Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Many With Schizophrenia Say They’re Happy: Study

That is the title of this article about people with schizophrenia saying they are happy.  The article sounds good since many with schizophrenia have negative symptoms. “Even though schizophrenia is one of the most severe forms of mental illness, nearly 40 percent of people with the disorder say they’re happy, new research contends.  Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, surveyed 72 schizophrenia patients, ranging in age from 23 to 70, living in the San Diego area, and found that 37 percent said they were happy all or most of the time.  Their happiness wasn’t related to the length or severity of their mental illness, to their mental or physical status, or to factors such as age and education.  Instead their happiness was associated with positive mental and social characteristics such as optimism, resilience and lower stress levels, the researchers said.” I would guess they are not the ones that have problems due to negative symptoms.  They are just ordinary folks that have a mental illness but do not let it define them.
The article goes on to say: “The findings are valuable because these positive traits can be taught to many people, said the authors of the study, which was published online Aug. 18 in the journal Schizophrenia Research. ‘People tend to think that happiness in schizophrenia is an oxymoron,’ senior author Dr. Dilip Jeste, a professor of psychiatry and neurosciences, said in a university new release. ‘Without discounting the suffering this disease inflicts on people, our study shows that happiness is an attainable goal for at least some schizophrenia patients.  This means we can help make these individuals’ lives happier,’ Jeste added.  By way of comparison, about 83 percent of people without schizophrenia said they were never or rarely happy, compared with about 15 percent of those with the mental disorder.” If they can help make people happier then I am all for it.  I am hardly down that much although I am not happy all the time there are things that come up that makes being happy all the time less likely to happen.
The article ends with: “People with schizophrenia are clearly less happy than those in the general population at large, but this is not surprising,’ study lead author Barton Palmer, a professor in the university’s department of psychiatry, said in the news release.  ‘What is impressive is that almost 40 percent of these patients are reporting happiness and that their happiness is associated with positive psychosocial attributes that can be potentially enhanced,’ Palmer added.  The study was funded, in part, by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) According to the NIMH, schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder.  People with the disorder may hear voices other people don’t hear, they may believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts or plotting to harm them.  This can make them withdrawn or extremely agitated.”  That in itself can make a person not to happy all the time to be controlled by symptoms.  Problems come and go to always be happy is a very good thing. I am usually happy until a problem outside my control happens.  It is a good study and happy they did it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Aim for Next-Gen Schizophrenia Drugs is Dimming Symptoms Without Side Effects

That is the title of this article about a new class of drugs for schizophrenia. “
A recently published study suggests a new class of drug may act as a dimmer switch to control schizophrenia.  The approach is heralded as a method to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia without some of the side-effects associated with current anti-psychotic medicines.  Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that affects one percent of the general population; however, it occurs in 10 percent of people who have a first degree relative with the disorder, such as a parent, brother of sister. The medical condition disturbs a person’s ability to think, feel, and act and is associated with distressing symptoms including hallucinations and delusions.”  I do remember the side effects when I was on Moban.  I could not drink coffee on Stelazine I would shake.  I know a lot of people with schizophrenia have these side effects and they cannot get relief from them.

The article goes on to say: “Researcher Dr. Rob Lane said all current anti-psychotic medicines block the action of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, at a brain protein called the dopamine D2 receptor, resulting in serious side effects. ‘These medications frequently result in serious side effects because this protein is also important for the control of movement.  The side effects can sometimes persist even after the patient has stopped taking the medication,’ said Lane. Co-lead researcher Arthur Christopoulos, Ph.D., said gaining a better understanding of the biology of schizophrenia will lead to more effective drugs.”  Let’s really hope so because the side-effects can make you stop using anti-psychotics.  A person does not always want to be twitching.  Even if you get off the medication it can still last. I hope they can find a dimmer switch.
The article goes on to say: “The idea behind our research is to develop a drug that doesn’t completely block dopamine at the D2 receptor, acts to subtly dial down dopamine’s effect, a  bit like a dimmer switch,’ Christipoulos said. ‘This means that if we can get just the right amount of dial-down, we could treat the symptoms of the disease and avoid some of these side-effects.  We’re a long way yet from developing a drug, but our dimmer switch approach to controlling schizophrenia means it’s conceivable we could have a whole new class of anti-psychotics in the future.’ As published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, the research team also found a unique twist with the molecule, its mechanism of action changed depending on the arrangement of the D2 receptor in the brain.  Lane believes this represents a new approach to develop anti-psychotics, as it gives researchers more information about the protein involved in the disease.  This extra information will help researchers develop new drugs that target the protein.”  Things always take time.  We get older although if it helps someone down the line I believe that is great. I know this takes time although once they figure out what helps than they can get on to figuring how to stop the negative symptoms that trouble so many schizophrenics.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

