Accomodating students with mood disorders

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​Bipolar disorder can have many effects on a student in the classroom.Symptoms of both depression and mania can interfere with learning and make it difficult for the student to pay attention, stay on task, remain focused, and maintain motivation.Those diagnosed with a psychiatric disability may mitigate the effects of their condition with medication and/or ongoing psychotherapy.Even with treatment though, many psychiatric disabilities will persist in some form.Many students, however, do not know how to get help for their problems.

Mental illness is a broad term defined by the Mayo Clinic as any disorder that affects one’s mood, thinking, or behavior.Recent increases in the size of this group are due in part to improved medications that result in symptoms mild enough for them to enjoy the benefits and meet the challenges of postsecondary education.Students with psychiatric disabilities are entitled to reasonable academic accommodations as provided by the American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 19 amendments.College students with psychiatric disabilities face unique educational challenges.Dedicated mental health counselors and disability coordinators are available on most campuses, and students can typically seek medical attention.A mental illness is a hidden disability; it is rarely apparent to others. Major depression may be characterized by a depressed mood most of each day, a lack of pleasure in previously enjoyed activities, thoughts of suicide, insomnia, and consistent feelings of worthlessness or guilt.

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