of substance used, it is measured by the impact on a person’s life when they take a substance.”

Since treatment didn’t work the first time (or second, third, fourth, or fifth), what’s the point in trying again?

For some, long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol or drugs may start after their first mutual aid/self-help meeting or with the first time they go to treatment.  But, like other chronic illnesses, recovery from addiction requires a life-long commitment to a program of change.  For some, relapse back to active use of alcohol or drugs may play a critical role in their rededication to their recovery.
“For some, relapse back to active use of alcohol or drugs may play a critical role in their rededication to their recovery.”
So, relapse can be a signal to get back on track, either by going back to meetings, treatment or adjusting the treatment approach  (NCADD 2014).  A chronic illness requires consistent intervention.  The frequency and intensity of intervention is determined by the person’s desire to engage in making changes and the current severity of their disease.  One of the most difficult aspects of treatment, recovery and relapse for families is remaining an emotionally supportive presence in the person’s life.  It can be challenging to maintain balance between being an emotional support, not enabling addictive behaviors and staying involved in a loved one’s recovery due to the pain/hurt addiction has (and may be continuing) to cause.  It is important to remember, a person actively using drugs may do/say anything to facilitate their continued access to their drug of choice.  Being supportive means recognizing that and providing consistent support without stigmatizing their loved one’s suffering or enabling their disease to progress.  All of the emotions felt by family members are valid and deserve to be recognized because they are real consequences of the disease process.  Furthermore, the family deserves the chance to have their loved one healthy and functioning.  It is advisable to seek support from professionals and from grassroots organizations compiled of other friends, family members, spouses etc who have been down the same road.
iamafighter family member of addict support

iamafighter offers over two dozen color-coded support groups. The “Family/Friend of Addict” group is our magenta group and currently has over 300 members.

LETTER TO MY PAST: one fighter reflects on rock-bottom and what they wish they had known

The iamafighter blog is back from summer break and to celebrate, we are publishing a hard-hitting Letter to my Past from an anonymous fighter.

Trigger Warning: mention of suicide, rape, bullying, addiction, anxiety and depression

Disclaimer: iamafighter does not provide suicide prevention services of any kind, at any time, to any person. If you or someone you know is thinking about harming themselves, please contact medical professionals or call 911 immediately.

Dear Past Self,

Suicide’s looking like a pretty good idea to you right now.

I know you’ve been eyeing that ceiling fan more times than you’d ever admit.

Don’t give up.

You know that feeling, deep-down at the core of you– the place you’ve only scratched in those moments of your absolute darkest despair?

That part of you whispering “You cannot be going through this for nothing” is telling the truth.

There is a purpose. And I don’t even think I know what it is fully yet.

But I think I’m getting close…

We search for meaning our entire lives, but more than search for meaning, we try to avoid pain.

But our pain can reveal to us our meaning. And it will with you.

“But our pain can reveal to us our meaning. And it will with you.”

Honey, that lecture your sister gave you in the car that day will save your life. When she looked at you and asked “You would really put our family through another suicide?”

The guilt from that lecture and all the spite you have for your bullies, in that you desperately don’t want them to know how much they’ve truly gotten to you, will keep you alive, dear one.

And thus, you will eventually learn: There is a purpose for everything… even things that appear quite ugly.

Your rape, dear one.

Your pain, dear one.

Your bullying, your unease, your general feeling of isolation in every form at all times… It will all present itself back to you in the form of a beautiful lesson if you just do what you don’t want to do but know that you need to do: and stick around.

You will. After all, dear one, you’re a fighter. But it won’t be easy.

You come face-to-face with all the pain from the gates of Hell that a 21 year-old girl can handle without utterly collapsing.

And one day- like today as I write this- you are grateful for every bit of it.

It’s not that I sit here writing you, claiming to want more struggle. But the purpose of struggle has been revealed to me. To us. Eventually. And finally.

And, to test your characteristic lack of patience, I will not tell you what it is. You just need to have faith. The purpose is worth it. Just remember that.

And you will. Because you didn’t even need me to write this to tell you that.

Today I’m the strongest we’ve ever been, but I look back on you and am impressed. My God, your ability to tolerate pain is remarkable…

I know I went through it once, back when I was You. But sometimes I wonder if I could handle going through it all over again…

Only at our weakest do we realize the source and the magnitude of our strength.

“Only at our weakest do we realize the source and the magnitude of our strength.”

So although, dear one, life seems to be gripping you around the neck and squeezing… This won’t last forever. And there’s a point to it.