High IQ Runs in Families with Psychiatric Issues

That is the title of this article I am writing about.  “Schizophrenia is often found in families with high rates of psychological illness.  When one member of a family has schizophrenia, the chances of other members developing psychological problems, including schizophrenia and psychosis, increase.  Some of the factors that are considered when analyzing risk for illness are family history, life stressors, trauma, and IQ.  Each of these had a unique relationship with risk and schizophrenia.” I am hoping that is not true as all I have is my grandchildren and I sure do not want them to develop it.  It does not run in my family as the only one that had is a cousin on my dad’s side.  As far as IQ my mom had some college and my dad is just smart.  I have two brothers and two sisters and none of them developed any sign of mental illness.  I think it is the hard drugs I took such as PCP.
Although the article says: “In a recent study, Kim W. Verwij of the Department of Psychiatry at the University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands sought to explore the influence and evidence of IQ in families with schizophrenia. Using a sample 696 individuals with schizophrenia and their siblings (766), Verwij compared IQ scores to those of 517 individuals with no history of schizophrenia or psychiatric issues.  Researchers collected data from all participants without schizophrenia and scored them separately.  Those with schizophrenia also completed IQ tests and their results were analyzed independently” I guess my schizophrenia must be a fluke and that is what I am hoping for because I never want one family member to go through what I have.
It goes on to say: “The results show that siblings of those with schizophrenia only had elevated IQs if they themselves had any history of mental health issues, or if other family did.  Those siblings who did not have family history, excluding the member with schizophrenia, who also had a family member with mental health issues, had higher IQ scores that the individuals with schizophrenia and no family history. Verwij believes that this suggests a high familial influence on psychiatric impairment in the participants with family illness, while those without may be more influenced by external and variable factors, such as trauma, premature birth, or other stressors. Not only do these factors create a ripe environment for psychological impairment, but they also increase vulnerability for intellectual and cognitive disability.  This study provides much needed insight into the unique association between IQ and genetic predisposition for schizophrenia.  Verweij added, ‘Since the association between IQ scores and family history of psychiatric disorder in siblings is not extensively investigated, more research is needed to further address this question’” This always lead myself to the question how I received my mental illness I know that I have it.  I went through it. I still think something else happened and I really hope that is true.   Other words I have my questions although I do not think they will ever be answered.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sun Sensitivity

That is the title of this article after I wrote last week’s article about vitamin deficiency.  I read a lot of other schizophrenics, and I know about myself.  I touched a little on this last week one thing they did not mention is that people with schizophrenia cannot be out in the sun.  Why because they have sun sensitivity.  I have it even though I am on Geodon.  When I get out in the sun I burn and sweat just going a couple of blocks out in the sun.  That is one reason this last Sunday I took the bus I did not want to go to the store and be all burned up.
I think researchers have to ask people about these things before they just put in they do not get enough sun there is a reason behind it.  Another being talked about is that a person has to learn to love their selves. You always have to be with yourself and I learned that when I was in prison where I was locked up.  A person that is locked up can have hard time not liking themselves.  You are locked in a cell and if you do not get to know yourself and love yourself who else is.  Your family is not going to always be with you.  Sometimes you are the only person around.  We all make mistakes and we all learn sometimes not to make the same mistake twice.
To me I think no matter what I have not matter whom I have in my life I think life is always going to be hard. I do get down once in a while and wonder what I am doing how I lived so long when a lot of my friends have died young. I pushed the envelope a lot and do not understand how mostly besides doing time I came out ok.  I have schizophrenia although I do not have negative symptoms.  You would not know unless I told you. I went to college late in life. I think that was the hardest thing I ever did in life because I could not learn as everyone else I had to have a tutor. I had to say I had a disability because that was the most important thing at the time to finish college no matter what.
I did it took eight years to get a masters.  I would do my best and still it wasn’t until my masters that I learned how to get great grades my declaring that I had a disability and getting help.  No matter how hard life is you can get through it.  I believe it is harder for this generation because everything cost so much.  We did not have cell phones when I was growing up or computers and they all cost without a good job you cannot always have everything a person would want.  Work is the only way to succeed.  Hope that things always turn out for the best.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vitamin D Deficiency Common in Schizophrenia

