Category Archives: Coping skills

Symptoms of Bipolar Mood Disorders and how to cope.

Symptoms of Bipolar mood disorders by James E. DelGenio LCPC

Negative rumination i.e. negative thoughts on repeat often cause conflict in relationships.  Physical distraction of any kind will help some, i.e. cardio work, chores, walking, hobbies. If these don’t help you will need to consider medication.

Overwhelmed with anxiety, panic, depression. This causes lack of motivation and loss of interest.  Need for medication is a must.

Changes in the sleep wake cycle esp. little or no sleep.  Could be heading for a manic episode. Often caused by non-compliance with the medication or alcohol use and abuse.

Isolation and withdrawal from friends and family.  We all need social contacts for good mental health. Look at the pandemic!

Alcohol use or abuse. Either way alcohol and mood disorders do not mix. Alcohol is a depressant and it will increase your anxiety. Don’t drink; you will feel better!

Little or no impulse control; Risky behavior, such as sex, reckless driving.

Uncontrolled spending w/o regard for ability to pay.

Racing thoughts and speech, grandiosity, invincibility.

Verbally abusive to others.  Conflictual relationships. Never permit physical abuse; report it. Get out!  Go to a shelter but get out.

Denial, No need for help or medication! Can’t trust your own thoughts. Need reality testing with friends and family to get past denial.

Hopelessness, thoughts of suicide.

Medication is as necessary as insulin is to a diabetic.  It’s just genetics with faulty chemistry.

About my free E-Book: Manage your Mood.

By James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC

Manage your mood (or it will manage you!)

The challenge in writing about mood disorders and the impact on relationships for the general public is that the best and most productive discussions are normally face-to-face. My goal then is to establish a rapport with you. It is just one reason why I have woven some of my personal life experiences into this work. As you will see, we all experience life’s ups and downs. Download the book by simply entering your email at manageyourmood.net. It’s free!

Convention Used in this Book
I am not going to fill your head with medical jargon, so relax. In a straightforward way, we will explore together:
• Mood disorder, what is it and what causes it?
• Symptoms of mood disorders.
• Impact on relationships
• What you need to know.
• How to manage symptoms and improve coping skills.
• How to begin the journey to be well.
• The role of family in treatment of a loved one.

We will also look at common marital and relationship issues.
• Common marital issues.
• Tips for addressing conflict in any relationship.
• Rules for conflict and engagement.
• Benefits of premarital counseling.

For your convenience, there are also some easy to use forms which will help you track your progress.
• Doctor reporting form.
• Weekly review of consistency to help structure your week.

What you will learn. Manage your mood disorder or it will manage you!
• Psycho-education, what you need to know.
• Coping skills and symptom management.
• Common relationship issues and tips.
• Inspiration to find the right balance and enjoyment in your life.
• It is no one’s fault unless you do nothing.
• Practical guidance and goal setting.

This book does not replace treatment.

This book is designed to help you understand, control and maintain good mental health when dealing with mood and relationship issues. You can use this book to gain deeper understanding, but it is NOT a replacement for therapy. Many mood disorders require a psychiatrist to access the need for medication and a skilled therapist to guide one through the process of learning how to be well. If medication is a part of the treatment regimen, it often provides a very necessary foundation for the experiential learning done with the therapist. In some instances, without medication, treatment with a therapist will be less effective or possibly ineffective.

With or without the need for medication, guided experiential learning with a skilled therapist is essential for management of symptoms and their impact on your daily life and relationships. The therapist holds the client accountable by setting measurable goals and encouraging the practice of the appropriate management and coping skills. Since there is no taking a day off from management, weekly discussion with a therapist will help the client learn to identify issues, set and review goals and maintain stability. Only with weekly review of consistency with a skilled therapist will one learn true management of their disorder. As one gains mastery over their symptoms, frequency of treatment with the therapist may be stepped down. Eventually, treatment may be discontinued or simply reduced to as needed.

Note: Alcohol and substance dependence may require additional services and ongoing supports.

Zoom! Now I can work via Zoom with anyone, anywhere in the country and it may still be covered by BCBS Insurance. Check with your BCBS representative for more information.

For those in the metropolitan Chicago area, I have offices in Millennium Park on Michigan Avenue, and near 22nd St and Wolf Road in Westchester. Call James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC, Senior Staff Therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, 847-733-4300 Ext 638.

http://manageyourmood.net
http://family-institute.org
http://psychologytoday.com
http://takenotelessons.com    Highly effective on line, one on one, SAT, ACT, GRE, standardized test preparation, via face time or skype.

