January 15, 2013 at 11:36 am (Antidepressants, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Loose Screws Mental Health News, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Pharma, Suicide)
Tags: Antidepressants, Bipolar Disorder, CTE, Dave Duerson, Depression, domestic violence, ebselen, gays, gender dysphoria, gender identity disorder, Junior Seau, ketamine, lesbians, medication, mental illness, NFL, NHL, Pregnancy, Ray Easterling, soccer players, SSRI, stillbirth, Suicide, transgender
Ebselen, an experimental bipolar disorder drug, has been found by British researchers to work like lithium but without lithium’s side effects. In mice. In testing, mice that were somehow made manic with “small doses of amphetamine” were placated with ebselen. Researchers are now moving on to testing on healthy human volunteers before studying those suffering with bipolar disorder.
A study, published in JAMA Neurology, discovered that retired NFL players were more likely to suffer from depression and brain impairment. The study comes on the heels of the suicides of Dave Duerson, Ray Easterling, and Junior Seau. Researchers suspect a link between “hard hits to the head and depression.” These problems have also been noted in NHL players and combat soldiers who have suffered a brain injury. Many of the retired NFL players developed a type of brain damage called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Duerson and Easterling were found to have CTE during autopsy. In related sports news, the UK’s Telegraph reports that depression is a problem for soccer players in England and Scotland.
According to Time magazine, ketamine—a drug that induces hallucinations and other trippy effects—may hold potential as an antidepressant.
And now scientists report on two formulations of drugs with ketamine’s benefits, but without its consciousness-altering risks, that could advance the drug even further toward a possible treatment for depression.
Ketamine is seen as a fast-acting antidepressant for those at high risk for suicide. GLYX-13, mentioned here previously
, is a ketamine-like antidepressant currently in clinical trials. AstraZeneca has AZD6765, a “ketamine mimic” that does not appear to be as effective as actual ketamine.
New research has discovered that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of domestic violence. Even though the study evaluated men and women, the results for women were overwhelmingly striking.
It finds that women with symptoms of depression were 2.5 times more likely to have experienced domestic violence over their lifetimes than those in the general population, while those with anxiety disorders were more than 3.5 times more likely to have suffered domestic abuse. The extra risk grew to seven times more likely among those with post-traumatic stress disorder.
An analysis of more than 1 million Scandinavian women has shown that taking SSRIs during pregnancy may not increase the risk of stillbirth. This study could help revolutionize treating depression in pregnant women.
“From our study, we don’t find any reason to stop taking your medication, because untreated depression may be harmful for the pregnancy and the baby,” [Dr. Olof Stephansson, the lead author of the new report] told Reuters Health.
Finally, “gender identity disorder” has been removed from the DSM-V and has been replaced by “gender dysphoria,” a condition in which people are concerned about their gender identity. “Gender identity disorder” seemed to stigmatize gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals. The continuing inclusion of “gender dysphoria,” however, ensures that people suffering with gender identity disorder still have access to health care treatment. (In my opinion, the renaming of “gender identity disorder” to “gender dysphoria” is really a politically correct change. Homosexuality was removed from the DSM back in 1973.)
January 11, 2013 at 11:17 am (Loose Screws Mental Health News)
Tags: Bipolar Disorder, bisexuality, Botox, dementia, Depression, dogs, elderly, light box, pets, PsychCentral, sexuality
According to an article on PsychCentral.com, bisexual men who don’t admit to their sexuality are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. The study, performed at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, evaluated 203 men who had female partners but did not disclose their same-sex behavior to them.
A study done in Australia has found that an MRI can detect young people at risk for bipolar disorder. Researchers studied the brain activity of young people (the article didn’t specify ages) and determined that those at risk for bipolar disorder had reduced brain responses when shown pictures of a variety of facial expressions.
Chalk up the next article to crafty cosmetic surgery advertising. A new study has found that Botox might help prevent depression because it prevents a person from frowning. The study evaluated 84 people who did not respond well to antidepressants. Some were given a Botox injection and the others a placebo. Of the Botox-receiving subjects, 27 percent reported not suffering from depression. PsychCentral notes, however, that the findings haven’t been reviewed for publication in a scientific journal.
Have a dog dealing with depression or seasonal affective disorder? The solution may be to get a light box. Apparently, Max Marvin is the founder of Pawsitive Lighting that offers the Sol Box, a 10,000 lux light box that caters specifically to dogs and cats. The light box will set you back $199.
And finally, a new study suggests that depression in the elderly may be an indication of dementia. I’m a little skeptical of this study considering that 9 percent of Americans already suffer from depression and 3.4 percent suffer from major depression, according to the CDC.
When researchers evaluated 2,000 elderly New Yorkers for depression and then followed them, they found that depression accompanied memory declines but did not necessarily come first.
January 8, 2013 at 11:16 am (Antipsychotics, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Loose Screws Mental Health News, Mental Health/Illness, Schizophrenia)
Tags: Adasuve, agitation, Alexza Pharmaceuticals, asthma, Bipolar Disorder, Books, bronchospasm, C-reactive protein, COPD, CRP, Depression, I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had, Japan, Loose Screws Mental Health News, loxapine, marijuana, Medscape, mental health, mental illness, NICS, pot, psychosis, public school teachers, reading, Schizophrenia, teens, Tony Danza
An antipsychotic inhalation powder has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of agitation in adults with schizophrenia or bipolar I disorder. While loxapine (brand name: Adasuve) by Alexza Pharmaceuticals acts rapidly, the side effects include “bronchospasm and increased mortality in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis,” according to Medscape. In case you don’t know, bronchospasm can lead to acute respiratory problems in people with lung disease, asthma, or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
Plans are for the drug to only be accessible through a medical facility with the ability to treat bronchospasms.
In related and somewhat interesting news, the Medscape article also notes that 3.2 million people in the U.S. are being treated for schizophrenia or bipolar I. “Of these, approximately 90% will develop agitation during the course of their illness.”
That’s an incredibly high number of people who develop agitation. Just sayin’.
According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, patients in a study dealing with depression seemed to have high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for increased risk of heart and inflammatory disease. The lead researcher notes that “people with increased CRP have a two- to threefold risk of depression.” It is not clear whether CRP causes depression or is simply a sign of it. Increased levels of CRP tend to be seen in obese patients and those with chronic diseases.
“More than 21 million Americans suffer from depression, a leading cause of disability, according to Mental Health America.”
Note: the 2011 estimate of those residing in the U.S. stands at more than 311 million.
Depression is increasing among Japan’s public school teachers.
“A report by the Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology shows that in 2011, around 5,200 public school teachers had to go on sick leave due to various mental illnesses, including severe depression.”
The Japan Daily Press article also notes:
“The study also highlights the fact that the main reason for the increasing depression is a school environment that puts too much workload and pressure on the teachers that they cannot have a healthy work-life balance anymore, much less deal with students, their guardians and the paper work that comes with all of these. (emphasis mine)”
I recently finished a book by actor Tony Danza called I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had in which he chronicles his yearlong stint in Philadelphia’s inner city public school system. He echoes some of these sentiments as well. After trying to teach his students, he notes that it is difficult not to get involved in their personal lives as well. In the Epilogue, Danza writes:
“…I can only do so much. Where does teaching stop, and start? Where should it? I don’t really know. To engage my students, I found that I had to become engaged in their lives, their problems, and their futures. That connection was what made the job the most rewarding. Yet it was also the intensity of that involvement that, by the end of the year, had made the job of teaching so much tougher than I’d ever expected.”
It seems that Japan’s public school teachers are no different from American public school teachers.
Although 38 states require mental health background checks, only a quarter of states actually report their statistics to the federal NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System).
And surprise, according to a recent study, pot could lead to psychosis in teens or teens who smoke pot can later develop psychosis. I find it interesting that teens were actually evaluated after smoking pot.
April 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm (Bipolar Disorder, Celebrities)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Celebrities, celebrity sensitivity, Demi Lovato, Depression, mental health, mental illness, People magazine, Stigma
Image from people.com
Catherine Zeta-Jones has bravely put her face on the cover People magazine—and on the face of bipolar disorder. And in a less publicized interview, 18-year-old Demi Lovato of teen Disney fame admitted last month to People that she too also suffers from bipolar disorder.
“This is a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them,” the [Zeta-Jones], 41, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement in this week’s cover story. “If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it. There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.”
Last month, Lovato said:
“I never found out until I went into treatment that I was bipolar. Looking back it makes sense,” she says of her diagnosis. “There were times when I was so manic, I was writing seven songs in one night and I’d be up until 5:30 in the morning.”
I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of mental illness fads, but bipolar disorder has such a stigma attached to it that celebrities who seriously suffer from the disorder have a chance to put a face on and say “There’s no shame in getting help.” And while psychotropic drugs certainly aren’t a cure-all in conjunction with talk and behavioral therapy, bipolar disorder can be managed—not just for these celebs but also for anyone who suffers from the disorder.
