July 16, 2009 at 2:55 pm (PPD, Pregnancy)
Tags: Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act bill, MOTHERS Act, postpartum, postpartum depression, PPD
I’ve written about the MOTHERS Act in the past but recently there has been much debate swirling around it. There are those actively against it (Amy Philo, Doug Bremner) and those actively for it (Katherine Stone, John Grohol). I’m going to refrain from voicing my personal opinion on the act from here on out since I’m seeing tensions run rather high and I don’t care to have those tensions directed at me.
But I haven’t seen anyone link to the Congressional bill recently so before engaging in debate, I encourage people to read the actual bill for themselves and come to their own conclusions. It’s actually short (unlike our current 1,000-plus-page universal healthcare bill) and a relatively easy (see “understandable”) read.
S. 324 the most recent version I know of. If there’s a more recent version, please comment to let me know.
August 4, 2008 at 7:37 am (Bipolar Disorder, Children, Depression, Loose Screws Mental Health News, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Military, PPD, PTSD, Statistics, Suicide)
Tags: abuse, Afghanistan, Afghanistan War, anxiety, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, calls, Children, Depakote, Depression, drug, emotional abuse, FDA, gel capsule, hanging, Ira Katz, Iraq, Iraq War, manic episodes, med, medication, meds, Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act bill, mental disorder, mental health, mental illness, national suicide prevention lifeline, Noven Pharmaceuticals, physical abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, psych drugs, psych meds, psychologists, psychotropic, PTSD, Stavzor, suicidal, Suicide, suicide hotline, suicide lifeline, toddlers, VA, valproic acid, Veterans Administration, Vietnam, Vietnam War
The mastermind behind Stavzor is Noven Pharmaceuticals (in conjunction with Banner Pharmacaps Inc.). The new “small, easy-to-swallow soft gel capsule” is available in three strengths: 125, 250, and 500 mgs. The pills are are “up to 40% smaller than han Depakote® and Depakote ER® tablets at the 500 mg dosage strength.” From Noven’s PR:
Stavzor is approved for the treatment of manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder, as monotherapy and adjunctive therapy in the treatment of patients with complex partial seizures that occur either in isolation or in association with other types of seizures, and for prophylaxis of migraine headaches.
The drug will hit the market in mid to late August.
The hotline receives an average 250 calls each day from veterans that have fought in Iraq, Vietnam, and Afghanistan.
The issue of soldiers with mental illness has recently come to light with studies showing that 1 in 5 soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have shown symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The issue of the high suicides rate has been a high priority of the VA since mental health director Ira Katz tried to hide the significant number of suicides committed by veterans.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day by calling 800-273-TALK (8255); veterans should press “1” after being connected.
“We have seen a 60 per cent increase in demand for our child anxiety classes in the past six months,” said [Dr. Kimberley O’Brien, of the Quirky Kids Clinic at Woollahra in Sydney].
It sounds more like the article is speaking of children who are exposed to constant physical and emotional abuse. If that’s the case, shouldn’t there rather be an increase in parenting properly classes?
May 22, 2008 at 12:46 am (Antidepressants, Depression, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, PPD)
Tags: adolescents, Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Children, depressed, depressing, Depression, Depression 101, Depression: Out of the Shadows, disease, disorder, doctors, drugs, dysthymia, ECT, electroconvulsive therapy, Fear, fish oil, heartwarming, illness, Jane Pauley, major depressive disorder, MDD, medication, meds, mental health, mental illness, Namenda, NAMI, NIMH, PBS, personal stories, pills, postpartum depression, PPD, prescription drugs, program, Prozac, psych drugs, psych meds, psychiatric, psychiatric care, psychologic, psychotropics, Ranitidine, remeron, segment, show, Stigma, suffering, talk therapy, teenagers, therapy, treatment, treatment-resistant, treatment-resistant depression, vagus nerve stimulation, VNS, Wellbutrin, zoloft, Zyprexa
The show is essentially Depression 101 – for those new to learning
about the illness. As someone who struggles with depression (within
bipolar disorder), I found a lot of the two hours pretty boring (90
minutes on personal stories and about 22 minutes for "candid
conversation"). The "a lot" comes from the stuff that I've either heard before or flies over my head, eg, how depression affects the brain, prefrontal cortex, neurotransmitters, synapses, etc. The personal stories were powerful: depressingly heartwarming. (Yes, I mean that.)