Disclaimer: This material is meant to be used in conjunction with psychiatric treatment, medication, if necessary, and supportive therapy. Always share this material and your questions about this material with your doctor and therapist.

The Family Institute at Northwestern University

James DelGenio LCPC is a senior staff therapist who offers teletherapy and accepts BCBS PPO Insurance.  Teletherapy is HIPPA approved via Zoom.com 

His services include: Individual and family counseling, marital and premarital counseling, and treatment of mood disorders and dependence.

Locations include Millennium Park (Michigan Avenue), and WestchesterTeletherapy anywhere via zoom.  HIPPA approved and accepted by BCBS PPO Insurance.

TFI is a unique not-for-profit organization that is leading the way in all facets to strengthen and heal families from all walks of life through clinical service, education and research. No other institution brings together such a concentration of knowledge, expertise and academic credentials to help improve the lives of people in the Chicago area and around the globe.

As a practicing Psychotherapist for over 40 years, I employ a variety of clinical approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in the treatment of couples, families and individuals.

Individual Practice: Assessment and treatment of anxiety, stress, panic, trauma, anger, grief, depression, mood disorders, mental illness and alcohol/substance abuse.

Marriage and Family Practice: Lack of intimacy, infidelity, poor communication, conflict over finances, lack of trust, parenting and behavior issues, premarital and divorce issues.

Specialization: Treatment of couples, depression and its impact on relationships and the family.

Not in the Chicago Area! Now I can work via face time with anyone, anywhere in the country and it may still be covered by BCBS Insurance. Check with your BCBS representative for more information.

For those in the metropolitan Chicago area, I have offices in Millennium Park on Michigan Avenue, and near 22nd St and Wolf Road in Westchester. Call James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC, Senior Staff Therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, 847-733-4300 Ext 638.

http://manageyourmood.net
http://family-institute.org
http://psychologytoday.com
http://takenotelessons.com   Highly effective on line one on one, SAT, ACT, GRE, standardized test preparation, via face time or skype.

Disclaimer: This material is meant to be used in conjunction with psychiatric treatment, medication, if necessary, and supportive therapy. Always share this material and your questions about this material with your doctor and therapist.

How to Cope with a mood disorder without Medication?

James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC

How to cope with a mood disorder.

It is good to have fun. Have fun! People with mood disorders often become engrossed in the past, consumed with depression and anxiety. They tend to have negative thoughts that just repeat over and over again. Learning to cope takes experiential learning with a CBT therapist.

Recreation and exercise

Recreation and exercise play a key role in management of symptoms. Especially cardio exercise such as walking is good maintenance of depression, anxiety and panic symptoms.  These are a great distraction when one is experiencing symptoms. Any physical activity is likely to be therapeutic.  Join a park district team, like softball or volley ball.  It’s a good social activity too!

Social activity

Regular social activity is important and healthy; get out with people at least 3 times per month. Consider joining the Park district, volunteering, church groups and activities, or working a shelter.  Find something!  Avoid alcohol.

Hobbies

Get a hobby!  Hobbies to consider? Try paint by number. It’s easy but it takes concentration.  Helps deal with negative thoughts and repeat that often accompany depression. You can also walk away easily by simply rinsing out the brush.  Plan 1/2 half hour per day.

Chores

Even chores can also help with distraction. Make a schedule of chores, and stick to it.  Monday is vacuming, Tuesday is laundry, etc.. This also helps keep your living environment healthy.

Distraction from symptoms is an important coping skill. The tendency to isolate and withdraw also need to be overcome. The Internet, video games, TV or reading, generally do not qualify as distraction for most individuals.

Planning is key because mood disorders require structure. If you are going to have a good weekend, you will need to plan ahead to meet your exercise and social goals.

Unfortunately, sometimes these are just not enough, therefore medication will need to be considered.

When to consider medication?

I am sorry to have to say this but moderate to severe mood disorders require medication to control the symptoms. It’s all about chemistry. If you are diabetic, you would take insulin; you wouldn’t like it but you would do it.  This is no different.  It is just a chemical imbalance.