April 17, 2011 at 8:35 pm (Bipolar Disorder, Celebrities, Depression)
Tags: actresses, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, bipolar II, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Celebrities, celebrity sensitivity, Depression, mental health, mental illness
Image from people.com
Of all the celebrities I would have pegged with some kind of mental health disorder, Ms. Zeta-Jones would have never made the list. After supporting her husband Michael Douglas through his cancer treatment, she remained quiet about herself only outspoken on issues pertaining to how upbeat and positive the couple was on Douglas’s treatment.
But clearly, being a bedrock for her husband has taken its toll on her. Last week, she checked into a mental health facility seeking treatment for her bipolar II disorder. Bipolar II is characterized by frequent depressive episodes rather than a constant swing of manic-depressive ones. While only Ms. Zeta-Jones knows what’s been going on inside her mind and her heart, I can only imagine that she’s been suffering with some depression for a while but quietly put it aside as her husband struggled to become healthy again.
In the past, I’ve used the Celebrity Sensitivity feature of this blog to mock celebrities who seem to be diagnosed with nearly any mental illness fad that goes around (normally, depression), but this time my heart goes out to Ms. Zeta-Jones who decided to seek treatment for herself instead of putting on a face like everything’s okay and toughing it out.
November 15, 2010 at 7:18 pm (Bipolar Disorder)
Tags: ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, disabilities, insomnia, sleep
This is old news but I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while.
In 2008, bipolar disorder became a list of covered psychiatric conditions under the American Disabilities Act (ADA). While I support the move, I’m somewhat guarded about it since there are a variety of symptoms within bipolar disorder that can make it difficult for a person to perform his or her job. From PsychCentral’s post about it in September 2010:
For ADA purposes, major life activities that may be limited by a mental health disorder could include learning, thinking, concentrating, interacting with others, caring for oneself, speaking, or performing manual tasks. Sleep also may be limited in such a way that daily activities are impaired.
Someone with bipolar disorder may temporarily experience “limits” to handling life activities. A deep bout of depression or insomnia may create a need for time off or for flexible hours. An individual may need time off for doctor appointments. In the daily work environment he or she may need a quieter work area to decrease stress and enhance concentration or more frequent breaks to take a walk or do a relaxation exercise. He or she may need office supplies to help them organize and focus more effectively.
I’ve experienced all of these issues at one point or another (sleep issues have been the most frequent and debilitating) in the past and I completely understand how it can affect someone’s ability to work. However I worry that someone might use this to their advantage to cover bad behavior rather than someone who legitimately needs this protection. But alas, abuses to systems exist everywhere.
This coverage prompts me to ask the question: is bipolar disorder (and depression as well) a legitimate disability?
March 10, 2009 at 8:35 am (Bipolar Disorder, Celebrities, Children)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Celebrities, Children, Fall Out Boy, Pete Wentz, Wentz
I’ve written about fellow bipolar sufferer Pete Wentz before here. How has he managed to keep his highs and lows in check?
His son, Bronx.
“While I’ll always be bipolar, I find it easier to deal with now. With marriage and fatherhood, I’ve finally found two fixed points in my life. They’ve taught me patience. They’ve also taught me that I don’t need to feel guilty about being happy. My emotional seasons are less extreme.
“In the past my brain would never stop. Now I’m a father, the world no longer revolves around me.”
I’ve always wondered whether having a child would change the way I deal with bipolar disorder. Of course, I’m not going to have a child simply as a test case in the hopes that he or she would “cure” me but I think having someone so completely dependent upon me would cause me to think twice about trying to kill myself.
March 3, 2009 at 4:59 pm (Antipsychotics, Bipolar Disorder, Blogs, Loose Screws Mental Health News, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Pharma, Suicide)
Tags: AstraZeneca, Beyond Meds, big pharma, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, commit suicide, Dawdy, Furious Seasons, hanging, hot air, mental illness, Pharma, Philip Dawdy, quetiapine, Seroquel, studies, Suicide
As reported by The New York Times, people with bipolar disorder have a higher risk of suffering from fatal illness according to a study (that reviewed 17 other studies involving more than 331,000 people) reported in the February issue of Psychiatric Services.
In the larger studies, almost every cause of death was higher among bipolar patients: cardiovascular, respiratory, cerebrovascular (including strokes), and endocrine (like diabetes). In the smaller studies, mortality from cerebrovascular disease was higher among those with bipolar illness, but they showed inconsistent results, probably because they used smaller samples or less representative populations.
Gianna at Beyond Meds provides here take here.
Some crazy nurse in Minnesota convinced a Canadian college student to kill herself and walked her through the process of appropriately hanging herself. Ed Morrissey of Hot Air calls the nurse "the first serial suicide-inciter of the modern age." Couldn't have said it better myself.
Philip Dawdy at Furious Seasons is on a roll, holding AstraZeneca accountable for its actions regarding hidden information about Seroquel and now he hosts the Seroquel documents — alongside Lilly's Zyprexa documents — that indicate buried studies. Dawdy's also running a spring fundraiser and I suggest you get your butt in gear and donate to him if it's important to you that someone holds pharmaceutical companies accountable for their actions. I've already done my part.
Sorry this post isn't filled with my normal snark and cynicism. I'm behind on a lot personally — still trying to get the hang of this self-employment thing — and this is what I can throw out for now.
February 18, 2009 at 8:11 am (Children, Diagnoses, Mental Health/Illness, Statistics, Suicide)
Tags: adolescents, anxiety, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Children, Depression, health, health coverage, health insurance, kids, mental health, mental health parity, mental illness, parity, SCHIP, State Children's Health Insurance Program, Suicide, teenagers, teens
The new SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) law that President Obama signed significantly increases health coverage for children, which also includes mental health parity. According to Nancy Shute of U.S. News & World Report, health coverage is expanded to:
“4 million more children beyond the 6 million already covered but also brings mental-health parity to the state programs that provide insurance for children in low-income families, requiring that they get the same access to treatment for bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and other serious disorders as they do for physical ailments.”
Then I stumble across this:
“Mental-health needs are nowhere near being met,” says Jay E. Berkelhamer, past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and chief academic officer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “At least 20 percent of all visits to pediatricians’ offices are related to mental-health problems.“
Normally, though, overworked pediatricians may not ask if a child has a mental-health problem—and may not know where to refer him or her if they do. About 20 percent of children and teenagers have a mental-health problem at any given time, or about 8 million to 13 million people. Two thirds of them are not getting the help they need.
That means out of roughly 40-65 million kids, we have 8-13 million who are “mentally ill.” And then about 5-8 million who aren’t getting proper mental help.
Color me cynical but I think 20 percent is a disproportionately high number to classify children as mentally ill. I think the percentage of adults being classified as mentally ill is exorbitant enough, let alone children who are going through stages in their lives where they’re simply developing, encountering mood swings, being disobedient, and perhaps, being — perish the thought! — normal children.
But let’s address something else here: I don’t think it’s impossible for children to suffer from mental illness but the incidence should be significantly lower.
According to Dr. Louis Kraus, the chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, suicide ranks as the sixth-leading cause of death among ages 5-14 — “although rare.” From ages 15-24, it jumps to number three.
The key word in that last paragraph is suicide is “rare.” The rate of mental illness in children should reflect that somehow. While I’m very happy SCHIP includes widespread mental health parity for low-income families, I’m also concerned children will be overdiagnosed with a “mental illness” when they may simply be dealing with the normal challenges of a difficult life.
“I used to care, but now I take a pill for that.” — Author unknown
Philip Dawdy at Furious Seasons has some great posts on the bipolar child paradigm that further explore the murky world of psychiatry pushing psychiatric illnesses and psychotropic drugs on kids. I’d also recommend reading Soulful Sepulcher as Stephany recounts her and her daughter’s experiences in and out of the mental health system.
(pic from save.org)
February 16, 2009 at 7:18 am (Bipolar Disorder, Diagnoses, Loose Screws Mental Health News, Mental Health/Illness)
Tags: baby addiction, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, climate change, climate change disorder, compulsive shopping, disorders, DSM-V, global warming, inmates, Internet, Internet addiction, mental, mental health, mental illness, overdiagnosis, prison, shopaholic, subthreshold bipolar disorder
I came across an article in my Google Alerts titled, “Harvard study: Under-treatment of mental illness contributes to crime.” Intrigued, I clicked on the link to read more of the article. Turns out the lede is:
Two thirds of prisoners nationwide with a mental illness were off treatment at the time of their arrest, according to a new study by Harvard researchers that suggests under-treatment of mental illness
contributes to crime and incarceration.
The article is poorly titled. The headline was designed to be alarming: “Watch out for those crazy people! They’re violent!” It’s not “under-treatment of mental illness” that “contributes to crime” so much as it is “two-thirds of inmates with mental illness are off medication.” There’s nothing in the article that asserts people with mental illness contribute to the crime rate in America. An interesting read but an inaccurate head.
