Treating Bipolar Disorder Without Medication?

Those struggling with Bipolar Disorder and substantial weight gain will be especially interested in this article!

This article appeared on a new site I found Science20.com discussing Bipolar Disorder.  The words ‘Lithium’, ‘weight gain’ and ‘olanzapine’ are mentioned which are all too familiar to me.  Having gained about 60 pounds, I never put two and two together that meds were contributing to my expanding waistline.

Bipolar disorder is a diagnosis given to people who experience periods of intense low mood but also periods of elation and increased energy which can lead to impaired judgement and risky behaviour. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that around 1% of the adult population experience bipolar symptoms at some point in their life.

UK guidance for the treatment of bipolar disorder has an emphasis on medication. However, more than 60% of people with the diagnosis stop taking their medication at some point. This is often because of the common and severe and unpleasant side effects that drugs such as lithium and olanzapine can produce. These include dizziness, diarrhea, slowed movement and substantial weight gain.

Continue reading “Treating Bipolar Disorder Without Medication?”

Explain Hoarding Disorder & Symptoms

The main feature of hoarding disorder is a person’s irrational, persistent difficulty in discarding or parting with possessions — regardless of their actual value. This is a long-standing difficulty, not just something related to a one-time circumstance (such as having difficulty discarding property from something you inherited from a loved one).Discarding means that the person can’t seem to give away, throw away, recycle, or sell things they no longer need (or sometimes, even want).

Continue reading “Explain Hoarding Disorder & Symptoms”

Migraines ~ Appropriate Treatment

image: pinterest.com

I found this article on Migraine.com showing a research study which included people who met the criteria of chronic migraine for appropriate treatments.

There are three vital components for appropriate treatment of migraine:  1. consultation with a health care professional, 2. accurate diagnosis, and 3. adequate treatment. If any one of these areas is not fulfilled, a person’s chance of treatment success is diminished. A study presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual conference in April found that only 4.5% of people with chronic migraine receive minimally appropriate treatment. Researchers considered a person to be receiving minimally appropriate treatment if they used at least one recommended acute migraine treatment and one preventive treatment.

The study included 1,254 people who met the criteria of chronic migraine. Of those, 512 (40.8%) reported currently seeing a health care professional for migraine treatment. Of those, only a quarter (126 participants) had been diagnosed with chronic migraine or transformed migraine. In people who had been diagnosed, 44.4% were receiving minimally appropriate treatment. Only 4.5% met all three vital components for appropriate migraine treatment.

In the study, the likelihood that a person had seen a health care professional for migraine increased with age, frequency/number of migraine symptoms, degree of disability, and having health insurance. Getting a diagnosis was more likely for women, for those with multiple migraine symptoms, and for those who saw a headache specialist.

Another study presented at the same conference showed that only 28% of primary care providers were aware of the American Academy of Neurology’s guidelines for migraine preventive treatments and 40% knew of the Institutes of Medicine’s Choosing Wisely campaign, which provides migraine treatment recommendations. Medication overuse headache was known to 79% of primary care providers, but only 54% knew that products containing butalbital (Fioricet) can cause MOH and only 34% knew narcotics/opioids can. All this translates into fewer diagnoses and suboptimal care for migraine.

image: tumblr

The findings of these studies are deeply disturbing, but they’re also helpful. With this knowledge, doctors can help fill the gaps in treatment and find ways to improve patient care. Patients can act on this information to take charge of their own care by learning about migraine (which you’re doing by reading this article) and advocating for themselves. In her article on the headache specialist shortage, Tammy outlines excellent strategies for getting the best care possible. I recommend taking all her suggestions to heart. All I would add is to take an ally with you to your appointments, if possible. A partner, family member, or friend can help you get your questions answered, can clarify your doctor’s recommendations if you’re too brain-fogged to do so yourself, and can advocate for you if you’re too sick to advocate for yourself.

The research findings are dismal, but that doesn’t mean that people with chronic migraine are out of luck. Instead, it means we have to take and active and proactive role in our care. This can seem daunting and can be exhausting at times, but it’s the only way to ensure that you’re trying the treatments that are best for you and are managing your migraine attacks most effectively.

What is PSYCHOTIC DEPRESSION?

This is a very distressing condition where people often describe feeling black and empty, unable to think or feel.  Suicidal thinking is related to the profound feeling of despair and feeling of self-punishment.

