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

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Different use of brain areas may explain memory problems in schizophrenics

That is the title of this article I am writing about.  I hear about people with schizophrenia and other mental illness that have memory problems.  It would be nice if they can figure out why and know how to fix it. “The enduring memory problems that people with schizophrenia experience may be related to differences in how their brains process information, new research has found.  We found that schizophrenic patients use different areas of their brain than healthy individuals do for working memory, which is an active form of short-term memory,” Sohee Park said.  “Both groups used their frontal cortex while remembering and forgetting.  However, while healthy subjects groups used the right side of this brain areas when asked to remember spatial locations, the schizophrenic patients used a wider network in both hemispheres.”  Schizophrenics use a different part of the brain.  Nothing infuriates me more than when I cannot do something because of my mental illness.
This is very interesting. “This suggests that while healthy people recruit a specialized and focused network of brain areas for specific memory functions, schizophrenic patients seem to rely on a more diffuse and wider network to achieve the same goal. The researchers also found a fundamental difference in the way healthy people and schizophrenic patients made errors.  When healthy people forgot, they had no confidence in their response for that trial and the brain areas that were recruited during correct memory trials remained inactive.  A more complex picture emerged for schizophrenic patients.  When healthy people are correct, there is an increased activation of the right frontal cortex.  When they forget, there is no such increase.  Their brain activation pattern is tightly coupled with their memory performance.  Not so with schizophrenic patients,” Park said. My memory for numbers is great.  For other things I just keep reminding myself that I have to do something.  Or remember something. I do not know how I would do on a test like that.
The article says: “Schizophrenic patients may encode and remember incorrect information.  The brain activation pattern during such error trials indicates that indeed they were remembering something. Albeit incorrect,” she continued “Such coupling of storing incorrect information and feeling confident of one’s response may be one way to think about how delusions get initiated,” Park said.  “Researchers have known since the early 1990s that working memory problems are a consistent symptom of schizophrenia.  The researchers sought to better understand what is occurring in the brain that may be causing these problems.  The right hemisphere is usually recruited during spatial information processing but if it is malfunctioning, as it may be in schizophrenia, the left hemisphere may also be recruited,” Park said.” The brain is not processing right.  You believe something is true and then you have a delusion.
They did tests to figure this out. “Another possible explanation is that schizophrenic patients may have more difficulty with these tasks, and as a result recruit more brain areas to assist them. In the experiment, the subjects were shown a point on a computer screen and told to concentrate upon it.  Three identical black circles were then flashed on a gray background, each in a different location.  After a short delay, the subjects were shown a probe and told to press one key if the probe matched one of the circles show earlier and another if it did not.  They then were told to press another key ranking on a scale from one to five their confidence in their answer about the probe.   The researchers captured images of brain activity during these tasks using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI.  They repeated the experiment to capture data using another tool, near infrared spectroscopy, or NIRS.  NIRS is a new and promising way to study schizophrenia, the researchers believe.”  I hope this works so they can find ways to help people with schizophrenia.  We all could use our memory. It is something that worries me about growing old what problems will I also develop? Or is schizophrenia my only problem in life?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hope

It is what I need at this moment in time.  Here at work and cannot work because my access is not working right.  I want to work because next week I am going to be gone all week.  I want to finish my work so I do not have to think about it next week all though lately something always goes wrong.  That is the same with life just when you think you are turning the corner and everything will work out and then life throws you a curve ball.  How am I going to handle this, then you think of all the times the lord has helped you before and you say no matter how hard this is I will get through this also.
I will get through this life and things eventually will change for the best.  So I will keep plugging along and wait for the good times again.  The hardest thing to overcome is this mental illness.  It really through me for a loop when I found out that I had schizophrenia and to top it off I was in the state hospital and did not know how long I would be there.  You really look at your life and say I have to change or this is how my life will be always locked up.  It does not matter if it is the state hospital or jail or prison it is taking away a person’s freedom.
I made a change that I am glad I made.  I have not been locked back up since 1994 and I would not even know how many years if I did not think back and count the years.  I have been able to see all my grandchildren born and be part of their lives.  I have never been stopped by the police in all these years and that is by someone who they would stop and stop my friends because we had the same hairdo. I have to have hope because there is nothing else but to give up and I will never do that.
I think the hardest thing that ever happen to me was when I faced twenty four years in prison.  I had to fight that charge I could not have faced all those years and as you all know I had my breakdown in prison.  If I would have not had my appeal it would have been disastrous.  It would have been the hardest time I ever did.  As it turned out being at the state hospital was the hardest time I ever did.  You wore street clothes and they had a restaurant there that is what made it so hard.  I always thought of the streets and how I just wanted a chance to make it. Nothing I ever face again in life will be that tough it just seems that way sometimes.
I always know I will be free again and no problems seem that big just frustrating.  I just have to remember this to will pass.  My oldest granddaughter is sixteen already where have the years gone.  I was in school for a lot of those years even though it did not seem that way they did go fast.  That is how long since I smoked also.  I quit when she was born.  I do not miss it and I was a heavy smoker. I see others light up and I do not miss it. Just have to keep up hope and I will get through today also.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Untreated Schizophrenia Raises Risk of Violence, Study Finds