My heart sank as I heard the stories of Emma and Hart, teenagers who were diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder, respectively. Both were such extreme cases that they needed to be sent away for special psychiatric care. They are on medications for their disorders; the specific drugs are never mentioned.
While watching Deana's story of treatment-resistant depression, I instantly thought of Herb of VNSDepression.com whose wife suffers from the same malady.
I tried to listen attentively for the antidepressant that Ellie, who suffered from PPD after the birth of her first child, would be taking during her next pregnancy. It was never mentioned.
My jaw nearly dropped to the carpet as Andrew Solomon, carefully plucked brightly colored pills from his pillbox that he takes every morning for his unipolar depression: Remeron, Zoloft, Zyprexa, Wellbutrin, Namenda, Ranitidine, and two kinds of fish oil. He might have even mentioned Prozac. He takes Namenda, an Alzheimer's drug to combat the effects of an adverse interaction between Wellbutrin and one of the other drugs that I can't remember. Solomon says he's happy. I'm happy for him and I'm happy that his drug cocktail works for him but I couldn't help but sit there and wonder, "Isn't there a better way?"
While I thought the stories covered the gamut, in retrospect, I'm surprised they didn't interview a veteran or U.S. soldier to discuss PTSD. If the producers were able to fit in dysthymia, I'm sure they might have been able to throw in a story about a soldier who struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts stemming out of PTSD. Considering all the stories coming out of the VA, it's rather relevant. It would have been more interesting than the Jane Pauley segment. But I'll get to that in a minute.
As I listened to the narrator, I couldn't help but wonder what alternate perspectives could have popped up. For what it was, I fear none. This was a Depression 101 show — a program designed to either get people to fight against fear and stigma and get help or to open the eyes of loved ones to this debilitating disorder. I'm not sure how to slip in an opposing view on medication from a doctor without confusing or scaring people away. What would Healy or Breggin say that would encourage people to seek appropriate care?
Holistic or natural treatment was not mentioned. It's not mainstream and it's not recommended by most doctors as first-line therapy. I would have been surprised had something been said about it.
The depression portion of bipolar disorder was briefly discussed in Hart's story then Pauley added commentary about her personal experience in the remaining 22 minutes of the program.
Pauley appears at the end of the show promising a "candid conversation" on the topic. The three experts: Drs. Charney, Duckworth, and Primm sit and smile politely as Pauley rattles on occasionally about herself. Some people might find her exchange endearing and personal. After the first 3 minutes, I found it annoying. As a journalist, I wish she would have taken the impartial observer approach rather than the "intimate discussion" approach. In my opinion, she seemed to have dominated the "discussion."
It ended up being a Q&A with each doctor. Her questions were focused and direct. I expected a little bit of an exchange between doctors, talking not only about the pros of medication and treatment like ECT and VNS but also the cons. (Should I apologize for being optimistic?) Charney interjected into the conversation maybe once or twice but was only to offer an assenting opinion. Primm spoke least of everyone on the panel. I think she was placed on the show solely to represent diversity.
There were no "a recent study said…" or "critics say such-and-such, how do you address that?" It was a straightforward emphasis on encouraging people to get help or for those suffering to get treatment. Pauley's segment didn't discuss any negatives (not with the medical director of NAMI there!). The closest the entire 2 hours gets to any cons is with ECT shock treatment and giving medication to growing children. The childhood medication thing isn't dwelt on. The basic gist is: Doctors don't understand how medication works in children but are working on trying to understand it and improve its efficacy.