Symptoms of psychotic depression can be summarised as:

  • Observable severe depressed mood
  • Severe social impairment
  • Severe psychomotor disturbance (agitation, retardation, cognitive processing problems)
  • Psychotic features such as delusions and/or hallucinations.

If a patient is very agitated, assume psychosis.  Those with psychotic depression usually don’t recover on an antidepressant alone.

Diagnosis of psychotic depression

Psychotic features:  consistent with mood (mood congruent) or mood incongruent.  Delusions more common than hallucinations (90% vs. 10%).

  • Pathological guilt: common in psychotic depression
  • Psychomotor disturbance: profound
  • Cognitive function: mild cognitive processing problems through to pseudo-dementia.

Useful questions

Some additional useful questions which can help to determine if a patient is suffering from psychotic depression include:

  • Are you a good person? Do you feel guilty? Do you deserve to feel like this?
  • Are you being punished or do you feel you are being punished for something you have done?
  • Are you being watched?  Are you being poisoned?
  • Do you have voices telling you that you are bad … or deserve to be punished… or should kill yourself / someone else?
  • Do you have something physically wrong with you? Can you please explain your concerns to me? What evidence do you have?

Treatment

Continue reading “What is PSYCHOTIC DEPRESSION?”

Child Sex Abuse Case Sheds Light on Warning Signs

This brief news article appeared today, forewarning once again the importance that parents be aware of adults who are in contact with their children.  Note to parents out there:  If your child is courageous enough to approach you, please validate and believe him/her.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A West Meade man is in jail accused of repeatedly molesting an 11-year-old boy.  Investigators say, 44-year-old Darrell Fisher was a “father-figure” to his victim and that is often how something like this starts.

Fisher was reportedly often at places where children were though he didn’t have any children of his own.

He coached for a club lacrosse team started by parents at JT Moore Middle School from 1998-2008. He was a boy scout leader at least from 2001 and he also started a military history group for young men.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “stranger danger” is rare. A child often knows his or her abuser.

The Center for Disease Control says, one in six boys are sexually abused before they’re 18. For girls, it’s one in four.

A few warning signs of child sexual abuse are if your children becomes withdrawn, self-destructive and/or shows poor school performance. Sometimes, though, there are not outward symptoms.

Continue reading “Child Sex Abuse Case Sheds Light on Warning Signs”

Treating Bipolar Disorder Without Medication

This article appeared on a new site I found Science20.com discussing Bipolar Disorder.  The words ‘Lithium’, ‘weight gain’ and ‘olanzapine’ are mentioned which are all too familiar to me.

Bipolar disorder is a diagnosis given to people who experience periods of intense low mood but also periods of elation and increased energy which can lead to impaired judgement and risky behaviour. The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that around 1% of the adult population experience bipolar symptoms at some point in their life.

UK guidance for the treatment of bipolar disorder has an emphasis on medication. However, more than 60% of people with the diagnosis stop taking their medication at some point. This is often because of the common and severe and unpleasant side effects that drugs such as lithium and olanzapine can produce. These include dizziness, diarrhea, slowed movement and substantial weight gain.

A recent review also suggested that medication only helps a small proportion of those it is prescribed to. The review looked at 12 different medication regimes used under several different circumstances and found the highest success rate was just 33%. And lithium, a drug that NICE recommends as the “first-line, long-term pharmacological treatment for bipolar disorder” was found to benefit only about one in seven patients. It is also a very toxic drug.Recent research has found that around one in three of those taking lithium over many years will go on to suffer from chronic renal failure.

Continue reading “Treating Bipolar Disorder Without Medication”

Does Diabetes Complicate Bipolar Disorder?

People with bipolar disorder are three times more likely than the general population to develop type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes typically occurs in adulthood and is associated with insulin resistance, as opposed to type 1, which is usually diagnosed in childhood and is associated with insulin deficiency.

In a talk at the 2015 meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, researcher Tomas Hajek reported that in a large group of bipolar patients, 13% reported a history of type 2 diabetes, 21% were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes upon laboratory evaluation, and 32.2% had pre-diabetes without realizing it. Thus, about half of these patients with bipolar disorder were either affected by diabetes or at risk for it, many without knowing it.

The Bad News

Diabetes complicates the course of bipolar illness. Type 2 diabetes is associated with poorer response to treatment, atrophy of the hippocampus, cognitive impairment, and higher rates of conversion from mild cognitive impairment to full-blown dementia.