I hope that you remember that in all painful events in the years to come- break-ups, lay-offs, addiction, anxiety, crushing fear… In any negativity, remember this: This won’t last forever. And there’s a point to it.

I didn’t need to write you to tell you this. Because you already knew. Somehow.

Somehow you already knew because the voice telling you that existed back then, perhaps so that I may write you this now. You live. And you wake up most days happy. (I promise. And I swear.)

You are going to change lives, girl. The first and foremost being your own.

Good or bad: It won’t last forever. And there is a point to it. But, you already knew that.

I’m writing to tell you that I’m here for you… and that I will never give up on you. It’s you and me until the end, no matter who or what else may fall to the side.

And you didn’t know that. Even until recently, we didn’t know that.

So allow me to inform you, Past Self: I’m not going anywhere… even when others do. You will always have Me. It will always be us. And we’re stronger than we think we are.

We’re fighters, after all.

Love,

Your Future Self

LETTER TO MY PAST: overcoming an abusive relationship and a partner’s addiction

As iamafighter exceeded the 1,000-fighter mark earlier this week, we are celebrating by highlighting another one of our amazing fighters, as they talk about coming out of an abusive relationship with a person struggling with addiction, sharing what they know now… iamafighter offers free and anonymous support groups for abusive relationships and coping with a loved one’s addiction, among over two dozen other support groups.

Dear past self,

Life can change in an instant.

When you get that Facebook message from that boy you hooked up with when you were 17, apologizing for not texting you after that night, you don’t have to answer him.  You also don’t have to forgive him for that.  Even if you do, you don’t have to let him call you.  I mean, he told you what happened.   He used dope and crack, he went crazy and went to jail.

It’s going to start this whole big mess that you aren’t even going to want to know about.

You guys are going to start dating, and it is going to go way too fast. After about two months of dating, he’s going to over-dose, which obviously means he was using without telling you.  Listen to me, DO NOT forgive him.

You are going to anyway because you are the nicest, most forgiving person in the world but you really shouldn’t be.  You will learn though.  I promise you that.  So, after that he says he stopped using and fine.  You believe him.  You decide to move-in together.  Mistake numero dos.  He cheats on you and you collapse into this miserable person, who is totally not you.  You cry everyday and you barely even smile.  You don’t even sing anymore.

It’s really sad:  You think you need him. You think if you break up with him, you won’t find anyone else.  ‘No one will ever love you besides him.’  This drug-addicted, abusive, shell of a man.  That is not true.  In fact, it is the total opposite!  You will find someone amazing when it is the time.

Alas, you stay with him.  Eventually, he overdoses again and of course, you forgive him.  Now he’s using every day.  He’s using your car to get to Newark to get drugs.  Which, eventually he returns your car totaled.  When he’s dope sick, you even get him suboxone.  You are such a caring person to him and he couldn’t even give two shits about you.  Girl, you should have been out the door but you keep thinking that no one will love you and you will be alone forever so you stay with him.

I’m going to tell you this right now, when you put your feet down and don’t let him use your car, he is going to hit you, he is going to spit on you and strangle you.  He is going to call you names.  You need to leave.  You are so strong.  You are stronger than you think you are!

The only time I found out how strong I was when I got away from him!  It was the best thing I could have ever done.

iamafighter offers free support groups for abusive relationships, dealing with loved ones' addictions and more...

“You are like a phoenix; you have risen from the ashes.”

The only time I found out how strong I was when I got away from him!  It was the best thing I could have ever done.

Unfortunately, you stay with him for months longer, in total you are together for a year and a half.  He broke up with me in Febuary of this year.  That’s ok though!  It’s better than ok.  It was the best thing that could ever happen to you!  YOU GOT AWAY!  Yes, it was hard.  You cried and cried for at least 3 weeks.  Yes, you drank a lot of wine and beer.  You also found out who your true friends were.  You found out how freaking strong of a person you really are!  I know you always considered yourself weak, especially since we cry at hallmark commercials and cat commercials!  However, we are so strong!

We got out of a physically and verbally abusive relationship!  We also went to court, and spoke to a judge about our experience and got a restraining order!  We will never have to hear from him again.  You are liberated and you are starting your life anew!  You have a job now and you are so much more responsible and mature than you have ever been!  Now, I’m going to be honest: There are going to be nights when you are laying in bed and he is going to pop up.  You ARE going to miss him.  You are going to wonder what the F$%! is wrong with you.  I am still trying to figure this out.  The only answer I have right now, is that it is NORMAL.  Baby girl, you are NORMAL.