Forgive me for being negative. The point of the program was designed to give hope to those suffering. Instead, it just made me feel even worse. Thoughts raced through my head: "Well, if this doesn't work, then it's on to that. And if that medication doesn't work then I'll probably be prescribed this therapy, and if that doesn't work, then I'm treatment-resistant at which point, I'll have to do…"
I hope the program does what it's designed to do and that's to get those suffering with depression to seek appropriate care. The one upside is that talk therapy was stressed. I'm a huge proponent of talk therapy myself. Let me know what you thought of the show if you were able to catch it.
In the meantime, this depressed girl is going to cure herself for the night by going to bed.
P.S. Is it really fact that depression is a disease?
March 18, 2008 at 5:42 pm (Antipsychotics, Depression, Loose Screws Mental Health News, Medicine/Meds, Pharma, PPD, Pregnancy, Suicide)
Tags: AstraZeneca, big pharma, bill, bipolar, Bloomberg, clinical trial data, clinical trials, CPAP, creative, Depression, drugs, extended-release, FDA, GlaxoSmithKline, GSK, legislation, mania, medication, meds, mental health, mental illness, MHRA, MOTHERS Act, new moms, nondisclosure, paroxetine, patents, Paxil, pharmaceutical companies, poets, postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis, Pregnancy, pregnant, psych drugs, psych meds, quetiapine, scare tactics, Seroquel, Seroquel XR, Seroxat, sleep apnea, Suicide, treatment, UK, US, withholding, writers
I recently wrote about the MOTHERS Act and the unnecessary scare tactics surrounding it. A Dallas-Fort Worth TV station picked up on the story and provided a short one-sided view of the issue, continuing to purport that the bill is solely about drugging new moms. I don’t discount Ms. Philo’s terrible experience with her medication. In fact, I’d be against the act if its sole purpose was to force treatment on pregnant women – medicated or not. Again, I’d like to reiterate that the bill’s purpose is to educate moms about postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis – not to shove unnecessary pills down women’s throats.
If you have sleep apnea, your CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine may alleviate depression symptoms. My husband has sleep apnea and hasn’t been able to use the CPAP machine because of sinus problems. When he doesn’t use it (he hasn’t for a while), he’s noticeably moodier and prone to depressive symptoms. But then again, anyone who doesn’t get good sleep for several days is pretty moody.
AstraZeneca (AZ) is going after Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Novartis AG’s Sandoz unit after the two companies applied to make cheaper version of Seroquel available. AZ’s patent on Seroquel expires in 2011. The trial date for patent litigation is August 11. In the meantime, according to the Bloomberg report, the FDA is considering approval of Seroquel XR for bipolar depression and bipolar mania.
What is it about the U.K. that they seem to take pharma’s power more seriously than the U.S.? The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) charged GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the maker of Seroxat (Paxil in the U.S.), with not fully disclosing their clinical trial data that downplayed serious side effects such as increasing suicidal tendencies among those 18 years and younger. The MHRA also asserts that Seroxat didn’t alleviate depression as much as GSK’s initial data showed. GSK, of course, denied manipulating the data to show favorable results:
GSK denies withholding data, claiming the risks did not come to light until the results of nine studies were pooled.
The UK minister of public health, Dawn Primarilo, promised to address the issue of Big Pharma hiding negative clinical trial data.
“Notwithstanding the limitations that may exist in the law, pharmaceutical companies should disclose any information they have that would have a bearing on the protection of health,” she says.
In other news, I shouldn’t be a successful writer or novelist. The correlation between creative writers and suicide is ridiculously high. More than 70 well-known writers and poets have successfully committed suicide. How much more “unknown” writers and poets have as well?