The main effect of type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance. The body produces enough insulin, but insulin’s effects at its receptors are impaired. Diabetes also causes deficits in growth factors, increases in the enzyme GSK3B, decreases in mitochondria and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF, which protects neurons), and glucose toxicity.
Recent research by Hajek and colleagues shows that diabetes has several other detrimental effects on the brain in bipolar disorder.

On magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) scans, people with type 2 diabetes had lower levels of NAA, a marker of neuronal integrity, in the prefrontal cortex. This can indicate impaired functioning. People with type 2 diabetes also had lower levels of creatine, indicating impaired energy metabolism. In addition, hippocampal volume decreases with aging, and type 2 diabetes accelerated this age-related decline.

Continue reading “Does Diabetes Complicate Bipolar Disorder?”

Doc, should I be on this many psych meds?

image: The 104 Homestead

I have the luxury of a blister pack now which is filled by the pharmacist for all of my medications.  It also provides me with a record of all medication prescribed, when to take them, dosages, repeats etc., and as I gaze at the list I shudder questioning “ should I be on this myriad of medications, and for how many years now?”  According to my psychiatrist, I should.

Maybe it’s time to reexamine just what I’m taking, but need to ensure there would be no huge regrets.  Previously, at my appointments, it was considered, yet over the years I’ve struggled with some very dark times and meds required adjusting. I’m coping better now, so perhaps time to reassess the meds and also my psychiatric diagnosis from 1994.

An article on PsychologyToday.com talks about this subject, written by Eugene Rubin, M.D., Ph.D.

Continue reading “Doc, should I be on this many psych meds?”

16 Ways Life Would Change in a World Without Mental Illness Stigma

This article was well written and appeared in The Mighty.  It contains quotes from people who have experienced stigma and how they feel their life would change if only they were free to be who they are.

I wrote a similar post that would set me free from the stigma of mental illness called “Stigma – What Would Your Life Be Like?” that I would like to share.  As some of you who have also experienced hell with this illness, I remain in the same boat.  It’s unfair, but we must remain strong while still getting the word out about STIGMA.

https://cherished79.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/no-stigma-what-would-your-life-be-like/

The Mighty Article

http://themighty.com/2015/10/16-ways-life-would-change-in-a-world-without-mental-illness-stigma/

How would a stigma-free world look like for you?

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

 

Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by someone who has  great difficulty in establishing and maintaining close relationships with others. A person with schizotypal personality disorder may have extreme discomfort with such relationships, and therefore have less of a capacity for them. Someone with this disorder usually has cognitive or perceptual distortions as well as eccentricities in their everyday behavior.

Continue reading “Schizotypal Personality Disorder”

‘Thunderclap Headaches’ update: why I was rushed to emergency

My post this week, “Thunderclap Headaches” ~ Probably the worst headache of your life, was emergency worthy and I was instructed to have it checked out immediately.  The ER doc appeared in snooze mode, however, did order a CT scan which showed no abnormalities, but said an MRI takes a closer look, arranged for an appointment; saying that someone will advise me of a date.

Well, today I received my appointment letter for the MRI, and the date is May 29, 2016 @ 8:50 p.m. but they “will attempt to inform me if that date will be changed or cancelled”. BTW, this is the earliest appointment I could get.  Imagine if I didn’t go to Emergency!

I see my neurologist in a few days, I’ll see what he has to say.

‘THUNDERCLAP’ Headaches – Probably the worst headache of your life

You’re relaxing in your favorite chair, or out with friends for coffee or perhaps enjoying a delightful soothing bath, when unexpectedly, BAM, you are struck with this horrendous pain in your head; the worst headache pain you’ve ever felt.  It’s different from a migraine, and termed a “THUNDERCLAP” headache.

Continue reading “‘THUNDERCLAP’ Headaches – Probably the worst headache of your life”

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

 

Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by someone who has  great difficulty in establishing and maintaining close relationships with others. A person with schizotypal personality disorder may have extreme discomfort with such relationships, and therefore have less of a capacity for them. Someone with this disorder usually has cognitive or perceptual distortions as well as eccentricities in their everyday behavior.