The New York Times
had an article a few weeks ago on compulsive shopping eventually becoming a legitimate disorder. I’d been wanting to write about this for a while but Gianna at Beyond Meds
beat me to it. She aptly titles her post, “It’s called poor impulse control, people
.” She writes:
It’s a psychological problem. But let’s relegate out of control shopping to a brain disorder too, so people can have one less thing to take responsibility for. This is really getting ridiculous. Pretty soon we won’t be responsible for any of our bad behavior as it all becomes pathologized and out of our hands. And you can be sure they’ll be a drug for it, too. Since their calling it OCD related it’s a good bet they’ll try out SSRIs.
The DSM-V is currently being crafted in secret but everyone in the medical field fully expects new disorders (such as subthreshold bipolar disorder and Internet addiction) to pop up. Don’t be surprised if CSD (compulsive shopping disorder) pops up in it too. (pic via pro.corbis.com)
In related let’s-give-everything-a-diagnosis news, some mental health experts are assigning a new label to women obsessed with having children: baby addiction
…Sometimes the desire to keep having children can be rooted in complex psychological issues dating as far back as one’s childhood. In certain cases, experts say, it can become a compulsion, an obsession or even a “baby addiction.”
While the current book of psychiatric diagnoses, the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” has no entry on baby addiction, mental-health professionals say they see patients, mostly women, who desperately want to keep having newborns, even when they already have several children and aren’t managing their family situation well. That, they say, is a big red flag, no matter what term is used to describe it.
“It can be an addiction,” says Gayle Peterson, a family therapist in the San Francisco area and author of “Making Healthy Families.”
Peterson has seen several women in her practice who’ve been overwhelmed with four or five children, including those with special needs. Some of the women were suffering with depression or panic attacks and yet when their youngest child became a toddler, they wanted another baby. These women can be driven to have more children in an effort to make up for some sort of void or loss, usually from their own unhappy childhood, explains Peterson.
“If you’re just having babies to complete something in yourself that never got completed, you really are talking about an addiction,” she says.
While it might be an addiction, it’s not DSM-V diagnosis-worthy and it definitely doesn’t need medicinal treatment. Get some psychotherapy and call it a day. An addiction like this is behavioral more than anything else. (pic via sodahead.com)
And last but not least, we’ve also got a new case of “climate change delusion
Last year, an anxious, depressed 17-year-old boy was admitted to the psychiatric unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. He was refusing to drink water. Worried about drought related to climate change, the young man was convinced that if he drank, millions of people would die. The Australian doctors wrote the case up as the first known instance of “climate change delusion.”Robert Salo, the psychiatrist who runs the inpatient unit where the boy was treated, has now seen several more patients with psychosis or anxiety disorders focused on climate change, as well as children who are having nightmares about global-warming-related natural disasters.
Of course, no one can predict what effect warming will have on our psyches. The links between mental illness and the weather can be tenuous or even downright contradictory. Depending on which studies you read, suicide is more common, less common, or equally common in hot weather. Ditto dry weather.
It looks like my post just turned into an ODD (OverDiagnosis Disorder) case. I’ll get back to you once I’m free of my concern for the environment, my desire for multiple children, and my penchant for window shopping.
February 9, 2009 at 11:45 am (Bipolar Disorder, Mental Health/Illness)
Tags: bipolar, bipolar awareness month, Bipolar Disorder, bipolar overawareness week
Apparently February is Bipolar Awareness Month. (Who decided this?) I’m well aware that I suffer from bipolar disorder, thankyouverymuch. Looking forward to Bipolar Overawareness Week in May.
February 9, 2009 at 10:51 am (Loose Screws Mental Health News)
Tags: abortion, American Psychological Association, APA, Bipolar Disorder, blues, British Journal of Psychiatry, chronic depression, clinical depression, Daily Mail, Depression, Journal of Psychiatric Research, Loose Screws Mental Health News, mental health, mental health news, mental illness, Philadelphia Weekly, Schizophrenia
I decided to publish a “Loose Screws Mental Health News” post even though I said a few weeks back I wouldn’t do it anymore. Eh, can I change my mind? “Yes I can.”
According to the Journal of Psychiatric Research
and the British Journal of Psychiatry
, women who had abortions suffered from more mental problems than women who did not. However, a report from the American Psychological Association asserts that there is no connection between abortion and mental health issues
. (via CBN News; photo from solarnavigator.net)
I can’t imagine that there is no connection. Considering an abortion is stressful enough. I would think actually following through with it would induce a whole new set of problems.
I’m sure Liz Spikol has probably linked to this article already but the Philadelphia Weekly had a great cover story about a man’s struggle to take care of his mentally ill older brother who has bipolar disorder with psychosis. It’s a long read but well worth it and very touching. It reminded me a little bit of what my mother and I went through with my father which made me very empathetic.
An article in the Daily Mail reports that some scientists think depression can be good for people:
There are, they say, more benefits from the blues. Being sad can leave victims stronger, better able to cope with life’s challenges, and can lead to great achievements.
And their claims may stack up historically with Sir Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Sir Isaac Newton and Beethoven all suffering from some form of depression.
A growing number of psychiatrists are now questioning whether doctors and drug companies are too keen to treat the condition with pills that may have side effects and also harm the evolution of human emotion.
I think there’s some truth to that and I wholeheartedly agree with the third paragraph. However, I wonder if they’re simply addressing normal depression aka “the blues” rather than clinical or chronic depression.
January 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm (Bipolar Disorder, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Schizophrenia, Statistics)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, disorders, mental health, mental illness, mental illnesses, relatives, Schizophrenia, schizophrenic, Seroquel, Zyprexa
According to researchers at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may have common genetic causes. Researchers studied 9 million Swedish people during a 30-year period and discovered that "relatives of people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder had an increased risk of both disorders." The study may also suggest that "the two conditions may simply be different manifestations of the same disease."
The article from Reuters also points out that Seroquel and Zyprexa are used to treat both disorders, which may lead people in the psychiatric industry to further investigate the link between the two illnesses. Here are some interesting discoveries from the study:
* First-degree relatives (parents, siblings, or offspring) of people with either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were at increased risk for both of these conditions.
* If a sibling had schizophrenia, full siblings were nine times more likely than the general population to have schizophrenia and four times more likely to have bipolar disorder.
* If a sibling had bipolar disorder, they were eight times more likely to have bipolar disorder and four times more likely to have schizophrenia.
* Half siblings who shared the same mother were 3.6 times more likely to have schizophrenia if their half sibling had schizophrenia and 4.5 times more likely to have bipolar disorder if their half sibling had bipolar disorder. Half siblings who shared the same father had a 2.7-fold increase in schizophrenia risk and a 2.4-fold increase in bipolar disorder.
* Adopted children with a biological parent with one of the disorders had a significant increase in risk for the other.
Creepy. My father's schizophrenia didn't begin to manifest itself until he was in his 40s. The same is true for my two other aunts as well. It may be silly but I live in fear that I may have the same problem. I'll eventually get a psychiatric advance directive in place just in case that day ever comes. After seeing three family members with debilitating schizophrenia/paranoia, sometimes it gets to the point where the benefits of being drugged up outweigh the risks.
Mood rating: 6
January 13, 2009 at 2:41 pm (Bipolar Disorder, Christian, Depression, Fear, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Personal, Suicide)
Tags: Antidepressants, anxiety, Bible, biblical, Biblical counseling, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Blame It on the Brain, CCEF, Christ, Christ-centered, Christian, Christian counseling, Christian Counseling Education Foundation, Competent to Counsel, counseling, counseling method, Depression, diagnosis, disorders, drug, Ed Welch, Elijah, faith, fatigue, Fear, Freud, Freudian, God, Institute for Nouthetic Studies, integrational counseling, irritability, Jay Adams, Jesus Christ, Jung, Jungian, medication, meds, mental illness, mixed-mood, mixed-mood episodes, nouthetic counseling, Nouthetic counselors, panic attacks, paroxetine, Paxil, problems, psych meds, psychiatric medication, psychiatry, psychology, psychotropics, PTSD, Scriptural, Scriptural principles, scripture, Seroxat, sin, Suicide
Last night, I spent some time on the phone with my husband’s friend’s sister (aka my former pastor’s sister). We’ll call her Natalie.
Natalie was very sweet and kind, really encouraging and strengthening me by sharing her testimony of faith in God. She suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, which has led her to take Paxil (on and off) for the past 7 years. She says the drug has helped her tremendously and who am I to knock the drug (knowing what I know about Paxil/Seroxat) when she has seen the wonders that it has worked in her life?
I briefly explained my story of depression, history of suicide, and diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Although she couldn’t fully relate, she was very sympathetic and understanding. In fact, our conversation was so fruitful, I ended up taking notes!