(Image from Monthly Prescribing Reference)
March 15, 2008 at 8:02 am (Depression, Medicine/Meds, PPD, Pregnancy)
Tags: and Support for Postpartum Depression Act, anxiety, anxiety disorder, baby blues, big pharma, bill, birth, Congress, Depression, disorder, drugs, education, families, grants, legislation, medication, Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act, mental disorder, mental health, mental illness, Mom's Opportunity to Access Health, moms, mood disorder, mothers, MOTHERS Act, new moms, NIH, NIMH, pharmaceuticals, postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis, PPD, PPP, Pregnancy, pregnant, psych drugs, psychotropic, research, symptoms, therapy, treatment, women
I stumbled upon Yankee Cowgirl’s blog that mentioned Congress is working on the MOTHERS (Mom’s Opportunity to Access Health, Education, Research, and Support for Postpartum Depression) Act which would “strongly encourage pregnant women into mental health programs – that means drugs – to combat even mild depression during or after giving birth.”
She links to a column written by Byron J. Richards on newswithviews.com. He writes:
The Mothers Act is pending legislation that will indoctrinate hundreds of thousands of mothers into taking dangerous psych drugs.
He goes on to slam Big Pharma about how they control Congress and how mothers don’t need psych drugs for a natural birth process.
The Mothers Act (S. 1375: Mom’s Opportunity to Access Health, Education, Research, and Support for Postpartum Depression Act) has the net affect of reclassifying the natural process of pregnancy and birth as a mental disorder that requires the use of unproven and extremely dangerous psychotropic medications (which can also easily harm the child).
These are some serious accusations. I got pretty riled up myself and decided to see what Congress said in the bill.
Read the rest of this entry »
May 1, 2007 at 2:18 pm (Celebrities, Depression, Loose Screws Mental Health News, Mental Health/Illness, PPD, Schizophrenia, Suicide)
Tags: CATIE, Cho, Cho Seung-Hui, cutting, Depression, dissidentvoice.org, mental health, mental illness, postpartum, postpartum depression, PPD, psychosis, Schizophrenia, slit wrists, TAC, Treatment Advocacy Center, violence, Virginia Tech, VT, VTech
I haven’t done this for a while so hopefully I can pick this up again a little more regularly. (crosses fingers)
Read a heart-wrenching story in the UK Daily Mail about a mother whose postpartum depression led her to begin slitting her wrists
Tom Chaplin, singer for the band Keane, has admitted to contemplating suicide.
Tom – who was taking up to two grams of cocaine a day – revealed to Britain’s Q Magazine: “I was at the end of my tether in Japan. I was tired of my life and feeling pretty suicidal. I got off the plane and called my dad. I’d told him that I’d left the band and that I was falling apart. I checked myself into The Priory.”
Chaplin’s interesting view:
Despite his own drugs hell, Tom says it’s a personal decision to experiment with substances. He claims troubled rock star Pete Doherty should be left to take all the drugs he wants.
Tom said: “No-one’s got any right to stop him killing himself.”
An article in the Chicago Tribune on how VNS is beginning to show benefits for some patients. Which reminds me, browse on over to VNSdepression.com to learn more.
Nicholas Vakkur must have read the Treatment Advocacy Center’s post on how the CATIE study shows an increase in violent offenses by mentally ill patients (namely those with psychosis and schizophrenia). He refutes this idea on dissidentvoice.org:
Individuals with a mental illness are far more likely to be the victims, rather than the perpetrators of violence, while the vast majority of people who commit acts of violence against others are not in fact mentally ill.
This rush to stereotype individuals suffering from psychiatric illness as likely murderers is reckless and lacks credulity. Mental illness has no role in the majority of violent crimes committed in our society. Alcohol and substance abuse far outweigh mental illness as factors contributing to violence, while the strongest predictor of violent and/or criminal behavior is a past history of violence and criminality, not a major mental illness.
February 28, 2007 at 8:25 pm (Bipolar Disorder, Celebrities, Depression, Mental Health/Illness, PPD)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Britney Spears, Celebrities, mental health, mental illness, postpartum depression, PPD
I originally posed a theory that Britney Spears might be suffering from a mental illness such as postpartum depression (PPD) or bipolar disorder. Furious Seasons linked to an article on tmz.com (by way of Celebrity Baby Blog – wtf?) where “sources say doctors at her rehab facility think the underlying reason for her trouble may be post-partum depression.”