That is the title of this article  I am writing about. "A new study finds that vitamin D-deficient individuals are twice as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia as people who have sufficient levels of the vitamin. Vitamin D, produced by the skin after exposure to sunlight, helps the body absorb calcium and is needed for bone and muscle health. More than one billion people worldwide are estimated to have deficient levels of vitamin D due to limited sunshine exposure. Vitamin D is often linked to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs the same time every year and maybe attributable to a lack of sunshine. Schizophrenia is a mental illness with symptoms that include delusions and hallucinations." I believe we do not get enough of sun because the type of medication we are on. I know when I was on Moban I could not be out in the sun because it effected my body because of the medication.
Although they do not discuss that here: ‘"Since schizophrenia is more prevalent high latitudes and cold climates, researchers have theorized vitamin D may be connected to the disorder. This is first comprehensive meta-analysis to study the relationship between the two conditions,’ said one of the study’s authors Ahmed Esmaillzadeh, Ph.D. ‘When we examined the finding of several observational studies on vitamin D and schizophrenia, we found people with schizophrenia have lower vitamin D levels than healthy people. Vitamin D deficiency is quite common among people with schizophrenia.’ The researchers reviewed the findings of 19 observational studies that assessed the link between vitamin D and schizophrenia. The meta-analysis found that people with schizophrenia had significantly lower levels of vitamin D in the blood compared to control groups." Does that mean there is not that much schizophrenia in Florida because it is warmer? I think it is all over the world.
The article goes on to say: ‘"The average difference in vitamin D levels between schizophrenic patients and control participants was -5.91 ng/ml. People with vitamin D deficiency were 2.16 times more likely to have schizophrenia than those with sufficient vitamin D in their bloodstreams. In addition, 65 percent of the participants who had schizophrenia also were vitamin D deficient. There is a growing trend in the nutrition science field to consider vitamin D and its relationship to conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and depression,’ Esmaillzadeh said. ‘Our finding support the theory that vitamin D may have a significant impact on psychiatric health. More research is needed to determine how the growing problem of vitamin D deficiency may be affecting our overall health." It can cause problems in ordinary people so it can also affect those with schizophrenia. A person just wonders how much it does.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Schizophrenia: the most misunderstood mental illness?

That is the title of this article I am writing about.  “Schizophrenia affects over 220,000 people in England and is possibly the most stigmatized and misunderstood of all mental illnesses.  While mental health stigma is decreasing overall, thanks in large part to the Time to Change anti stigma campaign which we run with Mind, people with schizophrenia are still feared and demonized.  Over 60 per cent of people with mental health problems say the stigma and discrimination they face is so bad, that it’s worse than the symptoms of the illness itself.  Stigma ruins lives.  It means people end up suffering alone, afraid to tell friends, family and colleagues about what they’re going through.  This silence encourages feelings of shame and can ultimately deter people from getting help.” I would like to be judged for me, not my mental illness. Even though I am highly functioning I do not tell people I have a mental illness.  I figure life is hard enough if you tell them you have a mental illness they stop talking to you and judge how you act.
Let’s let someone else explain what happens: “Someone who knows firsthand how damaging this stigma can be is 33 year old Erica Camus, who was sacked from her job as a university lecturer, after her bosses found out about her schizophrenia diagnosis, which she’d kept hidden from them.  Erica was completely stunned.  ‘It was an awful feeling.  The dean said that if I’d been open about my illness at the start, I’d have still got the job.  But I don’t believe him.  To me, it was blatant discrimination.’  She says that since then, she’s become even more cautious about being open. ‘I’ve discussed it with lots of people who’re in a similar position, but I still don’t know what the best way is.  My strategy now is to avoid telling people unless it’s come up, although it can be very hard to keep under wraps.’”  To lose your job because you have a mental illness that you keep under control is wrong.  I believe we are just like anyone else except we have to take medication to keep us this way.
The article goes on to say: “I think part of the problem is that most people who have never experienced psychosis, find it hard to imagine what it’s like.  Most of us can relate to depression and anxiety, but a lot of us struggle to empathise with people affected by schizophrenia.  Another problem is that when schizophrenia is mentioned in the media or portrayed on screen, it’s almost always linked to violence.  We see press headlines about ‘schizo’ murders and fictional characters in film or on TV are often no better.  Too often, characters with mental illness are the sinister baddies waiting in the shadows, they’re the ones you’re supposed to be frightened of, not empathise with.  This is particularly worrying in light of research by Time to Change, which found that people develop their understanding of mental illness from films, more than any other type of media.  These skewed representations of mental illness have created a false association between schizophrenia and violence in the public imagination.  In reality, violence is not a symptom of the illness and those affected are much more likely to be the victim of a crime than the perpetrator.”  I believe there is more violence done under the influence of alcohol than schizophrenia.  I know firsthand because since I was diagnosed with schizophrenia I have not been arrested for nothing I have not even been stopped and this is a person who was always in jail for something stupid done under the influence. I would not even have gone to the state hospital if it wasn’t for alcohol. Most people do not act upon their delusions, although there are a few that do that is why all the bad media. Please read the entire story at the link it has more.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Adults with Mental Illness twice as likely to use tobacco