We briefly touched on the issue of Nouthetic counseling (NC). She has undergone the course and simply needs to be certified. The counselor I currently see is associated with the Christian Counseling Education Foundation (CCEF), which has roots in NC and was founded by the man—Jay Adams—who developed the method. However, CCEF is now known for what is called biblical counseling. The organization has since moved away from pure Nouthetic methods and become more a bit more varied, taking bits and pieces of psychology (and perhaps psychiatry) that line up with the Bible. Adams, disagreeing with the organization’s approach, founded the Institute for Nouthetic Studies and uses the Bible as the sole counseling textbook. According to the wiki entry on Nouthetic counseling, Adams developed the word Nouthetic based on the “New Testament Greek word noutheteō (νουθετέω), which can be variously translated as ‘admonish,’ ‘warn,’ ‘correct,’ ‘exhort,’ or ‘instruct.'”
NC was developed back in the ’70s as a response to the popularity of psychology/psychiatry. Many Christians reject some of the teachings of such popular psychologists as Freud, Jung, Adler, Maslow, etc. Adams’ highly successful book, Competent to Counsel, criticizes the psychology industry and counters its teaching with a Nouthetic approach.
But NC has its Christian critics.
Read the rest of this entry »
December 8, 2008 at 8:34 am (Personal)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Christian, comment, define, definition, Depression, depression introspection, Diagnoses, diagnosis, perception, perceptions, view, views, who i am
Here’s a comment that stuck out to me recently that I wanted to highlight:
I think a lot of us feel like our disorder defines us and who we are. Often times, I feel this way. When I meet new people (which is a difficult thing in itself), I can always tell a difference in how they treat me once they learn that I’m bipolar. It only serves to solidify the notion that being bipolar defines me.
When I began this blog, my subtitle for my blog, depression introspection, was “a born-again Christian female ponders whether she is her diagnosis or whether her diagnosis is part of her.” I wrote back in February 2007 about how people are not their diagnoses. I no longer subscribe to the idea that I am bipolar but that I, rather, suffer from bipolar disorder. I beg to differ that we are not our diagnoses and I will do everything I can to remind myself that Marissa does not equal bipolar disorder. I am so much more than my diagnosis. As I said on my “Who I Am” page in the More About Me section:
This blog has helped me to recognize many of the things that I am.
I truly am more than my diagnosis and that my diagnosis does not define
me. I am not just a person with manic and depressive episodes. I am a
person with a personality….
This is my journey to learn more about myself, my diagnosis, my medical
treatment, and anything relating to my personal life and general mental
Not only that, but as a Bible-believing Christian, I’m learning that my identity needs to be grounded more in God and what He thinks of me rather than what I think of myself.
August 5, 2008 at 11:34 am (Adverse Effects, Anticonvulsants, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Personal)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, cost, drugs, generic, generic equivalent, GlaxoSmithKline, GSK, health insurance, insurance, Lamictal, lamotrigine, medication, meds, money, pharmaceuticals, psych drugs, psych meds, psychotropic, Teva Pharmaceuticals
So much for Miss Up-on-Pharmaceuticals.
I’ve been paying so much attention to Pristiq that the very medication I take slipped out from right under my nose.
How did I find this out? It hit me where it hurt.
In the pockets, of course.
I went to CVS yesterday night for my Lamictal refill. Since I’ve been under my husband’s plan, we’ve been paying about $40 for the medication. So I nearly doubled over when the pharmacy cashier said $54.
I was in a bit of a foul mood about money anyway so the last thing I wanted to do was argue about the cost of my prescription that had jumped up by $14. (Which, in retrospect, I probably should have done because I could have saved $49 right there.)
I came home and made my husband’s day go from bad to worse. He flipped out and got on the phone with his insurance immediately. He said that the max he should pay on any medication is $50 so why was he paying $54 and why the cost rose so sharply.
“Well, sir, it’s because Lamictal has now gone generic and you’re paying the difference between the cost of the medication and the cost of the generic.”
Bob gets off the phone and goes straight to Google News to find out when Lamictal went generic.
According to MarketWatch.com, Teva Pharmaceuticals commenced shipment of lamotrigine tablets on July 22nd. So instead of either the pharmacist asking me if I wanted a generic version or the insurance company letting us know a generic version would be available (it would have saved them money), we ended up paying $49 more than necessary. It appears that Teva’s generic is AB-rated, which means that it has similar strength, bioequivalence, and efficacy. Overall, it likely shouldn’t be a problem if I go from Lamictal to lamotrigine. At least I hope not. We’ll see.
Mood rating: 5
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?
July 28, 2008 at 12:01 pm (Bipolar Disorder, Medicine/Meds, Schizophrenia)
Tags: Alexza Pharmaceuticals, AZ-004, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, drugs, inhalation, inhale, loxapine, medication, psych drugs, psych meds, psychotropic, Risperdal, Schizophrenia, Staccato stystem
Oh no they didn’t. From Alexza Pharmaceuticals’ recent PR:
Alexza Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that it has initiated its second Phase 3 clinical trial with AZ-004 (Staccato(R) loxapine). AZ-004 is an inhalation product candidate being developed for the treatment of acute agitation in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Alexza believes the novel, non-invasive nature and rapid pharmacokinetic (PK) properties resulting from inhaled loxapine administration via the Staccato system (click on the photo to the right to see an enlargelarement) have the potential to make AZ-004 a viable product to treat acute agitation.
The supposed benefits:
- Rapid onset
- Ease of use
- Consistent dose and particle size
- Broad applicability
Is this pharmaceutical company really developing a product to treat schizophrenic and bipolar disorder symptoms by inhaling? I thought the injectable Risperdal was bad. Check out how the Staccato system works. It blows my mind that psych drugs are being developed for injection and inhalation.
July 25, 2008 at 2:30 pm (Bipolar Disorder, Celebrities, Depression, Diagnoses, Mental Health/Illness)
Tags: Abraham Lincoln, Alanis Morissette, anorexia, anorexic, Beethoven, Billy Joel, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Brooke Shields, bulimia, bulimic, Celebrities, Charles Dickens, Courtney Love, depressed, Depression, Drew Carey, eating disorder, Edgar Allen Poe, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Harrison Ford, Janet Jackson, Jim Carrey, John Nash, Kurt Cobain, Ludwig Von Beethoven, Marie Osmond, Mark Twain, Marlon Brando, mental health, mental illness, mentally ill, Mike Wallace, NIN, Nine Inch Nails, Patty Duke, Paula Abdul, postpartum depression, Princess Diana, Ray Charles, Schizophrenia, Sheryl Crow, Terry Bradshaw, Trent Reznor, Van Gogh, Vincent Van Gogh
The local NAMI chapter has literature all over a counter at my local library. One of the pieces of literature actually was a 5×7 index card with a list of famous people who struggled with mental illness. It was kind of interesting so I figured I’d share it. Some I’d already known about; others were a bit of a surprise. How did they figure out who had bipolar disorder back in the 1800s?
Read the rest of this entry »
July 24, 2008 at 12:51 am (Depression, Personal, Statistics, Suicide)
Tags: aesthetic, aestheticism, Art Deco, barrier, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, death, depressed, Depression, Ellington Bridge, Golden Gate, Golden Gate Bridge, impulsive, impulsive act, jumpers, Marin County, San Francisco, San Francisco Chronicle, suicidal, Suicide, suicide barrier, suicide deterrent, suicidee, Taft Bridge
20 people annually or 9,000,000 people annually.
Those are the numbers that the Golden Gate Bridge (GGB) Board of Directors will need to choose between in October.
GGB officials are considering a proposal to erect suicide barriers on the bridge. Public forums were held on Tuesday and Wednesday to gauge public reaction to the five options designed to deter suicides. The cost of erecting one of the barriers is estimated between $40–50 million.
Bridge officials have been culling comments about the barriers at the forums and through the site Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Deterrent Barrier. As of Wednesday, July 23, the San Francisco Chronicle reports:
[O]f the more than 900 tallied so far, an overwhelming 75 percent of the respondents said they prefer that no barrier be built at all. But a small, passionate group of proponents – many of them family
members of people who jumped to their deaths from the bridge – insist a barrier is needed. Any barrier.
“Overwhelming 75 percent” prefer no barrier? That’s not good.
Opponents of the barriers say it will ruin the aesthetic view of the bridge for the yearly estimated 9 million visitors.
I stumbled upon a blog, Bookworm Room, yesterday that brought the issue to my attention. This blogger likely represents the sentiment of the “overwhelming 75 percent.”
Read the rest of this entry »
July 8, 2008 at 5:30 pm (Blogs, Celebrities, Depression, Mental Health/Illness)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Celebrities, celebrity, death, depressed, Depression, famous, mental health, mental illness, Pop-Crunch Show, Schizophrenia, Suicide
The Pop-Crunch Show has a list of 135 Famous People Who Struggled with Depression. I sit on the fence and think that it should probably be retitled "135 Famous People Who Struggled with Mental Health Issues."
But then again, we could throw nearly every celebrity in there, huh? I’m bummed that Tom Cruise isn’t on the list.
