How Multitasking Hurts Mental Health. Try This Instead
Here's what's happening on the HealthyPlace site this week:
- How Multitasking Hurts Mental Health. Try This Instead
- From the HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs
- Most Popular HealthyPlace Articles Shared by Facebook Fans
- Mental Health Quote
How can something that seems like a good idea hurt our mental health? Many of us multitask and feel good about it; we feel efficient and productive and capable. Yet the agitation and stress we often feel are our brain’s way of telling us that we don’t need to multitask, and we need to stop it altogether.
Studies find that multitasking hurts mental health. Trying to focus on multiple tasks at once can cause:
- Negative emotions
- Impatience, irritability
- Becoming easily upset
- Chronic stress
- Difficulty focusing, concentrating
You can stop multitasking to improve your mental health. Try these three ideas:
- Set shift. Described by Dr. Paul Hammerness and Margaret in their book Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life, set shifting is ending one task and intentionally shifting gears, placing your full attention on your next task.
- Mindfulness. Mindfulness involves being present. Fully attending to a single task is the opposite of multitasking.
- Recharge. Mindfully engaging in a hobby or something else enjoyable helps the brain become still, focused, and rested.
Our brain performs much better and happier when it focuses on one thing at a time. Shift from multitasking to mindful attentiveness and see what it does for your mental health.
Kubu, C. & Machado, A. (2017). Why multitasking is bad for you. Time. Retrieved June 2019 from https://time.com/4737286/multitasking-mental-health-stress-texting-depression/
Skerrett, P.J. (2012). Multitasking: A medical and mental hazard. Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Health Blog. Retrieved June 2019 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/multitasking-a-medical-and-mental-hazard-201201074063
Related Articles Dealing with Multitasking and Mental Health
- Do You Feel Forced to Multitask by Your Bipolar Brain?
- Depression and Attention, Concentration Problems
- How to Manage Adult ADHD and Impulsivity
- ADHD Adults Struggle to Focus
- Increase Focus with This One Minute Meditation
Today's Question: If you’re a multitasker, how does it impact your own mental health and wellbeing? We invite you to participate by sharing your thoughts, experiences, and knowledge on the HealthyPlace Facebook page.
On all our blogs, your comments and observations are welcomed.
- Mental Health Stigma Says There's Pride in Silence
- The Importance of Being Anxious
- Coping with a Lack of Support from Others
- Can You Build Self-Esteem Around Toxic People?
- Increasing Antipsychotic Medication Despite Weight Gain Risk
- Reduce Social Anxiety with This Mindfulness Meditation
- Negative Habits and Depression
- Setting Healthy Boundaries After an Abusive Relationship
- When You Have ADHD, Boredom Is Painful
- Mindfulness for Self-Harm: A DBT Skills Video
- Become an Advocate for Eating Disorder Awareness
- Taking Risks Is a Part of Mental Health Recovery
- How Learned Helplessness Causes Anxiety
- Can Medication Noncompliance in Bipolar Ever Be a Good Thing?
Feel free to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of any blog post. And visit the mental health blogs homepage for the latest posts.
Here are the top 3 mental health articles HealthyPlace Facebook fans are recommending you read:
- Is Summer Anxiety a Real Thing?
- We Understand Mental Illness Better by Reading Literature
- 3 Steps to Overcome Negative Self-Image
If you're not already, I hope you'll join us/like us on Facebook too. There are a lot of wonderful, supportive people there.
"Physically, I am here. Mentally, I am far, far away."
Read more bipolar quotes.
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Peterson, T. (2019, June 18). How Multitasking Hurts Mental Health. Try This Instead, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-health-newsletter/how-multitasking-hurts-mental-health-try-this-instead
What Are the Best Medications, Treatments for Bipolar Depression?
The best medications for bipolar depression are those that decrease symptoms of depression without inducing a manic or hypomanic episode. These medications can improve depression while keeping moods stable. Non-pharmaceutical treatments for bipolar depression have the same goals in mind, but additionally, they help people deal with the challenges, frustrations, and limitations of the disorder while developing coping skills to live well despite episodes of bipolar depression.
Bipolar depression treatment is usually a long-term approach. Mood stabilization, symptom reduction, and the development of coping strategies is best done with a combination of medication and psychotherapy.
Medication and psychotherapy are the primary approaches to treat bipolar depression; however, other treatments exist that can augment medication and therapy. These include complementary treatments like light therapy, brain stimulation procedures, peer support, and lifestyle changes.
Given the importance of medication in treating bipolar depression, let’s look at some of the best medications, some which you or a loved one might be prescribed.
Best Medication for Bipolar Depression
Multiple types of medication are used to treat bipolar depression; however, five stand out as first-line treatments. This means that medications in these groups are the go-to medications when a doctor has diagnosed bipolar depression.
