The title of the chosen article for this assignment is “Use of self-care strategies in the management of bipolar disorder and their relationship to symptoms, illness intrusiveness, and quality of life” authored by Edward Wynter and Tania Perich. The scholarly article presents a study on specified self-care strategies important for managing bipolar disorder. It further asserts that self-care benefits those with bipolar disorder for the improvement of their quality of life. The research method used in this particular study was quantitative through the use of Self-Care Strategies Questionnaire (SCSQ). The questions were classified according to the six domains of self-care, such as “physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, workplace/professional, and balance” (Wynter & Perich, 2019).
The study is important to mental health nursing because bipolar disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in which psychological malfunctioning happens and affects life’s normality. In other words, the quality of life of a bipolar person depreciates over time if left untreated. Moreover, studies similar to this are not quite dominant in the mental nursing field because the current focus is more on medication and treatment rather than self-care management. Hence, the authors commend the importance of teaching self-care to patients to help them manage their symptoms and episodes at home. According to Stoewen (2017), self-care habits are important to people even those without mental issues because these are ways in which mental health is guarded. The researcher argues that 40 percent of daily behavior is repeated through habits, which shape people’s lives and affect their future. This argument strengthens the claim that self-care should be encouraged among patients suffering from bipolar disorder.
Going back to the study conducted by Wynter and Perich, the need to improve the quality of life is essential for bipolar individuals. Moreover, they focused on illness intrusiveness, mania, and mood as the basis for administering the SCSQ necessary for the completion of this study. There were 105 participants who volunteered in the research. The demographics for qualifying participants were examined in terms of gender, age, education, relationship status, employment, current medications, medical history, and clinical course of bipolar. 69 self-care strategies were included in the questionnaire. Examples are the following: “spend time with your pet or other animals,” “abstain from recreational drugs,” and “get enough sleep” (Wynter & Perich, 2019). The more frequently these self-care strategies were used, the more improvement in the patients’ quality of life was recorded. It was found that getting enough sleep was the most commonly preferred self-care management strategy for the majority of the participants. The researchers concluded that aside from getting enough sleep, playing with pets and abstaining from recreational drugs were also commonly answered. They further stated that they hope this study will open for more opportunities to study self-care management as a way to treat bipolar symptoms instead of focusing merely on medical and psychiatric interventions.
The information found in this journal article is important in the mental nursing field not because it can lessen the workload of nurses in managing patient care but because it can help patients be more proactive in monitoring their mental health conditions and report it to their nursing practitioners. The role of nurses in such a case is to help the patients help themselves, so this is more of an additional responsibility instead of passing the responsibility to the patients alone. This initiative is more of a collaboration between the patient and their nurses. Patients need to be proactive in managing their mental illnesses because they are the ones having first-hand experiences. They need to be taught to communicate properly with their nurses or other medical professionals assigned to help them so that better and more accurate treatment, medications, and other interventions can be provided to them. For example, a nurse can have weekly or monthly visits to see if the patient is taking the necessary self-care management methods. By picking up the reports documented by the patient himself, the nurse’s job can be done quickly, which gives the nurse more time to evaluate the current condition of the patient.
The article is very strong because of the angle it hopes to highlight. The authors want to make sure that the readers understand their cause in presenting such a study. They clearly stated that this study is intended to open for more opportunities to improve self-care strategies to improve the quality of life of bipolar patients. In addition, the strength of this article lies in the quantitative study it initiated which focused on questions about 69 strategic self-care. It was also a great technique to add an open-ended question towards the end of the questionnaire which says: “Can you think of any other self-care strategies that you find helpful to support your health and wellbeing?” This goes to show that they are valuing the opinions of their subjects. So far, there has been no weakness detected in the study because it is unique in its own way and possibly one of the most effective research on self-care as a treatment for bipolar depression. This can also be suggested for other mental illnesses aside from bipolar disorder.
Wynter and Perich’s aim for conducting this study has been achieved efficiently with the use of the right research methods and tools. Thus, this journal article is highly recommended among nursing colleagues and other health professionals concentrating on mental health management, treatment, and medication.
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Stoewen, D. (2017). Dimensions of wellness: Change your habits, change your life. The
Canadian Veterinary Journal, 58(8), 861-862. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5508938/
Wynter, E. & Perich, T. (2019). Use of self-care strategies in the management of bipolar
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