When coping skills don’t work, you will need to reconsider seeing a doctor and getting on medication. Even with medication, however, you will still need to practice coping skills.  Medication does 6o% and coping skills do the rest.  In these instances, the medication becomes the foundation and will help the coping skills work effectively.

For those in the metropolitan Chicago area, I have offices in Millennium Park on Michigan Avenue, and near 22nd St and Wolf Road in Westchester. Call 847- 733-4300 Ext 638.

James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC

http://jimdelgenio.com
http://family-institute.org
http://psychologytoday.com

Disclaimer: This material is meant to be used in conjunction with psychiatric treatment, medication and supportive therapy. Always share this material and your questions about this material with your doctor and therapist.

What are the Leading Causes of Relapse to Symptoms of Depression?

James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC    Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

The Leading Causes of Relapse to Symptoms.

The causes of relapse to active symptoms of mood disorder have been well documented over the years. It’s no surprise that these reflect the relapse warning signs listed below.

They are:
• Medication non-compliance (Not taking the medication as prescribed).
• Alcohol and substance use and abuse.
• Little or no sleep.
• Lack of social support, isolation.

Non-compliance with medication and alcohol or substance use or abuse are by far the leading causes of relapse to symptoms. These are self-explanatory. However, little or no sleep and lack of social support also need to be addressed.

Sleep is an important issue for most with mood disorders. People with Bipolar disorders usually report that they don’t need much sleep. They have a tendency to play with their sleep/wake cycle. They like the euphoric hypomanic feeling that lack of sleep creates. It is very much like the moth and the flame. There is an attraction to the high that one gets when they are sleep deprived. Unfortunately, you can take anyone in the world and keep them awake for two, three or four days, they will become actively psychotic. For people with a mood disorder, sleep is a mental health issue.

Social support is also very much a part of maintaining good mental health. Even if one is compliant with medication and not using or abusing alcohol and drugs, social isolation can create considerable stress and ultimately cause a relapse to symptoms. It is imperative that people with mental disorders, have an avenue to combat their tendency to isolate and withdraw from people. I encourage my clients to maintain regular social contact. This contact creates reality testing. We don’t think of socialization as reality testing but it is. For example: You have an argument with your spouse; you call a friend and say here is what happened. What do you think? You get feedback on your situation and behavior. That is reality testing. Lack of social support may result in an inability to test the accuracy of what one is feeling or experiencing. This is obviously a very important component of maintaining good mental health.

Not in the Chicago Area!

Now I can work via zoom with anyone, anywhere in the country and it may still be covered by BCBS Insurance. Check with your BCBS representative for more information.

For those in the metropolitan Chicago area, I have offices in Millennium Park on Michigan Avenue, and near 22nd St and Wolf Road in Westchester. Call James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC, Senior Staff Therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, 847-733-4300 Ext 638.

http://jamesdelgenio.com
http://family-institute.org
http://psychologytoday.com
http://takenotelessons.com    Effective on line, one on one, SAT, ACT, GRE, test preparation, via face time or skype.

Disclaimer: This material is meant to be used in conjunction with psychiatric treatment, medication, if necessary, and supportive therapy. Always share this material and your questions about this material with your doctor and therapist.

Psychotherapy for Couples, Families, and Individuals.

Welcome to the offices of James E. DelGenio LCPC
in the Chicago Loop and Westchester, Illinois.
847-733-4300 Ext 638

I am currently a senior therapist with The Family Institute at Northwestern University.  In addition, I have been a practicing Psychotherapist, Author and Consultant throughout the country for over 40 years.  I am experienced in the treatment of Couples, Families, and Individuals. I specialize in the treatment of marital issues and conflicts, anxiety and depression, mental illness and its impact on relationships and parenting. As a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, I work with my clients to:

A. Identify issues
B. Develop a treatment plan C. Set goals and
D. Provide support through the process.

Premarital, Marital and Family Counseling: Sometimes life just gets in the way of our relationships.  Work, finances, children, child activities and physical health are just some of the issues that far too often put our relationships on the back burner.  These life pressures strain our relationships which often create other issues such as:

A. lack of civility and respect B. poor communication
C. infidelity, lack of intimacy
D. resentment, hostility
E. mistrust
F. parenting conflicts
G. alcohol and substance abuse H. financial issues    And more!

Relationships need attention and maintenance in order to remain healthy.  I will briefly review family history, address immediate issues and conflicts and help you develop a blue print for the future.