June 30, 2008 at 10:51 pm (Personal)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, blog, death, Depression, depression introspection, elderly suicide, Family, Suicide, tragedy, work
It’s not always going to be this grey
All things must pass
All things must pass away
— All Things Must Pass, The Beatles —
I haven’t had a desire to do much of anything lately but somehow I got the energy (and fortune) to figure out how to get my original blog design back. I prefer the format since it’s wider even if the beige gets kind of drab. I also reorganized the blog categories. I’ve become a bit of an organizational freak in the past couple of years. I’m a child of the Real Simple era, I suppose.
I have a whole post just kind of brewing in my mind and it has been for the past two weeks. I’m just taking a bit of a break and trying to figure out which direction I want to take this blog now. I’ve talked about suicide, thought about suicide, and attempted suicide but never remotely encountered anyone who’s actually done it. Now it’s hit my family, and I’m still figuring out what it means to me, my husband, and his family. We have a counseling session tomorrow night so I’m sure we’ll talk more about it then.
In the meantime, work at the ad agency has either been completed (pushed out the door) or is currently in the planning stages, which means I don’t need to go in tomorrow but am tentatively scheduled for Thursday. I have a lot of errands to run tomorrow and have been avoiding checking my e-mail like the plague. I’ll suck up the courage to look at it sometime soon.
Also, I gave my husband Bob Thompson guest author privileges. He’s currently deciding on whether to make a blog post on his grandfather’s suicide and its repercussions in the future. He might or might not. My husband’s not particularly fond of writing but it’s just a heads-up.
In the meantime, be well.
P.S. I’ve been on a Beatles trip lately so I’m probably going to be quoting apt Beatles lyrics for a lot of my future posts.
June 3, 2008 at 10:24 am (Bipolar Disorder, Children, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, News)
Tags: adolescents, Adverse Effects, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, bipolar NOS, child, childhood bipolar disorder, Children, CLPsych, drugs, intueri, medication, meds, mental health, mental illness, Newsweek, psych drugs, psych meds, psychotropics, side effects, teenagers
CLPsych wrote a post on the "Growing Up Bipolar" Newsweek cover story. I agree with most of his points. Especially:
1. Max's problems are described by the journalist as "incurable" and as "a life sentence." It is true that the kid is likely in for a life of trouble. But stating that such difficulties are a certainty for the rest of his life? That's a little too certain and it's not based on any evidence. Show me one study that indicates that 100% of children like Max will always have a high level of psychological difficulties and essentially be unable to function independently.
The article even mentions that "Max will never truly be OK." Apparently, I just learned from my recent viewing of Depression: Out of the Shadows that diagnoses are not static.
Miracles have happened but to say that Max's future doesn't have a grim tint to it is unrealistic. Not because of his diagnoses but because of all 38 different medications that he's already been on.
By 7½, Max was on so many different drugs that Frazier and his
parents could no longer tell if they were helping or hurting him. He
was suffering from tics, blinking his eyes, clearing his throat and
"pulling his clothes like he wanted to get out of his skin," says
By the time Max had reached 8 years old, he was already showing the symptoms of side effects that can occur long-term. Tardive dyskinesia, hyperglycemia, diabetes, akathisia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome are all very real side effects that could develop in Max's teenage years and stick with him permanently. "Max will never truly be OK." Not because of his disorders but because these medications have given him a different "life sentence" — a life sentence of physical, visible afflictions in addition to the emotional and mental disorders he already struggles with.
I haven't really gotten into the child bipolar disorder conversation on this blog because
- it's such a controversial diagnosis that would require lengthy posts that I didn't have time for
- I found the entire diagnosis to be a bunch of hooey
But I will now.
Read the rest of this entry »
May 30, 2008 at 2:36 pm (Bipolar Disorder, Children, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, News, Suicide)
Tags: ADHD, article, bipolar, bipolar child, Bipolar Disorder, BipolarCentral, childhood bipolar disorder, Furious Seasons, Growing Up Bipolar, Health Central, Huffington Post, John McManamy, mania, manic, Mary Carmichael, Max Blake, Newsweek, OCD, oppositional defiant disorder, personality, Peter Breggin, PsychCentral, TAC, Treatment Advocacy Center
If you haven’t been reading the news recently, Newsweek magazine published a feature article on Max, a 10-year-old who struggles mainly with bipolar and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders among other mental illnesses. I read the article and was astounded at what Amy and Richie Blake, Max’s parents, have to contend with. I’m astounded at what Max suffers with.
The article was educational but for all the 8 computer pages that I printed, I didn’t read about Max; I read about his diagnoses:
Max Blake was 7 the first time he tried to kill himself. He wrote a four-page will bequeathing his toys to his friends and jumped out his ground-floor bedroom window, falling six feet into his backyard, bruised but in one piece.
He cried for hours at a time. He banged his head against his crib and screamed until his face burned red. Nursing, cuddling, pacifiers—none of them helped.
Richie carried his son to the backyard and tried to put him down, but Max shrank back in his father’s arms; he hated the feel of the grass beneath his small bare feet. Amy gave Max a bath and turned on the exhaust fan; he put his hands over his ears and screamed. At 13 months, he lined up dozens of Hot Wheels in the same direction, and when Amy nudged one out of order, he shrieked “like you’d just cut his arm off.” At day care, he terrorized his teachers and playmates. He wasn’t the biggest kid in the class, but he attacked without provocation or warning, biting hard enough to leave teeth marks. Every day, he hit and kicked and spat.
By 7½, Max was on so many different drugs that Frazier and his parents could no longer tell if they were helping or hurting him. He was suffering from tics, blinking his eyes, clearing his throat and “pulling his clothes like he wanted to get out of his skin,” says Richie. In February 2005, under Frazier’s supervision, the Blakes took Max off all his meds. With the chemicals out of his system, Max was not the same child he had been at 2. He was worse. … Off his meds, Max became delusional and paranoid. He imagined Amy was poisoning him and refused to eat anything she cooked. He talked about death constantly and slept little more than two hours a night.
During a recent appointment at Frazier’s office, he went into full-fledged mania. Laughing wildly, he rolled on the floor, then crawled over to his parents and grabbed an empty medication bottle, yelling, “Drugs! I’ve got drugs! It’s child safety!” Richie grabbed it back, Max screamed, Richie threw the bottle across the room, as if playing fetch. Max squealed and dove for it, then began to sing into the neck of the bottle: “Booorn to be wiiiiild …” Amy rolled her eyes: “Two kids.” And then: “It’s hard not to laugh.” (I’m not the only one who doesn’t think this is mania.)
All throughout the article, I couldn’t help but think to myself: Who is Max? Max without meds — does he have a personality? What does like to do for fun, even for short periods of time? Karate is mentioned — does he read? He has trouble writing for long stretches. He’s got a friend. What makes Max so charming other than the fact that he’s 10 years old?
(Image from Newsweek)
Read the rest of this entry »
May 29, 2008 at 5:53 pm (Bipolar Disorder, Children, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, News, Opinion/Editorial)
Tags: adolescents, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, child bipolar, childhood bipolar disorder, Children, drugs, Huffington Post, medication, meds, Newsweek, Peter Breggin, pharmaceuticals, psych drugs, psych meds, psychtropics, teenagers, teens, The Huffington Post
Breggin’s post on Newsweek‘s "Growing Up Bipolar" article makes good points but steers clear into wackiness throughout. My only wish is that instead of pointing out the problems of the psychiatric industry, he would have offered some suggested solutions.
Oh, and he flat-out gets some things wrong:
Newsweek makes clear that Max’s parents have serious conflicts over how to raise their son, but they have not pursued therapy, marriage counseling or, apparently, not even parenting classes.
The article DID mention that they tried to pursue marriage counseling but dropped out.
He says he has never been to therapy. But late last year, Amy demanded that the two of them see a marriage counselor. Richie agreed. They went a few times, but there were "scheduling issues," says Richie, and they haven’t gone back. For the moment, they are getting help from the same people who help Max. Anything that makes his life easier makes theirs easier, too.
Then he applies a broad brush from the cases of "out-of-control" children that he’s seen:
In every case of an out-of-control child I have seen in my psychiatric practice, either the parents were unable to reach agreement on a consistent approach to disciplining their child, or a single working mom was trying to raise a young boy without the aid of a male adult in the child’s life.
I like Peter Breggin’s approach to psychotropic drugs for the most part, but sometimes he just gets a little off-base for me.
May 29, 2008 at 1:39 am (Medicine/Meds, Personal)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, depressed, Depression, doctor, experience, Lamictal, meds, new experiences, psychiatrist, side effects
"You’re the most promising person that’s walked through my doors in a long time."
So says the new psychiatrist I went to see today. It was a pretty funny visit but worthless. I’m not sure that this post will communicate that effectively.
Read the rest of this entry »
May 27, 2008 at 9:37 am (Bipolar Disorder, Celebrities)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Celebrities, Depression, mania, manic, Maurice Benard, soap opera, soap operas, Sonny Corinthos
This one’s for the women.
