We all want the best mental health, as well as physical well-being, for our sons and daughters when we send them off to college. But sometimes they depart with weighty baggage, either known or unknown, over which we, as parents, have little or no control. For example, some students that sailed off to college this past semester may have knowingly departed with a firm diagnosis of bipolar disease. Hopefully they have checked in with the campus health center and availed themselves of all possible educational, medical, and psychological services.
Chances are there were others, perhaps similar in some way to Loughner, who departed with a list of symptoms that have, if anything, increased in intensity or have not been shared with parents or dealt with in any organized manner. I recently came across an excellent resource for students who might be dealing with bipolar disease, or with symptoms they fear might be pointing in that direction http://bipolaryoungadult.com/ The book, Facing Bipolar by Russ Federman and Andy Thomson offers:
- a concise description of the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder
- a discussion of the essential combined role of psychotherapy and medication.
- an overview of the multiple complexities of living with bipolar disorder during late adolescence and young adulthood.
Along with the helpful advice on this youtube presentation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsq7QqIveak Drs. Federman and Thomson stress that "it's important you know that a healthy and balanced life with bipolar disorder is possible." While all forms of mental illness may not be so easily managed, early diagnosis and treatment of any mental illness will lead to a better quality of life and perhaps prevent tragedies in the future.