As for my theories:
“Sources tell TMZ that Britney’s doctors have two operating theories — either that she suffers from post-partum depression or bipolar disorder. The doctors strongly believe post-partum is the problem.”
At least I got the plausible diagnoses. Damn, I’m good.
(A nice pic of the former ‘sexy’ days of Ms. Spears.)
UPDATE: The Trouble With Spikol also wrote her own take on it too.
January 21, 2007 at 3:41 pm (Antidepressants, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Loose Screws Mental Health News, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, PPD, Suicide)
Tags: anesthetic, Antidepressants, Bipolar Disorder, Dawdy, Depression, Furious Seasons, iron levels, ketamine, NIH, postpartum depression, PPD, prenatal vitamin, quiz, smoking
According to the NIH, mothers can ward off postpartum depression by taking a prenatal vitamin to boost low iron levels. Mothers with iron deficiency were twice as likely to be at risk for PPD. Also, in case you didn’t know, counseling can help or stave off PPD as well.
Another NIH study has suggested that people who don’t respond to antidepressants could be aided by an injection of ketamine. Ketamine is primarily used for anesthesia. According to researchers, a dose of ketamine helped improve more than half of the participants’ mood in 2 hours (all 7 of them) while 71 percent felt better after 24 hours (all 13 of them). Supposedly, the effects lasted for a week for a third of the participants (all 4 of them). That’s very nice and all, but I’m looking forward to the follow-up study that analyzes ketamine’s long-term effects and safety.
A departure from news — are you bipolar? Take this quiz to figure it out! (P.S. Don’t take the quiz seriously.)
Dawdy over at Furious Seasons writes about a recent study that ties smoking with a “heightened risk of suicide in patients with bipolar disorder.” And an excerpt of his conversation with a DEA agent at the end of his post is awesome.
I’m also behind on reading many of the blogs on my blogroll so I’m doing my best to catch up – sorry for the delay…
July 22, 2006 at 12:50 am (Depression, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, PPD, Statistics)
Tags: postpartum depression, PPD
About 10 to 15 percent of women experience its symptoms after childbirth. For some, it goes away. For others, it gets worse.
Doctors can’t pinpoint an exact cause but they guess it’s
- hormone fluctuations
- Low-income women are at greater risk for PPD
- Financial stress increases the risk of PPD while decreased access to healthcare lowers the chance of detection
- PPD is prevalent among Hispanic women on Medicaid Journal of Women’s Health)
- Half of women who show signs of PPD never seek treatment
50-60 percent of new moms get “baby blues” within 2 weeks of a
delivery, it can get better on its own. PPD affects 8-15 percent of
mothers worldwide and can develop into something serious. It can begin
anytime within 6 months after giving birth.
- loss of interest in hobbies and normal activities
- frequent crying
- appetite loss
- lack of motivation
- difficulty sleeping
- potential inability to bond with child
- possibly harming herself or her child (severe)
PPD increased risks:
- previous PPD
- depression unrelated to pregnancy
- severe PMS
- marriage difficulties
- lack of support from loved ones
- stressful events occurring before or after birth
- women younger than 17
- single mothers without other adults around
- divorced women
July 22, 2006 at 12:33 am (Antidepressants, Depression, Medicine/Meds, PPD)
This story from Vhi healthcare
doesn’t state any new information that a person suffering from
depression wouldn’t know but simply recommends that people suffering
from a mild form of depression are better off with therapy than
David Axelrod, a political consultant in Chicago, has written a moving piece on his father’s suicide in the Chicago Tribune. A choice quote: “…my dad still was impacted by the sense, so prevalent in our society, that depression is somehow a character flaw rather than an illness.”