That is the title of this article I am writing about. “A study that tracked released prisoners convicted of violent crimes found that mental health treatment affected rates of subsequent violence among those with schizophrenia.  Most of the 967 prisoners in the study had no psychosis at about nine months after their release.  However, 94 were diagnosed with schizophrenia, 29 with delusional disorder, and 102 with drug-induced psychosis.  After adjusting for demographic factors, psychiatric comorbidities, and substance use, former prisoners whose schizophrenia was untreated during or after imprisonment were found to be three times more likely to be violent after their release than were prisoners who received psychosis treatment or those without psychosis, wrote Robert Keers, Ph.D., of Queen Mary University of London, and colleagues.” They did not get treatment.  That reminds me of me, when I was locked up the second time for a crime I should not have been locked up for.
The counselor I had told me I was a danger to myself and others.  She did not tell me why or what I could do to get help.  She also told me she was not going to allow me to parole.  I knew I was getting out on appeal they did not believe me because all inmates say that.  I was for real.  They should have told me even though I probably would have laughed at them it would not have been such a surprise down the road. “The fact that a prisoner was untreated for psychosis should be considered a risk factor for violent recidivism, they concluded.”  That is true I hope for those that follow do not have to get out of prison only to end up back there or in the state hospital as I did.  My first breakdown was in prison and the counselor I am talking about was at the second facility I was at just waiting for my appeal when I broke down and had a mental illness after being place in solitary confinement.
Then I went to the infirmary and the psychiatrist listen to my story and was going to declare I was insane but changed his mind and just thought it happened because I was not sleeping.  He put me on a sleep medication called halcyon.  They placed me right there behind the walls because he asked where I would like to go and I said there.  The counselor knew why I was there and I was no longer the same inmate I was when I first entered the place. I went back to the infirmary one more time because I just was not myself anymore.  Little did I know I would never be myself ever again.  I was fighting the stress of making it without going back to prison.  Because the two years I did waiting for my appeal was the hardest time I ever did in prison.
My crime I did to get sent to the state hospital was the worse and yes in could be qualified as violent.  It is the worse crime I ever did that is why I do not talk about it.  The hardest time I did in jail was following that crime waiting to go to the state hospital although I did not know that was where I was going I was insane.  As for hating the state hospital I always will and that will keep me from ever going back there and being insane will always keep me medication compliant because I never want to go through that again.  The state hospital even though I do not like it, it showed that time and groups and learning about yourself and mental illness you can change your life around for the good.  You have to think that a person know matter that they do not think they make a difference they do.  If I would have stayed drinking and drugging would I have met my grandchildren and have them on weekends to share my life.  I do not know but am extremely happy no matter what I went through to get here.  I also have the wisdom to make sure my grandkids do not end up like I was. To read that story here is the link.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Increasing rates of premature death, conviction for a violent crime in people with schizophrenia since 1970s, study shows

That is the title of this article I am writing about today.  We have heard from previous articles how people with schizophrenia die earlier than the rest of the population this article goes further. “New research, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, show that rates of adverse outcomes, including premature death and violent crime, in people with schizophrenia are increasing, compared to the general population.  The results come from a unique study, led by Dr Seena Fazel, at Oxford University, UK, which analyses long-term adverse outcomes—including conviction for a violent crime (such as homicide or bodily harm), premature death (before the age of 56), and death by suicide – between 1972 and 2009 in nearly 25,000 people in Sweden diagnosed with schizophrenia or related disorders.”  It is people with a mental illness.  That age 56 is still young to be dying so early.  I guess I really have to watch myself if I want to live to see my grandchildren grow up and get settled.
The article goes on to say: “Overall, the results show that within five years of diagnosis, around 1 in 50 men and women with schizophrenia (2.3% of men and 1.7% of women) died by suicide; around one in 10 (10.7% of men and around one in 37 (2.7%) of women with schizophrenia were convicted of a violent offence within five years of diagnosis.  Overall, men and women with schizophrenia were eight times more likely to die prematurely than the general population.  Analysing the changing rate of adverse outcomes across the study period (1972—2009), the researchers found that the risk of premature death, suicide, and conviction for a violent offence has increased for men and women with schizophrenia in the last 38 years, compared with both the general population, and their unaffected siblings.”  If you read the news about people getting more violent than you have to look at the whole population that is getting more violent than when I was growing up in the seventies.  People did not go around shooting up malls and such as they do now.
Finally the article says: “According to Dr Fazel, ‘In recent years, there has been a lot of focus on primary prevention of schizophrenia – preventing people from getting ill.  While primary prevention is clearly essential and may be some decades away, our study highlights the crucial importance of secondary prevention –treating and managing the risks of adverse outcomes, such as self-harm or violent behavior, in patients.  Risks of these adverse outcomes relative to others in society appear to be increasing in recent decades, suggesting that there is still much work to be done in developing new treatments and mitigating the risks of adverse outcomes in people with schizophrenia.’ However, they add that, ‘importantly, we should remember that, when reporting about the intricate links between schizophrenia and these adverse outcomes, most people with schizophrenia and related disorders are neither violent or suicidal. Despite the need to ensure people with schizophrenia are provided help to reduce their risks of suicide, violence, or premature death, researchers reporting findings also bear the burden of ensuring that most people with schizophrenia and related disorders, who are not violent, are not left to contend with stigma and discrimination.  Policy makers, researchers, and clinicians need to remember the importance of appropriately weighing up the issue of schizophrenia relative to the myriad of other factors that contribute to increased risk of violence and suicide.”  I guess working out and taking my walks I have to make sure I do to stay healthy.  That is about the only thing that worries me because you hear as you get older your body starts to get old also and wear down.  Life’s ups and downs are enough to handle without worrying if I am going to die early or not.  I know that I want to be there as my grandchildren grow up because life is hard and I need to be there when they have problems so I can help.