Quetiapine (Seroquel) is an atypical antipsychotic and one of the first medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat bipolar depression. It does carry the risk of quite a few side effects, the most common of which are:
- Increased triglycerides in the blood
- Increased diastolic blood pressure
- Dry mouth
The top two side effects in combination with increased cholesterol and increased appetite, which are also common, can cause rapid weight gain and create secondary health problems. That said, not everyone will experience these side effects and keeping a close eye on weight and bloodwork can sometimes make these side effects manageable.
Olanzapine (Zyprexa) is an atypical antipsychotic that is FDA approved to treat bipolar depression. Olanzapine has proven success in reducing symptoms; unfortunately, this medication carries a risk of significant weight gain that can lead to type two diabetes and a dangerous health condition called metabolic syndrome. Sometimes, monitoring weight, eating healthy, and exercising can keep side effects to a minimum so you can continue to use olanzapine to reduce bipolar depression.
Cariprazine (Vraylar), is another atypical antipsychotic that can also be used to treat depression in bipolar disorder. Unlike the major metabolic concerns associated with quetiapine and olanzapine, with cariprazine, the main concern is involuntary movement disorders (extrapyramidal symptoms) with almost half of people taking the drug experiencing them. The most common specific side effects include:
- Parkinsonism (any condition that causes a combination of the movement abnormalities seen in Parkinson's disease, such as tremor, slow movement, impaired speech or muscle stiffness)
- Akathisia (a movement disorder characterized by a feeling of inner restlessness and a compelling need to be in constant motion, as well as by actions such as rocking while standing or sitting, lifting the feet as if marching on the spot, and crossing and uncrossing the legs while sitting)
The olanzapine-fluoxetine combination known as Symbyax is also FDA approved to treat bipolar depression. Because this medication is a combination of an atypical antipsychotic and an antidepressant, the list of common side effects experienced is extensive. The more common side effects include:
- Bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
- Body aches or pain
- Delusions (beliefs in things that aren’t true in spite of evidence to the contrary)
- Dryness or soreness of the throat
- Hoarseness; voice changes; trouble with swallowing
- Rapid weight gain
- Runny nose
- Shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
- Tender, swollen glands in the neck
- Tingling, trembling and/or shaking of the hands or feet
- Unusual weight gain or loss
While that list can seem daunting, it’s important to remember that an individual will typically only experience a subset of the above and the severity can range from mild to severe ("List of Bipolar Depression Medications and Their Side-Effects").
Lurasidone (Latuda) is one of the newer atypical antipsychotics approved to treat bipolar depression by the FDA. While it does have a number of adverse effects surrounding involuntary movement, these appear to be dose-related. In other words, if the following side effects are an issue, they may be relieved by decreasing the dose of lurasidone:
- Extrapyramidal disorder
- Fasting glucose increased
To be sure, there are other medications and a great many medication combinations that can be prescribed to help treat and prevent bipolar depression that are outside of the FDA approved list. Mood stabilizers, anticonvulsants, and antipsychotics are common starting categories, but each person is different and what works for one person may not work for the next. There is usually a period of trial-and-error as you and your doctor work together to discover what medications are best for you. Further, the body responds differently to medication over time, so adjustments in dose or types are often made as treatment continues.
Overall, medication is the best treatment for bipolar depression because medication works on the brain to meet the disorder at its source. Medication alone, though, is usually insufficient in thoroughly treating bipolar depression. Psychotherapy is extremely helpful in bipolar disorder treatment.
Best Treatment for Bipolar Depression: Therapy
While medication works at the neurological level to ease mood swings and depression symptoms, therapy allows you to process the frustrations of living with bipolar depression and to develop tools and coping skills to move forward.
Some of the helpful aspects of therapy include:
- Identifying negative thought patterns and replacing them with more positive ones
- Learning stress management skills
- Discovering your personal values and goals
- Creating a treatment plan to follow when depression strikes
- Learning how to chart your symptoms, mood, stress, and healthy lifestyle habits
- Learning depression-fighting techniques like mindfulness, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation
Bipolar depression makes life seem grim and hopeless. Working with a therapist can help you recover hope and create a life of purpose and meaning.
Living with bipolar depression is difficult, but you don’t have to remain stuck in its trap. Bipolar depression medication helps you reclaim your brain, and therapy helps you reclaim your life.