If you’re anything like me, sometime during the 90’s you watched the long-running soap opera General Hospital at one point or another. Well, remember bad boy Sonny Corinthos?
Maurice Benard, the actor behind the character, has openly admitted to struggling with severe bipolar disorder and is a spokesperson for Mental Health America. While I’m not sure which came first (the chicken or the egg), Benard’s charcter, Sonny, also struggles with bipolar disorder on the show. In the past, I’ve read that he flew into rages so bad that he needed to be hospitalized and had to take time away from the set to recover. It’s only fitting that Sonny’s character — as ruthless as he is — shows a true side of Benard who seeks to educate viewers about the disorder.
Combined with his stressful career in organized crime, Sonny’s bipolar disease has caused him to routinely break out in acts of senseless violence. The most infamous example of Sonny’s violent side was when Sonny, during one of his “manic” moods, shot his wife Carly in the skull while she was in the process of giving birth to his son.
That episode sounds like it might have pissed me off instead. But Benard seemed okay with it.
“Two years ago the head writer came up to me about doing a breakdown story. I said as long as it’s done to educate people and to make it right. And we did it. It was fantastic,” the General Hospital actor added.
I wonder what people learned from the overall storyline.
May 22, 2008 at 11:03 am (Blogs)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Blogs, My Bipolar Mother, sites, weblogs
If none of you have found it yet, I’d highly recommend checking out the blog, My Bipolar Mother. A man (who wishes to remain anonymous) writes the continuing saga of having a mother who struggles with severe bipolar disorder while trying to maintain a solid relationship with his father. Here’s a truncated excerpt:
Today, I got a call from Dad, reminding me that there was a package that Mom had sent to my Daughter and Son, who had just had a birthday, and would I mind picking it up. That had also been the subject of a few of Mom’s messages as well. …
I got quite a few messages from Mom yesterday, starting just after I picked Dad up and we were heading out to pizza. When I listened to them, it was really funny to hear just how furious Mom was about me having ’stood Dad up’, and how ‘devastated’ he was when he didn’t hear from me.
My Wife picked up the package today, and got an earful from the postmaster. Apparently Mom has been calling and harassing his employees about the package to the point that none of them will answer the phone when she calls.
My wife also had to go to the mechanic to get the state inspection done, and the owner of the station told her about one of Dad’s neighbors. The lady had dropped her car off for maintenance, and when the owner drove her home she said that they would have to leave a message because she wasn’t answering the phone any more today. Mom had already called her four times (10:00 am) and she just couldn’t take it any more.
I got one call from Mom this morning, thanking me (sarcastically of course) for finally getting around to letting the kids see Dad and taking him out to eat. She just couldn’t understand why I would be so irresponsible as to let Dad sit at home and wait for hours without calling him or anything. After all of her enraged calls yesterday, her voice was really bad today.
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?
May 21, 2008 at 9:09 pm (Depression)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Depression: Out of the Shadows, drugs, dysthymia, ECT, major depressive disorder, manic-depressive, MDD, medication, meds, mental health, mental illness, PBS, postpartum depression, PPD, psychotropics, refractory depression, talk therapy, therapy, treatment-resistant depression
I’m on EST so I’m watching the Depression PBS show. I’ll be live blogging about it because I have nothing better to do with my life. Probably no interesting observations but, like I said, I have nothing better to do right now.
UPDATE: Jane Pauley doesn’t appear until 10.25.
9.07 pm – Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon is sharing his story about his bout of depression. It doesn’t help that his mother, who suffered from a terminal illness, chose to end her life.
9.09 – Dr. Myrna Weissman says that depression "is a biological disorder. It’s not all in your head."
9.12 – The show highlights an adolescent named Emma who’s been struggling with depression since 5th grade. She began "acting out" as a form of self-medication. She ended up going to to an out-of-state psychiatric hospital.
9.15 – Cut to an adolescent male, Hart, who has been suffering from depression since 6th grade. After going to a hospital, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
9.19 – Jed, a 20-year-old college student killed himself supposedly from undiagnosed depression. Dr. Thomas Insel says that suicide is almost twice as common as homicide in the United States.
9.21 – Drs. Geed(?) and Casey at NAMI are using MRI to further research in adolescent depression. An explanation on the neurochemical brain functions in adolescent depression follows.
9.25 – A narrative on postpartum depression begins. Ellie’s husband videotaped Ellie with the baby, Graham, shortly after his birth, and you could see the unhappiness of postpartum of depression on her face. In the homemade video, she holds her child while saying that she had suicidal thoughts the day before and wanted to die because she "couldn’t do this" anymore.
9.29 – Cut to Shep Nuland, author of Lost In America, and explains the circumstances that led to his depression.
9.32 – Dashaun, a member of the Bloods gang, suffered from early life trauma that led to his bouts of depression.
This probably goes without saying but so far, the program is replete with different doctors, none of which appear in segments other than the first one they were featured in.
9.37 – "When you gang bang, it’s just a form of suicide."
9.38 – Segue to Terrie Williams who not only helped Dashaun write his story and helped him recover from his depression, but also suffers from a mild form of depression, dysthymia. Dysthymia is estimated to affect 10-15 million Americans. One of the symptoms is overeating.
9.40 – Williams mentions that stigma of mental illness in the African American community prevents African Americans from seeking treatment.
9.41 – Philip Burguieres(?), a former CEO, suffers from depression and discusses the stigma of mental illness in corporate America.
They’re really covering the whole gamut.
The hubby is getting frustrated because the segments are really just that – segments and they never fully finish anyone’s story but jump back and forth.
9.45 – Back to Andrew Solomon from the beginning of the show. He’s currently taking Remeron, Zoloft, ZYprexa, Wellbutrin, Nemenda(? an alzheimer’s drug), Ranantadine(?), two kinds of fish oil. HOLY CRAP. (I think he’s also on Prozac but don’t hold me to that.)
9.47 – We’re being walked through the neurotransmitter explanation.
9.48 – Poor Andrew thinks he wouldn’t be on as many medications today if he had been on medication a long time ago.
9.48 – Ooh, look! It’s Richard Friedman, the psychologist/psychiatrist from the NYTimes.
9.52 – Back to adolescent Hart Lipton, who is in a special
school that gives him specialized attention. He has bipolar II. He is
on an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer.
9.52 – Emma takes one antidepressant and engages in talk therapy. She tried several different ones before she found one that worked.
9.53 – The Narrator admits that meds in young people isn’t
fully researched and may be a problem. He mentions the black box
warning on antid’s.
9.55 – NIMH docs are working on faster-acting meds for depression – as in 1 to 2-hour relief. Guinea pig patients were administered intravenous ketamine for depression. (WTF???) One of the patients, Carl, says he felt instantly better.
9.58 – Back to Shep. Doctors suggested performing a lobotomy but a resident intervened and suggested ECT. They cut to a scene from One Bird Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in which Jack Nicholson got ECT. Shep says it was worth it and that he began to feel better by the 11th treatment.
10.00 – ECT especially works well on the elderly. A woman, Sue, who developed late onset depression at age 65 comes back for her 9th treatment of ECT. It helps her. Her husband says, "She’s back to her old self."
The next hour of the show under the cut…
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May 20, 2008 at 12:14 pm (Bipolar Disorder, Celebrities, Depression)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Britney Spears, Celebrities, Christina Ricci, Depression, drugs, Liz Spikol, manic-depressive, medication, meds, Mel Gibson, psych drugs, psych meds
Liz Spikol has a new post on celebrities talking about mental disorders. This time, it’s Christina Ricci and Mel Gibson. Ricci has previously admitted to suffering from anorexia but now admits to suffering from depression. Gibson, on the other hand, said in a 2002 interview that he was bipolar (manic-depressive back in the day). Then she’s got a whole list of people who have recently admitted to depression.
Then there’s Britney Spears. If you don’t know who she is, be thankful. For the rest of us who spend our time following celebrity news, there have been rumors swirling around recently that she is pregnant because she’s got a big, protruding belly (bigger than the botched VMA’s last year) even though she’s been exercising regularly.
According to the Daily Mail, Spears isn’t pregnant but seriously bloated as a result of her medication.
A source close to the family says that Britney has been struggling with her weight ever since she had her second son Jayden James, 20 months, and the medication has not helped.
The pop star has been back in training in preparation for a comeback, spending plenty of time on the treadmill – but despite all the effort, she is failing to regain the svelte figure which made her famous.
I wonder what antipsychotics she’s on. Seroquel?
Finally, ABC News wrote about celebrities who suffer from various mental illnesses. I’d been wanting to blog on this some time ago but never had the chance. BPD in OKC beat me to it.
May 19, 2008 at 12:03 am (Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Mental Health/Illness, Personal, Suicide)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, diagnose, diagnosis, DSM, hypomania, hypomanic, medication, mental, mental health, mental illness, overdose, psychiatric, psychiatry, psychology, racing thoughts, suicidal thoughts, Suicide
I finally sat down and read all those posts that I linked to about Bipolar Overawareness Week. I mentioned in my previous post that I feel like I had a contrarian view. Well, I do. Somewhat. Although it’s probably not as contrarian as I’d think.