There are going to be nights when you go out and you see couples together and you are going to want to cry.  You are going to think “it’s been months, why am I still missing him, why am I so sad being so alone.”  One word:  NORMAL.

I am still trying to be okay with myself before we can be in a relationship or even think about that.  I promise you, I am trying though, as hard as I can.  No matter how much time passes, things will still trigger memories.  But, memories are okay.  Without this whole experience, you would have never become so independent and mature.  Most importantly, you wouldn’t have realized how strong of a female you are. I am so, so proud of the person you have become.  You are like a phoenix; you have risen from the ashes.

You lost twenty pounds and you are trying to lose more. And you are working on your self confidence.  If there was one more thing I could tell you: it would just be to love yourself as much as you possibly can.  You are an amazing, loving, forgiving person and anyone would be lucky to know you.  You are a fighter.

You are a fighter.

Love, your future self

abusive relationship support groups

iamafighter is a recovery network of over two dozen support groups, including those for abusive relationships, dealing with loved ones struggling with addiction and more…

LETTER TO MY PAST: one fighter’s brave advice to their past self

The following is a letter written by an anonymous fighter. The courage with which this fighter speaks about tough issues, like sexual abuse, shame and depression, is nothing less than remarkable.

Trigger Warning: sexual abuse, self-harm/cutting, depression & bullying

Dear Past Self,
 
You are so young and yet so filled with hurt. All your life you have let others push you around and bully you. Know that one day you do rise above them. Know that you are worth more than the opinions of small-minded people.
Know that you are worth more than the opinions of small-minded people…
They did not deserve your time and you rid them from your life when you’re older.
On the day that you decide to spill your blood with a blade, know that you are far stronger than the urge. When the tears spill down your cheeks, do not use physical pain to chase them away. You are far stronger than that.
You are a beautiful human being – you are not ugly by any stretch of the imagination. When the boy you like tells you you are, do not listen to him. He is one of those small-minded people. He doesn’t see your true worth and beauty. Do not let others form your own opinion of yourself. You are beautiful and worthy regardless of what they think.

Do not let others form your own opinion of yourself. 

Don’t worry, you won’t let those teenagers bully you into silence. It only makes your voice louder than before. You get through it and come out stronger. They couldn’t hold you down for too long anyway: it’s impossible to snuff out the fire in you.
On the day the door creaks open and you know what’s going to happen to you… do not blame yourself for keeping clenched fists around the bedsheet instead of fighting back. Do not be angry with yourself for being ‘weak.’ You were wronged. You were a child. That guilt is not your burden to carry.
You were wronged. You were a child. That guilt is not your burden to carry.
When you decide to start recovery, understand that you are undoing years of damage. Do not expect every therapy session to be smooth. The fact that it is hard is proof enough that you are doing it right. Don’t give up on recovery.
Don’t give up on recovery.
You will stumble and sometimes you will fall but you always pick yourself back up because at the end of the day, it is worth it. You are worth it.
On the day that your “best friend” tells you that you are using your depression as a way to get attention, run as far away as you can. You don’t need her in your life and as of this moment, you have almost entirely removed her from your life. You do find better friends and you do deserve them. Even though sometimes you may feel like you don’t, know that you do.
When you feel like your world is crashing around you, know that you come out stronger than ever before.
Years of horrible friends and a narcissistic, abusive father has taught you that you are nothing, that you do not deserve love. Years of people abandoning you when you need them the most has taught you that you are not worth anyone’s time. Know that this. is. a. lie. You are an amazing person and you never, ever deserved what has happened to you. You were wronged and you were blamed for your abuser’s actions. You have been held down and ridiculed and guilted into silence. Know that you can get through this.
When you feel like your world is crashing around you, know that you come out stronger than ever before.
You are a phoenix rising from her ashes. You are in the flames but remember, there is life after you become undone. You rise. And you are strong.
Chin up. You’ve got this.
-Your Future Self
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iamafighter is a new recovery social network with over two dozen color-coded support groups, including those for Sexual Abuse, Depression, Bullying and Self-Harm. 24/7 help from the privacy of any of your devices. Get help. Give help. Fight through. Fight together.

“Surfing”

I walk outside

and the full moon glares

vacantly

down at me.

 

As if grinning

at the mischief

that it coyly inflicted upon my day.

 

Like the moon

pulls the tides,

it, too, pulled out of me

memories of that morning

before I was raped,

images of the scene

crashing down on me like waves.

 

Stale emotions hang

in the air like salt.

The presence

both hurting

& healing my wounds.

