Answered Questions: Monthly News for the Disability Community

Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned below is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects and Further Research, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked. This month’s question is: What is Bipolar Disorder? What are some treatments and how does it affect daily life? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that discuss primary care for people with bipolar disorder, the fidelity of treatment, placement in employment, the causes of bipolar disorder, the discovery of genes that could improve treatment, an app that measures the mood of a person with bipolar disorder, cognitive function and bipolar disorder, and how to survive school with bipolar disorder.

The National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) has a great article on bipolar disorder in English. NIMH describes bipolar disorder in this way:  “Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time.” MedlinePlus, a database from the US National Library of Medicine, has a great article in Spanish to begin learning about bipolar disorder. The article gives a definition of bipolar disorders and links to in-depth articles on where to start (from the American Academy of Family Doctors, National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Association of Mental Health) and links to articles on learning about diagnosis and symptoms, treatments and alternative therapies, how to live with bipolar disorder, children and bipolar disorder, and more. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also has a great article in Spanish on bipolar disorder. NAMI’s article includes a definition, causes, diagnosis, symptoms in children and teens, and sections on treatment and support.

NIDILRR Research:

Bipolar disorder in primary care: Clinical characteristics of 740 primary care patients with bipolar disorder (J69502).
This study analyzed the characteristics of 740 patients with bipolar disorder enrolled in a statewide program that serves people with general medical, mental health, and substance abuse needs. It was found that people with bipolar disorder had a greater amount of contact with clinicians during treatment. The findings from this study showed that persons with bipolar disorder were less likely to be referred to a community mental health center even though they experiences persistent depressive and anxiety symptoms despite higher intensity collaborative treatment.

Enhanced fidelity to treatment for bipolar disorder: Results from a randomized controlled implementation trial (J68129).
This study compared the fidelity of treatment received at community practices by people with bipolar disorder versus an enhanced version of Replicating Effective Programs, an implementation intervention. Five community practices were assigned at random and participants attended an average of 3 group sessions and had an average of 4 care management contacts. The results of this study indicate that enhanced replicating effective programs improved the overall fidelity of standard care independent of patient factors.

Consumers with a bipolar disorder: A theory-based approach to explore beliefs impacting job placement (J61658)
This study explores the factors that influence rehabilitation professional to place people with bipolar disorder in jobs. The Rehabilitation Professional Survey – Bipolar Disorder was completed by 91 rehabilitation professionals, identifying 9 likely outcomes of placement, three groups of individuals that influence placement decisions, and six barriers to placement. This study provides a conceptual context that can be applied to employment research that is relevant to the placement of people with bipolar disorder.

What causes Bipolar Disorder? (Fundación Cazabajones – Uruguay)
This article discusses what scientists and researchers are doing in relation to what causes bipolar disorders. The article discusses the different types of research going on, including searching for specific genes and brain imaging. The article also includes links to learn more about bipolar disorder, including symptoms, suicide and bipolar disorder, treatments, children and teens and bipolar disorder, and can other illnesses co-occur with bipolar disorder. Videos on bipolar disorder are also included.

Two genes related to bipolar disorder are discovered that will permit the improvement of treatment (El Mundo – Spain)
The discovery of two new genetic variations related to the development of bipolar disorder will allow the identification and better understanding of the causes and predisposition to the risk of developing this mental illness, which affects 1.2 percent of the population. This discovery also opens the door to better treatment. This discovery is a result of an international study of genetic epidemiology which included European, American, and Australian specialists. The results, which were published in the scientific journal Nature, in January 2014.

App created for patients with bipolar disorder (Informador.Mx – México)
Two students at the University of California at Berkeley have developed a mobile app that measures the mood of people with bipolar disorder, from the everyday use of their phone. The app, called Moodstreamer, is downloaded unto a person’s cell phone and, with each use, compiles and analyses, daily, different variables that elaborate on the mood of the person over time. The app also follows the progression and effects of medications and if they are adequate.

Cognitive Deterioration and Bipolar Disorder (A. Martinez-Arán en el 1er Congreso Virtual de Psiquiatría – Spain)
This conference article discusses how neuropsychological treatment effects the cognitive and intellectual functioning of a person with bipolar disorder. The article discusses neuropsychological rehabilitation and bipolar disorder and the limits of the studies on the neuropsychological performance on bipolar disorder. And it finishes with a discussion of pharmacological interventions for cognitive dysfunctions in people with bipolar disorder.

Human Interest:
How to survive school with depression or bipolar disorder (National Alliance on Mental Illness – USA)
In this article, Jessica Gimeno describes her journey as a young Latina with bipolar disorder. She describes what it is like to have to work twice as hard to be taken half as seriously as her peers without mental illness. Ms. Gimeno talks about some of the strategies available to people with bipolar disorder to do well in their studies and encourages all of us to hope for a day when the stigma of having mental illness has disappeared.


  • Argentina – Fundación Bipolar de Argentina (FUBIPA) is a member organization of the Sociedad Civil that supports the formation of groups of mutual help for people with bipolar disorder and their families as a way to improve the quality of their lives. FUBIPA provides a list of groups of mutual help all around Argentina, an FAQ, psych education workshops, and information on bipolar disorder, depression, mania.
  • Colombia – Asociación Colombiana de Bipolares (ACB) provides news, workshops, blog posts, videos, and a bibliography – all dealing with bipolar disorder.
  • México – Organización Nacional de Trastorno Bipolar (ONTB) is a nonprofit organization formed by people with depression or bipolar disorder. They promote early detection, provide information on bipolar disorder, provide references to people presenting symptoms of bipolar disorder, provide psychiatric and psychological help, and productive workshops.

Further Research:

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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