Let’s take my experience, for example.
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May 18, 2008 at 9:43 pm (Bipolar Disorder, Blogs)
Tags: awareness, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, bipolar overdiagnosed, diagnosis, mental health, mental illness, overdiagnosis
Ok, so I’m incredibly late on this bipolar overdiagnosis week thing (one week, of course) but a bunch of blogs that I know of have already blogged about it. In fact, there have been so many posts on it that I haven’t been able to read and keep up on them all. All I know is that a recent study came out saying bipolar disorder is overdiagnosed. In the meantime, read blogs that have commentary on the matter (most of the links from Furious Seasons):
Furious Seasons — Study: Bipolar Disorder Overdiagnosed
Furious Seasons — Making Sense of Bipolar Disorder Overdiagnosis
Furious Seasons — Major Researchers Support Bipolar Overdiagnosis Study
Furious Seasons — Mental Health Month Meet Bipolar Overdiagnosis Awareness Week
PsychCentral — Bipolar Disorder Overdiagnosed
Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal and Recovery — Celebrating Bipolar Overawareness Week
Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry: A Closer Look — Bipolar Overawareness Week Starts on Monday
I’ll give many of these posts a read before I say anything about it. But as of right now, I’m sitting here with a contrarian view, believe it or not.
April 22, 2008 at 3:54 pm (Bipolar Disorder, News)
Tags: Arapahoe County, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, bipolar teen, Colorado, Michelle Jung, missing, missing teen, teen
A 14-year-old girl who suffers from bipolar disorder has gone missing according to local news reports.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department is asking the public for help in finding Michelle Jung. Deputies say she is in need of her bipolar medication and has not been seen since 1 p.m. Monday at Hampden Academy located at 14301 E. Hampden Ave.
Deputies described Jung at 5 feet tall and weighing 120 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a gray jacket and blue jeans.
Deputies believe she was heading home from school but are unable to find her. Anyone with information should contact local authorities immediately.
April 21, 2008 at 5:14 am (Anticonvulsants, Bipolar Disorder, Blogs, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Pharma)
Tags: articles, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, echo chamber effect, epilepsy, Fierce Pharma, gabapentin, journals, Neurontin, off-label usage, Pfizer, soulful sepulcher, Tim Carey, WSJ blog
Stephany at soulful sepulcher has a post up on how Neurontin has not shown itself to be more effective for bipolar disorder than placebo in clinical trials.
It's actually kind of funny that this discovery has been made in April 2008 because I'd reported on this back in January of 2007:
So let's recap: gabapentin is FDA-approved for epilepsy ONLY. But gabapentin has a slew of off-label uses.
Don't know what off-label means? It means "not FDA-approved to be prescribed for this use."
Now that we've got that out of the way, gabapentin is prescribed off-label for migraines, bipolar disorder, social anxiety disorder, OCD, treatment-resistant depression, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, and in some instances, post-operative chronic pain.
Where did this off-label usage come from? Basically, one journal article published data on beneficial effects for patients on Neurontin for bipolar disorder and then other articles would cite that article as supporting evidence then more articles cited all the other articles that published the positive efficacy data on the drug, creating what UNC researcher Tim Carey calls the "echo chamber effect." From Fierce Pharma:
Hearing it over and over, doctors were led to believe that Neurontin worked for bipolar patients, and prescribed it to lots and lots of them.
These articles that touted the benefits of Neurontin were cited 400 times. Carey:
It “becomes a rumor mill in which physicians may be exposed to these types of articles, and citations of articles, which then gives credibility to off-label use.”
“No scientifically acceptable clinical trial evidence supports use” of the drug in bipolar disorder.
Ouch. Hitting Pfizer where it hurts.
April 19, 2008 at 11:30 pm (Blogs, Mental Health/Illness, Personal, Statistics)
Tags: Antidepressants, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, blog, blogging, Blogs, bpd, Christian blogs, Christian mental health blogs, Christians, Depression, depression introspection, education, Furious Seasons, Google bomb, health, Lamictal, linking, links, mental health, mental illness, My Bipolar Journey, My Life with Bipolar Disorder, Pharma, Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal and Recovery, readers, Risperdal, Roller Coaster, Schizophrenia, Seroquel, sites, soulful sepulcher, weblogs, websites, withdrawal, Zyprexa
From one of Furious Seasons’s latest posts:
Mental Health Blogs Going Bye-Bye?
As I noted earlier, there’s a spate of mental health blogs that are going on hiatus of some kind. Now, it’s my sad duty to report that Gianna Kali’s Bipolar Blast blog is going on an indefinite hiatus as well. You can read her post "Quitting?" for the details. Bottom line: all those years of very high doses of psych meds seem to have injured her body. I cannot even begin to send her enough good wishes. I cannot even begin to express my disgust with some of the bad doctors she ran into over the years.
Also, the Psych Survivor blog, written by a man I only know as Mark, was taken down a few weeks ago, and from what I gather he is in the hospital with heart problems. His was/is a good and strident voice on these issues we all care about and his work is missed.
All of this kind of makes me feel glum, since the two people above had been at the blogging game for well over a year and I sensed that they’d both be around long-term. These are people I care about and it sucks that they won’t be the presence they once were.
Why is it that mental health blogs are so difficult to do and keep going? Why is it so hard for them to find the substantial audiences they deserve? The Internet is crowded with blogs about politics, technology, gadgets, gossip and parenting and many of these seem to do quite well and have huge audiences and long lives, despite the fact that many of them are merely echoes of one another. Are readers of blogs that simple-minded that all they need is the latest news and opinion on Apple’s or Microsoft’s latest bit of software or Obama’s or Hillary’s latest gaffe?
You’d think in a country where 10 percent of the population is on anti-depressants and another 5 percent to 10 percent is likely on some other psych med that there would be a substantial audience for these issues (regardless of what one makes of the dominant mental health paradigm), especially given how wildly popular neuroscience is on the Net. It makes me wonder if we all–and here I include myself–have done something wrong in how we analyze these issues (are we too contrarian?) or if we all simply haven’t been crowded out of the big search engines (that’s how most people find mental health information online) because the Net is so over-populated with pharma sites and allied pro-pharma health websites. I can certainly say that the mainstream media–which usually loves writing about characters on the Net who push against life’s many intellectual tides–has given very little attention to sites like this one, despite the fact that sites like mine have been a very real service to many in the media.
Or maybe the mainstream approach to mental health care is right and the public is just trying to tell us something.
What do you think?
I’ll tell you what I think.
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April 16, 2008 at 11:23 am (Antipsychotics, Bipolar Disorder, Children, Loose Screws Mental Health News, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Suicide)
Tags: Antidepressants, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Children, drugs, farm animals, foster homes, generic, J&J, Johnson & Johnson, mania, medication, mental health, mental illness, polygamous sect, psych drugs, psych meds, Risperdal, Schizophrenia, Suicide, suicide rates, Teva, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
If the state gets its way, hundreds of children could be put in foster homes, in what could be a wrenching cultural adjustment that may require intensive counseling.
Wow. That's all I can say. How do you place 400 different children in foster homes and ensure they'll get proper care? You can't.
March 24, 2008 at 1:40 pm (Christian, Depression, Mental Health/Illness)
Tags: ABC News, alive, belief, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Book of Job, Christ, Christian, church, coincidence, crutch, Depression, Easter, faith, father, God, healing, Jesus, Jesus Christ, living, mental health, mental illness, mixed episode, parent, pastor, prayer, Proverbs, reason, religion, Resurrection Sunday, Son of God, Stigma, suicidal, Suicide, suicide attempt
Thanks to Gianna for sending me a link to an ABC News article about the relationship between religious faith and depression. The article analyzes whether faith can help or exacerbate a mental illness. The exacerbation, as referred to in the article, mostly comes from the stigma of mental illness within the religious community.
“You might be shocked to find out there are some denominations that do harm to people,” said Patricia Murphy, chaplain and assistant professor of psychiatry at Rush University. “Some congregations teach that depression is a sin … that’s the reaction they get when they turn to their pastor.”
Being punished by your religious leader for an unavoidable disorder sounds bad enough — yet it’s often compounded with tacit warnings against leaving the condemning sect.
“Studies have shown that faith leaders are least supportive [with mental health problems],” said Gregg-Schroeder. “There’s this attitude that if you pray harder, you’ll be able to pull yourself out of it. I’ve gone to funerals of people who were told to just pray to Jesus and stop taking your meds.”
I’ve been told that I suffer from depression because I didn’t pray enough or I wasn’t “right with God.” When I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after my high school graduation, I found my pastor and church noticeably absent even though they were aware of the situation. When I was depressed, I’d get verses like Proverbs 15:13, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Great. That’s helpful. Especially when I don’t have a “merry heart.”