Continue reading “Schizotypal Personality Disorder”

Hellish Headaches?….this condition could be the reason

Source: Via Pinterest.com from Melissa Haselton

I’m always looking for other reasons that cause migraines or headaches and came across this:

 Chiari Malformation

Chiari malformation is a congenital (i.e. present at birth) structural problem at the base of the skull that affects the brain and spinal cord.  In fact it is not a malformation of the brain at all.  More accurately, the lower portion of the skull, the portion known as the posterior fossa, is too small to accommodate the lower portion of the brain.  As a result, a portion of the cerebellum called the tonsils is forced to protrude into the spinal column.  This results in compression of the brain stem and spinal cord and interferes with the flow of spinal fluid.  It is the compression of the brain stem and spinal cord that is primarily responsible for the symptoms.  We have learned that compression that is sufficient to cause symptoms can occur even when the cerebellar tonsils protrude by as little as 1 millimeter.

Symptoms Continue reading “Hellish Headaches?….this condition could be the reason”

ER Screening for Suicide Risk ~ not so good

TORONTO – May 20/15 –  Physicians, including psychiatrists, often fail to screen for known suicide risk factors in the emergency department (ED) setting, new research shows.

Investigators at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, found established suicide predictors including bullying, childhood trauma and suicidal plan and intent were not commonly assessed. Even though many of these predictors were deemed important by physicians they were missed in ED assessments.

Continue reading “ER Screening for Suicide Risk ~ not so good”

Difference between: “psychopath” and “sociopath”

You may have heard people call someone else a “psychopath” or a “sociopath.” But what do those words really mean?

You won’t find the definitions in mental health’s official handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  Doctors don’t officially diagnose people as psychopaths or sociopaths.  They use a different term instead: antisocial personality disorder.

Most experts believe psychopaths and sociopaths share a similar set of traits. People like this have a poor inner sense of right and wrong. They also can’t seem to understand or share another person’s feelings. But there are some differences, too.

DO THEY HAVE A CONSCIENCE?

Continue reading “Difference between: “psychopath” and “sociopath””

CLINICAL DEPRESSION ~~ What is it?

Depressive disorders range in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression. Doctors use the term “clinical depression” to describe the more severe, persistent form of depression.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Persistent sadness or feeling of emptiness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Loss of concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

Continue reading “CLINICAL DEPRESSION ~~ What is it?”

Social Anxiety Disorder

 

This seems to cover a wide range of social situations and I question… so many people would be diagnosed with this disorder.   If you were traumatized or abused as a child, would a psychiatrist come to the conclusion that this is probably what you would have and perhaps not dig further, stamping Social Anxiety Disorder on your file?  I would hope not.   So many people are uncomfortable and fall into the “speaking in public” or “eating/drinking/writing/working in front of people” category.  …. Just my opinion.

I do agree with their treatments though, they would alleviate anxiety.

 

Hoarding Disorder & Symptoms

The main feature of hoarding disorder is a person’s irrational, persistent difficulty in discarding or parting with possessions — regardless of their actual value. This is a long-standing difficulty, not just something related to a one-time circumstance (such as having difficulty discarding property from something you inherited from a loved one).Discarding means that the person can’t seem to give away, throw away, recycle, or sell things they no longer need (or sometimes, even want).

Continue reading “Hoarding Disorder & Symptoms”

Reclassification of PTSD diagnosis potentially excludes soldiers diagnosed under previous criteria

A new head-to-head comparison of screening questionnaires for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, shows a worrying discordance between the previous version of the PTSD definition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — fourth edition (DSM-IV) and DSM-5, released in 2013.

Continue reading “Reclassification of PTSD diagnosis potentially excludes soldiers diagnosed under previous criteria”

Is growth in ADHD ’caused by marketing’?

I thought this was an interesting article on ADHD, however, I’m curious to see how parents and others who are caring for ADHD children feel about what these “experts” say.

“The global surge in ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] diagnosis has more to do with marketing than medicine, according to experts,” the Mail Online reports.

But these experts are sociologists, not clinicians, and they present no new peer-reviewed clinical evidence.

Continue reading “Is growth in ADHD ’caused by marketing’?”

3 WOMEN……And Mental Illness

3-tall-women

I had conversations with these three courageous women, while an in-patient on the psychiatric floor of a medical hospital a couple of years ago.  Mentioning my blog and my articles, they agreed for an informal interview as long as I didn’t use their real names.  I was able to converse with each woman separately where they shared their stories.

Note:  I was discharged earlier than any of these women, however, I revisited three weeks later to chat. 

~~~

Clara – Age (46)

Clara’s eyes well up as she recounts her story of anguish and to her, humiliation.  Both wrists are bandaged from a botched suicide attempt, and she stares downward at the floor as she speaks to me.  She has been in the hospital for over three weeks.

Continue reading “3 WOMEN……And Mental Illness”