 

The full moon

glares down at me

with objectivity,

as I attempt

to ride the waves that it’s produced.

 

About the Poet

TrishaLuluWiles is the founder of iamafighter, a poet and a writer, whom frequently contributes personal written pieces to the iamafighter blog. Trisha belongs to the Rape and PTSD support groups on iamfighter, among others, and you may find her there (and on most social networks) under the handle @TrishaLuluWiles.

LETTER TO MY PAST: one fighter’s brave advice to their past self

The following is a letter written by an anonymous fighter. The letter is written in three parts, as this fighter shares their present wisdom and advice to their respective middle-school, high school and college versions of themselves…

 

Dear sad, lonely middle schooler:

A day will come when you are confronted by a friend, to see how ‘brave’ you are. You will be asked to take a needle used for Family and Consumer Science class to cut your wrist. You don’t need to prove how brave you are to anyone. You are the bravest person I know.

You don’t need to prove how brave you are to anyone. You are the bravest person I know.

Your so-called “friends” will repay you for your endless loyalty by not standing up to a piece of dirt who wants to destroy you. He will hurt you more than anyone ever could. He will call you names, he will degrade you, and your “friends” will do nothing. He will make all of your “friends” hate you. A boy will stand up for you. He will help build you back up. Keep your chin up, because it won’t matter what these people think. You know who you are. You know the truth. Don’t let their lies or hate get to you.

 

Dear hurt, angry and fickle high schooler:

When boys break up with you, it isn’t your fault. They just don’t understand how to deal with a strong, driven and independent person. They will break your heart, but it’s only to show you how perfect your husband will be. (He is perfect for you, by the way!)

There will be one boy that will come along during your worst time. He will understand you, and he will help you see that you are not alone. He is broken too, in his own way. He will break your heart and you will harm yourself one last time. Yes! I said last time.

When your mom asks you why you are using so many band aids, don’t lie. She knows already and it is killing her. She has this sixth sense for her babies; she will know every time you need her. Just tell her. Tell her everything. She will know what to do.

Just tell her. Tell her everything. She will know what to do.

The therapist lady is okay, she will help you figure out why you are so messed up. Yeah, you already know why, but it helps to have someone lead you there. Your biological father is a piece of crap. But, that isn’t your fault. You have the most amazingly supportive family, and you don’t need that dirt bag. It’s okay to write him off. You owe him nothing!

The rest of high school will suck. Nobody ever really understands you, but it is their loss. Don’t let them get to you. You will find better in a few years. Don’t let your hate for the people make you hate the place though: you will be able to go back at reunions with your head held high because you become someone.

 

Dear lost, empty and confused college student:

You will have your last low. You will hang out with the wrong people, you will make the biggest mistake of your life. This is when you finally become the person you are destined to be. They say it is always darkest before dawn, and for you it will be. Don’t beat yourself up over it, because without this moment you would have never risen. You are only human, so accept your mistakes and learn from them.

One last piece of advice: never let anyone control who you are. You have the power to become whoever you want.

One last piece of advice: never let anyone control who you are. You have the power to become whoever you want. Just be yourself, if people don’t like you then you don’t like them. You are loud, you are strong, you are independent, and you will make one heck of a wife/mother.

I love you, I love your mistakes, and I will see you soon.

Love,
Your happy, care-free, future self.

iamafighter ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP: Bipolar

What Bipolar Is 
bipolar support group online

iamafighter provides a free, anonymous bipolar support group online. Help is now available 24/7. (Artwork courtesy of @BPDNutjob on the iamafighter network)

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (MIMH), bipolar disorder (which is often, also called “manic-depression illness”) is a disorder of the brain which causes atypical shifts in mood, energy and activity levels, as well as the ability to carry-out otherwise ordinary, everyday tasks. The severity of bipolar symptoms often range in severity, but are notably different than the usual “ups and downs” in the average person’s life.

What Causes Bipolar

Like many classifications and diagnoses in mental health, most scientists acknowledge that there is no one single known cause for bipolar. Instead, similar to many other mental illnesses, a range of potential factors are suspected to act together to bring about bipolar in an individual. These include:

Family History

                Studies have shown that children with a parent or sibling who has bipolar disorder have an increased likelihood of developing the disorder when compared to those children who do not have a family history of mental illness, particularly bipolar; this according to the NIMH.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, otherwise known as the DBS Alliance, estimates that more than two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder have at least one close relative with the illness or with unipolar major depression.

bipolar online support group

iamafighter is a free community of over two dozen color-coded support groups. The peach Bipolar support group currently has over 200 members on it.

