How important are such groups?
Fighting social isolation literally changes your genes.
The science of epigenetics has conclusively demonstrated that peer support networks can be a life-changing or life-saving experience to an extent surprising to many immunologists and psychologists.
DBSA San Gabriel Valley Meetings
There are absolutely no member fees, no one will pass the hat. Family and friends are encouraged to come. We are peer run support groups. Our address:
Crown City Suites
600 S. Lake Ave. Suite 200
Pasadena CA 91106
Tuesdays to Fridays 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Parking is free via Lake Ave. entrance.
Deadlier Than Car Accidents
Suicide now kills more Americans than car accidents, according to the latest CDC findings.
Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 15-24.
It is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 24-35.
It is the 4th leading cause of death for ages 35-44.
The mortality rate of untreated depression and bipolar disorder is self-evident. It is not a character flaw, it is not a personal weakness, it is a serious medical condition involving the center of our nervous system which is responsible for our every breath, every thought, every word, every heart beat, and movement.
Though the health of the brain clearly supersedes all else in terms of treatment priority, among society in general it does not yet have parity with a broken bone in terms of recognition as a valid medical condition, even though the former will take the lives of up to about 20% of those with bipolar disorder. To put this in perspective, it has about the same survival rate as breast cancer.
We are not talking about sadness, a normal part of the human experience, but about a reversal of the survival instinct that's taken for granted. In severe depression, the survival instinct becomes a death instinct, and behaviors will focus towards that goal.
Untreated depression can literally cause brain damage, and there is a severe drop in cognitive functioning which makes even small problems overwhelming. The hippocampus, which is key to memory, is actually reduced by some 15-25% in severe depression. Because even small problems become overwhelming, the inability to resolve everyday issues we face daily creates a helplessness and stress that dangerously exacerbates the condition.
The hippocampus is also more vulnerable to stress than other areas of the brain, as evident in returning vets with PTSD, such as the case with Daniel Summers:
"Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing."
More than 20 million American adults live with depression --10% of the U.S. population. 2.3 million live with bipolar disorder. If you're suffering from bipolar disorder or depression, you're simply not alone. In fact, in women ages 40-59, 1 in 4 are now taking antidepressants.
Support Groups Can Change Gene Expression Which Triggers Bipolar Disorder and Depression
Although DBSA support groups are 94% effective in helping bipolar or depressed members with treatment adherence, another important benefit is the ability to create a social network with others sharing a condition friends or loved ones may not understand because they simply haven't "been there." For depressed or bipolar individuals living in isolation, the science of epigenetics has conclusively demonstrated that this can be a life-changing or life-saving experience to an extent surprising to many immunologists and psychologists.
In The Social Life of Genes: Shaping Your Molecular Composition, David Dobbs writes:
“If you actually measure stress, using our best available instruments, it can’t hold a candle to social isolation. Social isolation is the best-established, most robust social or psychological risk factor for disease out there. Nothing can compete.”
“You can’t change your genes. But if we’re even half right about all this, you can change the way your genes behave—which is almost the same thing. By adjusting your environment you can adjust your gene activity...
“Despite these well-known effects, Cole said he was amazed when he started finding that social connectivity wrought such powerful effects on gene expression."
What this means is that the same gene expression that cause a bipolar or depressive condition to manifest itself can be countered by a positive and supportive social environment to the point the same genetic trait is reduced in severity and can even become manageable.
This is how, and why these groups WORK.
What this means is that the same gene expression that cause a bipolar or depressive condition to manifest itself can be affected by a positive and supportive social environment to the point the same genetic trait is reduced in severity or even brought to remission.
The Lethality of Loneliness
We are social animals. We were never meant to be alone. Air pollution increases yours odds of an early death by 5%, obesity by 20%, alcohol by 30%, and living with loneliness by 45%.