On Our Mind: NPA Clinician Blog

Clinicians from Northern Psychiatric Associates share their thoughts, tips, and musings.

On Bipolar Disorder

By Karleen Schmiedt, MSLP

After attending a workshop about Bipolar Disorder (BIPD) given by Jay Carter, PsyD, DABPS, it became clear that we don’t know much about BiPD.

It is a spectrum, which means you CAN be a little bit bipolar (undiagnosed) or a LOT bipolar (on meds) or in between. It is difficult to diagnose–70% are missed or misdiagnosed 1-3 times because it changes/emerges and looks different from time to time. These folks have a high suicide risk, which is important to take seriously if expressed.

After an episode of mania, the brain takes 6-8 weeks to recover. During that time, BiPD individuals have diminished executive function, temporary chronic fatigue, and depression. These have implications for returning to work or the expectation that they can function fully right away.

During mania, BiPD individuals are not able to think about contexts (relationships); they can’t help it even though it seems like they are making that choice.

Things that help individuals with BiPD include:

  • Monitoring amount of sleep
  • Establishing a routine
  • Developing a support system that understands this mental illness

For families and individuals trying to understand Bipolar Disorder, check out a great video on Bipolarlight.com.


What I Love about NPA

By Amanda Hintz, MSLP

I love working at NPA because we have a wonderful staff that get along so well–we are like a family. Our offices are welcoming and comfortable, which put our clients at ease.

Promoting mental health in children is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work. I enjoy helping children learn to manage their anxiety, work through their trauma, and express their emotions in healthy ways. This is so meaningful to me because I know that if children learn these skills early on, they will struggle much less as teenagers and adults. Also, they will have a sense of self confidence, strengthening their ability to handle the tough things in life.


'Amazed by People's Resilience'

By Philip Tange, MSW, LICSW

My favorite part about working to promote mental health is the direct contact I have with clients, especially hearing the interesting stories about their lives. I am repeatedly amazed by people’s resilience, and I enjoy helping them learn how to cope with and address mental health problems.

Other important aspects of working at Northern Psychiatric Associates are the relationships I have with my coworkers and the support that I receive to do my job.

One of Phil’s favorite quotes
“Good judgment comes from experience…Experience comes from bad judgment.”


FAQ about Hospice

Q: When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made and who should make it?

A: At any time during a life-limiting illness, it’s appropriate to discuss all of a patient’s care options, including hospice. By law the decision belongs to the patient. Most hospices accept patients who have a life-expectancy of six months or less and who are referred by their personal physician.


Birth Order and Personality

Q: Can birth order influence your personality?

A:  Yes, a recent study found that such things as birth order and family size may indeed have an impact on personality. The study even found that birth order can influence your choice of friends and romantic partners; first-borns tend to associate with other first-borns, middle-borns with other middle-borns and last-borns with last-borns.

What do you think? Does this ring true for you?