When I was forced to leave a fundie conservative Christian college midyear because of my depression, my pastor at the time was clearly disappointed with my decision not to return the following year. I decided that attending a college close to home as a commuter student would be better for my mental health. There was no need to scare more roommates with my occasional mixed episodes. I felt like I’d failed my pastor, my church, and my God. God more so than anyone else. I convinced myself that He must be upset with me – disappointed in me. It’s not easy to recover from depression when you feel like the One who dangles your life from His fingers is pretty pissed at you.
(Image from AP via Yahoo! News)
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March 24, 2008 at 10:54 am (Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, diagnosis, DNA, genes, genetic testing, home bipolar disorder test, home test, mental illness, Psynomics, test
I stumbled upon an AP article on Yahoo! News titled, “Home bipolar disorder test causes stirs.” No kidding.
I read the article trying to figure out how this company, Psynomics, is able to genetically figure out who is more predisposed to what.
To take the test, patients receive by mail a plastic cup that they spit into, seal and send back to Psynomics. The company analyzes DNA in the saliva.
Psynomics will send patients’ test results only to their doctors to avoid the risk of self-diagnosis.
Here’s a sample report located on the Web site (PDF file).
Are you interested? If you’re anyone other than a white person of Northern European ancestry who shows some bipolar symptoms and has at least one other bipolar family member, then you don’t meet the criteria for this testing. Even if you do, save your money and buy something else – the test costs a steep $399 and the results aren’t entirely certain. In fact, researchers and doctors say there is very little data at the moment to support testing DNA for bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses.
[Dr. John] Kelsoe, 52, acknowledges that bipolar disorder probably results from a combination of genetic factors and life experiences, and that the presence of these gene variations does not at all mean that someone will, in fact, develop the disease. He admits, too, that his findings about the genetic basis of the illness are far from complete.
“The goal of this is to try and help doctors make an accurate diagnosis more quickly so the patient can be treated appropriately,” Kelsoe said. “Anything is going to help, even if it just helps a little bit.”
I’m worried that people are going to think that they have bipolar disorder, fork over the money for gene testing, and be told when that they have bipolar disorder when they really don’t. Why manufacture a mental illness for a person that may not exist?
In coming months, at least two other startups led by genetic researchers are set to release their own psychiatric genetic tests. One test claims to predict the risk of developing schizophrenia. The other is designed to forecast the likelihood that some medications for major depression could heighten suicidal thoughts in patients.
As much as I’m not a fan of psychiatrists and there’s always the chance for misdiagnosis, I call this company a scam designed to prey upon people’s insecurities. (Perhaps bipolar people would purchase this in the midst of a spending spree?) Regardless, some people are buying into this product that even the maker admits isn’t entirely accurate.
Psynomics has sold only a few tests so far but is projecting sales of 1,800 tests in 2008 and 30,000 in the next five years.
Considering that it now has major media coverage, it’s likely to take off even more.
March 14, 2008 at 1:11 am (Antidepressants, Bipolar Disorder, Mental Health/Illness, Personal)
Tags: ABC News, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Journey, career, editorial, failure, freelance, freelancing, jobs, mental health, mental illness, Mood swings, skills, work, workplace
I was surprised to see an ABC News article on bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is the “hip” mental illness these days — especially when used to characterize someone with extreme mood swings. One section addressed admitting to bipolar disorder in a work environment:
One day, he let it slip.
“I just blurted it out. ‘I’m sorry I’m getting shock treatments. I can’t remember anything,'” Steve said. His colleagues’ reactions were less than encouraging, he recalled.
“I would say that they were afraid of me,” Steve said. “They stopped referring their clients to me.”
Steve said that eventually his colleagues’ attitudes forced him to leave his job.
I admitted my problem to three people at my job: my managing editor at my last job and three of my coworkers (one with whom I am still friendly).
- The managing editor, who had picked on me mercilessly, finally backed off. As far as I know, she didn’t tell anyone which I appreciated.
- One of my coworkers admitted she had depression to me first before I told her I had bipolar disorder. It’s understood between us that we won’t go around and talk about these things.
- The other coworker also told me about her journey through depression and her treatment afterward. I then revealed my struggle with bipolar disorder. We are friends outside of work now.
- I’d told the last coworker about this shortly after I received my diagnosis after being released from the psych hospital. As far as I know, she didn’t tell anyone. But in the end, she’s the one who said the hurtful things about me in the e-mail I inadvertently received. It’s anyone’s guess if she told other coworkers or if she completely forgot.
From Bipolar Journey:
My experience is: work is work. Outside of work is where one gains support for any illness they struggle with. Acknowledging my response is skewed on the basis of recent events, I can’t recommend telling anyone you work with about one’s illness. I should have kept to my Psychology professor’s advice: “Never tell anyone you work with about your illness, trust me when I tell you: they will treat you differently.”
I attended an outpatient group in late October 2006 after my hospitalization. One lady said that one of her coworkers admitted she was bipolar; since then, the coworker was teased and verbally abused by her supervisor and other coworkers. I’m not positive but I think the person might have even gotten fired lest her disorder interfere with her ability to do her job. (She cleaned pools.)
People with the disorder often have trouble keeping a job and are 40 percent less likely to be employed than the average person, said Ronald Kessler, a public health researcher at Harvard University.
On the other hand, Kessler said, if treated properly, they can be creative and invaluable individuals. Many highly successful authors, artists and professionals have the disorder.
I’ve seen statistics like this before and they worry me. I constantly wonder whether I’ll ever be able to hold down a full-time job for a long period of time. I’m currently unemployed and – to my disbelief – enjoying it. I’m afraid I’ll get lazy and never go back to work. I’m afraid that I’ll start to go in and out of jobs like a revolving door. One of my psychotherapists in college flat out told me that I’d never be able to hold down a job.
As I try to venture into editorial freelancing, I’m afraid of a host of things: outdated skills, inexperience, lack of confidence, failure, libel, confrontation, socializing, networking, creating expectations (of myself) that I never live up to. My counselor told me to just jump in and do it first then worry about the details later. [deep breath]
I fear failure the most. Failure that I’ve forgotten my editorial skills because they haven’t been used daily since 2005. Failure that editors will write me off because I’m a 26-year-old with unimpressive clips like “Bees Infest Dorm Hall” (yawn), “Student Organization Rallies Youth to Vote” (so cliche), and “Penn State Strikes Deal with Napster on File-Sharing” (Nov. 2003 = old). Failure that I’ll write an article, misinterpret the facts, and then get the publication slapped with a lawsuit. Failure that I’ll have to be “pleasantly persistent” in calling up editors, asking for prompt payment of my freelance services. Failure that I will intentionally avoid things that would otherwise propel my career: attending social mixers, networking, doing all the social things that makes my blood run cold because I hate meeting new people (in person). Failure that I’ll look at past awards I’ve received and then never live up to the reason why I received them in the first place. I don’t want to blame bipolar disorder from holding me back but sometimes, I can’t help but think where I’d be in my professional career without it.
(Image from gobears.wordpress.com)
September 19, 2007 at 10:09 am (Blogs)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Bipolar Wellness Writer, Depression, health system, mental health, mental health system, mental hospital, mental illness, soulful sepulcher, Susan Bernard
I think something went screwy with my company's blog block so I was temporarily able to access two blogspot sites. I enjoyed reading Susan Bernard's piece on Bipolar Etiquette at Bipolar Wellness Writer. A helpful excerpt for me:
In order to maintain these relationships over the years, I always made sure of doing two things. First, when I could feel a depressive episode coming on–and I always had at least three days to try and stave it off–I emailed my friends to let them know that I wasn't feeling well and might not be available for a few months. Usually, I just sent a fairly short note, something like this:
I'm feeling a depressive episode on the horizon. Hopefully, it won't be a bad one, but if it is, I want to apologize in advance in case I miss your birthday, anniversary, or other milestones. I'll be thinking of you and I'll let you know when I'm well again.
P.S. Although I'm not feeling like talking on the telephone, for the time being I will respond to email–although it might take a few days. If I feel worse and can't answer your emails, I'll try and let you know.
I was also able to briefly access soulful sepulcher's site and read about the latest developments regarding her 19-year-old daughter experiencing a hell – and there's really no other way to describe it – of a time with the mental health system in Seattle. As I read the post, my jaw continued to drop, my eyes widened, and my heart broke so much that I was near tears. I can't imagine that people can be as callous as they are. It makes me realize that I've been very fortunate in my experience with the health system. When a sexual predator entered my room when I was in the hospital, my family and I lobbied for me to leave ASAP; either that day or the next day, I was gone. The only resistance I encountered was with the police when I tried to file a report. It wasn't outright said, but the general feeling was, "Okay, you're in a mental hospital and want to file a report. What's the point?" It was the only time I'd ever personally felt let down by the justice system. I can't imagine the feeling of being let down by a justice system, a mental health system, a health care system… My heart bleeds for Stephany's daughter and the pain they are both experiencing. Go read their story – it's absolutely heart-wrenching.
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