Loose Screws Mental Health News

Women who are binge drinkers are more likely to be clinically depressed, according to a joint U.S. and Canadian study. I find it funny that they’ve got a photo of a middle-aged (or senior) woman with the captions, “Binge drinking adversely affected women’s mental health, the study suggested.” It’s possible, but HIGHLY UNLIKELY that the woman in the picture is representative of a binge drinker. A picture of a female binge drinker would look more like this:

girl drinking

That’s better. (source: The Trouble With Spikol)

On a Spikol trip, she writes that she questions a bipolar diagnosis in children and young adolescents (as in 14 or 15). I wholeheartedly disagree. Once I received a bipolar diagnosis, I realized that it wasn’t something that I’d developed out of nowhere. I often thought that I began suffering from manic depressive episodes when I was 14. Looking into my childhood, I realized that there was so much more to it: the temper tantrums, the sudden happiness and instant withdrawal. Constant paranoia that no one liked me (which no one did because I was super smart as a child). My parents described me as a “happy” kid, but I remember my tumultous childhood from 6 years old and on. I was raised in Brooklyn until I was 5 and then moved to Long Island. Even though I attended kindergarten in Brooklyn, the LI school district insisted that I was too young for first grade and made me repeat kindergarten. This apparently angered me because my parents claim that the second time around, I didn’t do any of the work because I’d done it before. After an encounter with my teacher (and seeing my father cry for the first time in my life), I shaped up my act in time to move on to first grade.

So I disagree that a bipolar diagnosis in children would erroneous or inaccurate. However, it’s possible they may be misdiagnosed and find out later on in life that they really had ADHD or some other kind of mental illness. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t mentally ill at all; it simply means they weren’t diagnosed properly.

Supreme Court Justice William RehnquistThe FBI has recently disclosed that the late Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist took sedative Placidyl (ethchlorvynol) during his first 10 years in the court and became so delusional on the drug that he tried to escape the hospital in his pajamas and thought CIA agents were after him. It seems Placidyl can be addictive and withdrawal symptoms include hallucinations and memory loss. From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

“Doctors told FBI agents that when the associate justice stopped taking the drug, he suffered paranoid delusions. One doctor said Rehnquist thought he heard voices outside his hospital room plotting against him and had ‘bizarre ideas and outrageous thoughts,’ including imagining ‘a CIA plot against him’ and ‘seeming to see the design patterns on the hospital curtains change configuration.’”

Not a mental illness, but definitely something to look out for. Wikipedia states that ethchlorvynol is no longer available in the United States.

P. Dawdy has written a post on the link between suicidal ideation and Prozac. Apparently 14 percent of the patients from the clinical trial developed suicidal ideations that they’d never had before. Not particularly good news, especially for those who struggle with suicidal thoughts without medication. Prozac coincidentally is made by none other than Eli Lilly. Hmm, should get interesting.

3 Comments

  1. January 7, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Solid comments, appreciate your perspective, and appreciate the conundrum in which we find ourselves with meds that aggravate underlying, not recognized conditions.
    As you have pointed out, just reacting poorly to a med doesn’t make a necessary diagnosis of bipolar.
    And yes, so many drink to solve depression, while alcohol is itself a serious depressant.

  2. January 10, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    “so many drink to solve depression, while alcohol is itself a serious depressant.”
    I’ve never been an alcoholic, but I drink alcohol occasionally (once or twice a year at most). My counselors in outpatient therapy have encouraged me to stay away from alcohol at ALL costs. Except for one instance, I’ve never had the urge to get drunk or intoxicate my problems away. Perhaps if a person who suffers from depression is responsible with drinking alcohol, it’s not a problem?
    But now that I’m on medication, I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t recommend others on medication to drink alcohol either.

  3. February 1, 2007 at 5:46 am

    Depression Psychological Treatment

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