That is the title of this article that I am writing about.  Smoking is a hard thing to quit. “Adults with mental illness are twice as likely to use tobacco as adults without mental illness, according to a new American report.  The report found 37.8 percent of adults with mental illness smoke, compared to 17.3 percent of adults without mental illness.  Nearly one-half of adults in the study who experienced mental illness reported smoking in the last 30 days. Smoking rates are highest among those with serious mental illness, multiple disorders and substance use disorders.  Kansas adults with mental illness are twice as likely to use tobacco as adults without mental illness, according to a new report by RTI international and funded by the Kansas Health Foundation.” I never understood why it has a calming effect for people with mental illness.
When I was in my mental illness I do know that I smoked more I do not know why although I did.   In fact I train smoked cigarettes. “The smoking rate among adults with mental illness remains high despite progress made in tobacco control and the decrease of smoking among the general population.’ Said Betty Brown, research health analyst at RTI and lead author of the study.  ‘As a result, people with mental illness are at an increased risk of negative health, financial, and social outcomes associated with their tobacco use.” I quit sixteen years ago. I was a heavy smoker and probably heard this story.  My granddaughter was about to be born and my daughter who was living with her mother told her mother that she had to quit for the baby.  Instead I wanted to babysit my granddaughter and I quit instead.  I went to my doctor and he prescribed Wellbutrin.  It had so many side effects that in a month I gave up on the Wellbutrin and smoking.
I know others have a hard time quitting.  If it was not for the side effects that kept my mind off of smoking I probably would have COPD or something it was getting that bad at thirty five years old I was coughing and I was not sick. “Our findings emphasize the importance of collaboration between the mental health and tobacco control communities to provide cessation support to individuals with mental illness who use tobacco,’ Brown said. ‘To address the issue of tobacco use among those with mental illness and the challenges associated with making progress toward a solution, the Kansas Health Foundation has launched a new effort to address tobacco use among Kansans with serious mental illness through its Fellows leadership program.” I know it is hard quitting although it can be done.  I know if I would not have had so many side effects from the medication I probably could not have quit.  The money I save and also getting to have my grandkids over whenever I want is worth it.
The article ends with: “Through the years we’ve seem significant decreases in the percentage of Americans who smoke, but we’ve done very little to make strides in decreasing those rates among people with mental illness.’ said Dr. Jeff Willett, vice president for programs at the Kansas Health Foundation.  People with mental illness smoke at nearly double the rate of the general population, we see this collaborative effort being a call to action to both the mental health and tobacco control communities.”  As much as I loved to smoke I never thought I would quit. Although the time came and things had changed and I quit because something was more important and it was costing me plenty to smoke all my money not spent on groceries but cigarettes.  My parents that supported my tobacco use throughout all my years of being locked up could not understand why I did not quit before but the time was not