- Drugs.com, Symbyax Side Effects. Jan. 26, 2019. https://www.drugs.com/sfx/symbyax-side-effects.html
- Matsumoto, J. MD, Parkinsonism: Causes and Coping Strategies. Mayo Clinic. April 23, 2019. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/expert-answers/parkinsonism/faq-20058490
- Medscape, Cariprazine. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://reference.medscape.com/drug/vraylar-cariprazine-999874#4
- Medscape, Lurasidone. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://reference.medscape.com/drug/latuda-lurasidone-999605#4
- Medscape, Quetiapine. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://reference.medscape.com/drug/seroquel-xr-quetiapine-342984#4
- Shiel, W. MD, FACP, FACR, Medical Definition of Akathisia. MedicineNet. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=33264
- Soreff, S., Bipolar Disorder Treatment and Management. Medscape. May 30, 2019. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/286342-treatment#showall
Peterson, T. (2019, June 17). What Are the Best Medications, Treatments for Bipolar Depression?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-depression/what-are-the-best-medications-treatments-for-bipolar-depression
List of Bipolar Depression Medications and Their Side-Effects
A list of bipolar depression medications can be a useful reference to help you navigate the world of bipolar medication. After all, medication is often referred to as first-line treatment because it is the first remedy someone receives once they’ve received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The below bipolar depression medications list contains commonly prescribed drugs by category as well as information about their uses and side effects.
List of FDA-approved Bipolar Depression Medications
You’re about to see that numerous medications are prescribed to help bipolar depression. Only five, though, are FDA-approved medications for bipolar depression:
- Cariprazine (Vraylar) – an atypical antipsychotic approved for medical use in the United States in 2015
- Lurasidone (Latuda) – an atypical antipsychotic approved for medical use in the United States in 2010
- Olanzapine (Zyprexa) – an atypical antipsychotic approved for medical use in the United States in 1996
- Olanzapine-fluoxetine combination (Symbax) – an atypical antipsychotic and antidepressant combination approved for medical uses in the United States in 2003
- Quetiapine (Seroquel) – an atypical antipsychotic approved for medical use in the United States in 1997
While lurasidone, olanzapine, the olanzapine-fluoxetine combination, quetiapine and cariprazine are FDA approved for the treatment of bipolar depression, they’re not the only medications used. Many other medications may be used in treating the depression symptoms of this debilitating disorder. Sometimes anticonvulsants and other atypical antipsychotics are used to treat bipolar depression as is lithium (a mood stabilizer). Antidepressants are occasionally used but are contraindicated in many cases and should never be used without the addition of a medication that can act as mood stabilizer.
Bipolar Depression Medications List
Below is a list of commonly-prescribed medications used for bipolar depression, grouped by category. Each category in this list of bipolar depression medications contains multiple bipolar depression drugs.
Most side-effects are mild annoyances such as dry mouth, drowsiness, constipation, and sexual dysfunction. However, some of the newer, atypical antipsychotics—especially clozapine (Clozaril) and olanzapine (Zyprexa)—can cause significant weight gain that can contribute to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. First generation, typical psychotics, can cause problems with movement, a cluster of symptoms called extrapyramidal side effects.
- Aripiprazole (Abilify)
- Cariprazine (Vraylar)
- Clozapine (Clozaril)
- Lurasidone (Latuda)
- Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
- Quetiapine (Seroquel)
- Risperidone (Risperdal)
- Ziprasidone (Geodon)
Typical (first-generation) antipsychotics:
- Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
- Fluphenazine (Prolixin, Permitil)
- Fluepnthixol (Fluanxol)
- Haloperidol (Haldol)
- Zuclopenthixol (Opixol)
Anticonvulsants: These are used as mood stabilizers, preventing swings from depression to mania. Typical side-effects are weight gain, drowsiness, gastrointestinal discomfort, and dizziness.
- Carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol)
- Lamotrigine (Lamictal)
- Valproic acid (Depakote, Depakene, Stavzor)
- Topiramate (Topamax)
Antidepressants: This class of medication seems like a logical choice to treat bipolar depression; unfortunately, antidepressants can sometimes cause more problems than they solve. Sometimes, they induce mania or mixed episodes.
Side effects of antidepressants in general range from mild to serious. Fatigue, dizziness, constipation, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, reduced sex drive, blurred vision, and dry mouth can be irritating. If you experience any of these more serious symptoms, it’s important to contact your doctor right away: suicidal thoughts, increased depression, anxiety or panic, agitation or restlessness, hallucinations, increased irritability, and other signs that your mood is destabilizing.
While there are numerous classes of antidepressants, three are most likely to be used to treat bipolar depression. One type is the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs):
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro,Cipralex)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem)
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
Another antidepressant sometimes used with bipolar depression is the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs):
Tricyclic antidepressants include:
- Amitriptyline (Amitrip, Elevil, Endep, Levate, Amitril, Enovil)
- Amoxapine (Asendin)
- Clomipramine (Anafril)
- Desipramine (Norpramin, Pertofrane)
- Doxepin (Sinequan)
- Imipramine (Tofranil)
- Nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor)
Bipolar depression is often treated with a combination of medications. Usually, finding the blend of medications that work for you and your brain takes patience, trial-and-error, and open communication with your doctor. When you discover what works for you, bipolar depression medications tend to work well.
Peterson, T. (2019, June 17). List of Bipolar Depression Medications and Their Side-Effects, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-depression/list-of-bipolar-depression-medications-and-their-side-effects