Brain Structure

                According to the NIMH, there is significant scientific evidence to show that the structure and functionality of the brain of a person with bipolar disorder operates in a different way than typical. For example, a recent MRI study found that “the brain’s prefrontal cortex in adults with bipolar disorder tends to be smaller and function less well (when) compared to adults who do not have bipolar disorder.” The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain which handles “executive” functions, such as decision-making and problem-solving. However, it is important to note that this region of the brain often matures and develops during adolescence, and so environmental factors, such as abuse and/or drug/alcohol use, may be at-play, as well.

 

Environmental Factors

                Like many mental illnesses, disorders and abnormalities, the manifestation of bipolar may have circumstantial and environmental roots, as well. Any trauma experienced, mind-altering substance used, or any other personally/subjectively experienced influences constitute as “environmental factors” and have shown to have correlations with the manifestation of bipolar.

How Often Bipolar Occurs

Approximately 2.6% of the U.S. population is affected by bipolar disorder, affecting women and men at equal rates, but manifesting in different ways with women more likely to experience rapid cycling, according to the DBS Alliance.

Why It Matters

In addition to the inherent difficulties that individuals with bipolar face, 50% of people with bipolar abuse drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol, in these cases, are used as means to self-medicate away the symptoms of (often undiagnosed) bipolar disorder.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 1 in 5 persons with bipolar disorder later commit suicide. Proper identification and treatment of the disorder can significantly reduce those odds.

Symptoms

It is important to categorize the symptoms of bipolar according to the two fluctuations in which bipolar manifests- mania and depression:

Manic Symptoms

Extreme, baselessness irritability**

Feelings of euphoria and invincibility**

Rapid speech**

Trouble sleeping or inability to sleep**

Hallucinations**

Dangerous/Impulsive behavior, such as driving at 100mph on the highway, engaging in risky sex or going on exorbitant spending sprees**

Drug/alcohol abuse

Depressive Symptoms

Lack of interest in life, hobbies & loved ones**

Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness**

Sleeping too much**

Changes in eating habits**

Thoughts of suicide**

** denotes a symptom that also occurs with various substance abuse

Screening

(Note: A gender bias exists in the screening process for bipolar disorder: women are far more likely to be misdiagnosed with depression, and men are far more likely to be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia (DBSA, 2000).)

According to the NIMH: When getting a diagnosis, a doctor or health care provider should conduct a physical examination, an interview, and lab tests. Currently, bipolar disorder cannot be identified through a blood test or a brain scan, but these tests can help rule out other factors that may contribute to mood problems, such as a stroke, brain tumor, or thyroid condition. If the problems are not caused by other illnesses, your health care provider may conduct a mental health evaluation or provide a referral to a trained mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, who is experienced in diagnosing and treating bipolar disorder.

Treatment

Treatment options exist, and it is important to choose the one (or more than one) that best suit you.

The following are recommended treatment methods for bipolar disorder from across the internet:

  1. Support Groups, such as the iamafighter Bipolar support group- There is strength in numbers and a level of understanding among fellow sufferers that is hard to come by elsewhere. In a support group, whether online or local, people who struggle with bipolar can connect and discuss the trials of the illness, successes in recovery, as well as the best practices that they’ve found for managing the disorder’s symptoms and reclaiming their lives. The iamafighter online Bipolar support group is a free resource (open to ages 13 and up) that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on iamafighter.com, as well as through the iamafighter Apple and Android apps.
  2. Psychotherapy- When in doubt, see a professional. Psychotherapy, which is simply a scary-sounding phrase for “speaking with a professional in the mental health field, can provide support, education and guidance to a person struggling with bipolar disorder.
  3. Medication- Medication, when properly prescribed, dispensed and taken can be a very effect tool in managing the symptoms of bipolar. This whole process should be overseen by a trustworthy medical professional.
  4. Herbal Supplements and Holistic Approaches- According to the NIMH, studies have recently shown that Omega-6 fatty acids, commonly found in cold-pressed flaxseed oil, chia seeds, as well as fish oil, can aid in the reduction of bipolar symptoms and cycling. Yoga and meditation have, also, been shown to noticeably improve the mental health of individuals with varying types and degrees of mental illness.

About the iamafighter Bipolar Online Support Group…

iamafighter is an online support community with over two dozen color-coded support groups, including one for people with Bipolar. With almost 200 members, iamafighter seeks to reduce the stigma, while providing a safe place for people to connect on important topics. iamafighter does NOT sell or provide your personal information, including support group membership, to outside parties.