Mental Health Treatment: I also have considerable expertise in working with people whose mental health issues not only interfere with their daily functioning but also interfere with their relationships.  Issues such as depression, mood disorders, mental illness, alcohol and substance abuse can have a disastrous effect on relationships.  Concurrent treatment of mental health, alcohol and substance abuse and relationship issues is the only viable and effective treatment approach.  I have the experience to address these issues simultaneously.  With your permission, I can also work closely with your Physician in order to maximize the benefits of treatment.  If you do not have a doctor, I can refer you to several with whom I have a collaborative relationship.  My expertise includes management of:

A. Depression, anxiety and stress, negative rumination.
B. Grief and Loss.
C. Mood disorders: depression, anxiety, panic, thoughts of suicide, obsessive compulsive disorders.
D. Mental illness: thought disorders, schizophrenia.
E. Alcoholism and Addiction support.
F. Dual Diagnosis i.e. mental illness and alcohol/substance abuse or dependence.

Payment and Insurance:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield PPO insurance welcome. Cash, check, Visa, Master Card or American Express accepted.

Not in the Chicago Area! Now I can work via face time with anyone, anywhere in the country and it may still be covered by BCBS Insurance. Check with your BCBS representative.

For those in the metropolitan Chicago area, I have offices in Millennium Park on Michigan Avenue, and near 22nd St and Wolf Road in Westchester. Call James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC, Senior Staff Therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, 847-733-4300 Ext 638.

http://manageyourmood.net
http://family-institute.org
http://psychologytoday.com
http://takenotelessons.com   Highly effective on line, SAT, ACT, GRE, standardized test preparation, via face time or skype.

Disclaimer: This material is meant to be used in conjunction with psychiatric treatment, medication, if necessary, and supportive therapy. Always share this material and your questions about this material with your doctor and therapist.

Have Anxiety? Learn a simple relaxation technique!

James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC

Learn how to relax!

Most people experience tension; knowing how to relieve that tension can help prevent or reduce anxiety, headaches, back pain, high blood pressure, and a number of other stress related symptoms.

Listed below are some simple techniques for reducing anxiety that gets in the way of your happiness.

Position: Find a comfortable chair, preferably a reclliner or chair with an ottoman and a headrest where you will not be disturbed for at least 10 minutes. Loosen any tight clothing you may be wearing. Assume a comfortable position; let your hands rest comfortable at your sides. Open your mouth slightly, let your lower jaw hang loose, drop your shoulders, let your chest collapse and your stomach stick out. Breathe slowly and smoothly. Close your eyes; do not fall asleep; do not cross your arms or legs.

Breathing: Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth. Become aware of your breathing. Allow your exhale to be slow and easy. As you breathe out, say the word “ one” to yourself. Repeat this for several minutes, thinking “one” on each exhale. Imagine that each slow exhale the tension is leaving your body. When you finish, sit quietly for a few minutes at first with your eyes closed before you get up.

Imagery: When you close your eyes, clear your mind. Go off on a mental trip to a pleasant peaceful place where you feel relaxed, safe, and free of worries or concerns. Stay there several minutes and savor the experience. You can imagine this trip to you restful retreat whenever you feel tense or anxious. It is your private tranquilizer.

Here are some ways to install relaxation practice in your daily routine:

1) Make your daily relaxation practice a ritual; select two regular times each day for about ten minutes at a time and stick to your plan.
2) For instant relaxation remind yourself by sticking a colored dot on your watch so each time you see it you will be reminded to relax.

Note: Using any relaxation technique takes practice; the more you practice the better you will get at this natural form of tension reduction. It is a safe, effective, drugless way to relax. Try it!

Not in the Chicago Area!
Now I can work via zoom with anyone, anywhere in the country and it may still be covered by BCBS Insurance. Check with your BCBS representative for more information.

For those in the metropolitan Chicago area, I have an office in Westchester near Wolf Rd. and 22nd St.  Call James E. DelGenio LCPC, Senior Staff Therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, 847-733-4300 Ext 638 for more information.

http://manageyourmood.net
http://family-institute.org
http://psychologytoday.com
http://takenotelessons.com   Highly effective on line, one on one, SAT, ACT, GRE, standardized test preparation, via face time or skype.

Disclaimer: This material is meant to be used in conjunction with psychiatric treatment, medication, if necessary, and supportive therapy. Always share this material and your questions about this material with your doctor and therapist.