A quote like that warrants a standout because I often fall prey to this
belief myself. Mental illness runs in my family (more of the
schizophrenia and paranoia) and I often beat myself up because I think
depression is a fault. Some of the things that I do emerges as a
character flaw – selfishness for one – but depression in and of itself
is not a flaw and I need to stop beating myself up about it and work to
get the treatment I need.
According to the Contra Costa Times,
Eminem has been dealing with a bout of depression. No doubt: he lost a
close friend, Proof, from his band D-12 and divorced his wife, Kim
Mathers, for a second time. If I lost my best friend and my husband in
the span of two months, I’d be depressed too. Sources say that he is
fighting through his depression without antidepressants. I say Eminem’s
bout of depression is normal – the kind that most people experience
when they lose a loved one. He’s simply grieving; it doesn’t sound like
a mental illness to me.
According to the Times of India,
scientists at the Central Drug Research Institute have developed a
landmark drug to control and cure depression. The drug, ‘sent
propezene,’ was tested on more than 250 patients who were said to have
shown “remarkable results.” A senior CDRI scientist said the new drug
is safer than existing anti-depressants and is free of side effects.
The CDRI has obtained an international patent for sent propezene, which
is expected to hit the market soon. (This could be one to watch out
Novelist Ned Vizzini, who struggles with depression, is featured in this AP article.
Thankfully though, he says he’s not longer suicidal and that option has
been “crossed out” for him. He’s written a book, “It’s Kind of a Funny
Story” about a young man who goes from being exceptional in an average
high school to being average at an exceptional high school. It seems
like a read worth checking out: “That’s really what this book is about,
making that decision to live,” Vizzini says.
The San Francisco Bay Times has an opinion column that addresses depression in the gay and lesbian community
(LGBT). According to the writer, gays are four to five times likely to
get severe depression than heterosexuals. A 2000 survey found that gay
men cited depression as their number one health concern after HIV and
lesbians cited depression and mental health as their number one concern
overall. Another study found that gays and lesbians were two to three
times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexuals. Why the stark
trend? It seems that a “homophobic environment, suppressed anger, a
self-imposed limitation on awareness of feelings and a lack of
emotional nurturing” for their homosexual identities puts the LGBT
community at a greater risk for depression. This revelation seems to
make it possible that depression can be caused not only from a genetics
or a hormonal imbalance, but also as a result of external factors.
Medindia.com has an article
that suggests depression and chronic pain can cause disability in
women. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this finding is sort of “duh.”
If people have chronic pain, there must be something wrong. The “aha!”
finding here seems to be that pain-related emotions can produce
pain-related behaviors. So apparently, if doctors can tackle a female’s
mental health then her physical well-being is expected to improve. If
you didn’t know, now you know. I think this finding is pretty much
common sense, however.
Recently, more light has been shed on postpartum depression because of Brooke Shield’s admission. According to the Exeter News-Letter,
postpartum blues affects 50 to 85 percent of new moms. Dr. Patricia
Kincare writes, “Common symptoms include rapid shifts in mood, anxiety,
irritability, tearfulness and poor sleep and appetite.” The blues
typically is viewed as depression after two weeks of the same symptoms.
About 10 percent of new mothers experience PPD. Women with PPD are
extremely worried about their infants, are unable to be reassured that
their child is okay and can even feel suicidal. Postpartum OCD seems to
be somewhat more severe – with the mother thinking of their child being
harmed in some way. To treat this mental illness, Kincare recommends
counseling and/or antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication. My fear
of developing either PPD or PPOCD is often what keeps me from wanting
to have children. I’m already afraid of dropping my child down a flight
of stairs or tumbling down them myself so the possibility of developing
either one of those illnesses is probably very high for me. Women who
are thinking about becoming mothers should discuss with their doctor
how to approach treatment should they have an onset of postpartum
depression or disorder.
And the debate over pregnant women using Seroxat continues to rage.
Sophie Corlett, policy director of mental health charity Mind, said:
“The science on Seroxat and pregnancy isn’t conclusive either way.”