Monday, December 31, 2012

The use of Health Literacy

Health Literacy is, “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions”.
Health literacy not only involves being able to read, it also involves listening, being aware of what you are to understand and having decision making skills. The client or consumer must also have the capability to apply these skills to help the clinician or therapist make any necessary decisions. Poor literacy lends to the knowledge of the clients health, income, employability, education level and can lead to discerning not only the race group yet also social standing. To improve the quality of health care, patients and providers have to work together to maintain communication. Patients must take a role in health related decisions and develop strong information skills in order to be aware of their own health. Health care providers must utilize health communication skills and educators need to provide printed information using understandable language.
Clients and consumers today are faced with complex information and treatment decisions. There are many avenues patients are required to have some knowledge of if they are to begin to understand what their illness is about:
1. Evaluation
2. Analyzing
3. Calculating
4. Interpreting
5. Locating health information
In order to carry out these task consumers must:
1. Be visually literate
2. Be computer literate
3. Be information literate
4. Be able to calculate and understand numbers
As consumers we need to be able to be understood when discussing our health concerns and describe our symptoms, we also need to be able to ask the right questions and we should have a need to understand spoken medical advice and/or treatment directions. Health literacy also includes the ability to understand and be able to search the internet and know particular web-sites which give medical information and definition to medical terms used during sessions with our therapist or clinician.
Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Well Christmas has come and gone.  I had a nice one with family and friends. Especially seeing my youngest grandson so excited, and even though it is so cold it was nice to see snow on the ground.  Thinking about recovery now and what is the best way.  That would be to put your foot forward and keep plowing ahead. We are going to stumble along the way.  That always happens.  You have to expect change and that was always a hard one for me. It does get better, although when you are going through a rough time it does not seem so.  When people tell you it will get better.  You think they are crazy. They are not in my shoes.
How can a person look at the positive when things keep getting worse and more bad stuff keeps happening?  You just have to take it one day at a time and do not forget to give thanks for what you have.  Sooner or later you will get a break.   You will not even remember when it was so rough.  My favorite Christmas song is “I’ll be home for Christmas” because I had so many when I was not.  Do I remember those hours in those days though?  I know they happened though.  You just have to remember they were bad and you do not want to do them over.  That is the same way it is with recovery forget how much you lost and concentrate on achieving small steps.
The biggest word in recovery and life is hope.  Hope the next day and year will be better.  Hope that you can achieve a lot.  I had hope that I could start a new life and I did.  There were downfalls and things do not always look the best.  Although if I keep my sight on achieving everything I want and take small steps I will achieve everything I want.  The hardest thing in life I believe is getting out of prison or the state hospital and wanting to be better and have a better life.  The stumbles will make you want to quit and return to drugs or alcohol.  You have to remember they never work they just bring you down faster.  You will not get rid of problems that way.  Just create more.  I hope everyone had a nice Christmas and keep pushing forward.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Control over my Life

It’s kind of estranged when your reality is not synchronous with the world around you; you might begin to think something’s wrong, that you might be schizophrenic and of course there are other illnesses which can cause symptoms, like delusions or hallucinations.  Getting the correct diagnosis is the first step in getting help.  As I had become a drug addicted teenager, I found I had very few friends and lost the respect of a good many people; success was not in using drugs, and I began to understand that there was something not quite right with the way I thought.  Fear began to eat away at my mind, having no friends my age, those I gained were much older than me and I didn’t understand anything about them, except drugs and alcohol.  As I grew older and finally taking psychiatric treatment, Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous seriously, knowing I was the cause of my own problem, other problems began to set in.  My social life had changed, not so much because of my past association with drugs, yet my physical health did.  Bad bladder, constant diarrhea, headaches and pains in knee joints and arms, I thought I was falling apart again, only this time physically.  I began to feel I was truly mentally ill besides being sickened by other health issues.  I did not concede to give thought that these illnesses were affecting me socially, yet they were and before I began my cessation of drugs and alcohol, I had no perception of any illnesses at all, yet those people I tried to associate with believed differently.
These health issues did affect me in the beginning and eventually the illnesses caused my few friends to wander into the sunset leaving me standing alone in my fears and anxiety as I began to avoid social fraternizing simply because of the control I was losing over my own physical health.
So how do you see your life as wonderful again, after nearly destroying yourself and those you love.  You can change your life for the better by taking care of yourself, both mentally and exercising physically, meeting new people in places where you would share some commonality and by maintaining your belief in that your treatment is working because you have gained confidence.  Take control, even if you might believe it will take some time to cure your illness, take the necessary steps and relate this to your doctor or clergy; he or she is a professional and they are the ones who can provide you with an effective working treatment.

Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The News and Recovery

I usually do not talk about the news when someone with a mental illness kills someone.  Although this latest one hit home, because I have grandchildren and I would never want them harmed in anyway.  My heart goes out to those families.  It is stories like this that bring on a bad image to people with mental illness.  There are online websites trying to change laws like the TreatmentAdvocacy Center I read their website every week.  To see what they say about what happened during the week and the changes happening around the country.  Also I heard on the news this morning that Governor Hinkenlooper is asking for changes in policies in the City of Denver concerning the mentally ill.
When I became mentally ill for the second time here in Denver, my mom called a mental health place and they told her that she could not do anything I would have to ask for help.  That was the law and I think it still is.  The same night she asked for help I was drinking and committed a crime and was sent to the state hospital.  I do not like the state hospital, although it was the best thing that happened to me.  If I would have asked for help out here on the streets I would not have succeeded as well as I did.  The state hospital gave me a chance to start not only my typing from zero also my life.  I was able to take a different fork in the road and change everything about my life.
It worked out good for me because I did not kill anyone.  For that I thank the lord. I hate being mentally ill when it happens.  I know when I read that someone with a mental illness killed a lot of people.  It makes others look bad at that person and all people with mental illness.  I also think how that person ruined their life because they or those around them did not seek help.  Locked up for life in prison or a state hospital is no fun.  I can remember when I was doing thirty days for a DUI and a person I knew told me he had just received a life sentence and laughed about it.  That freaked me out.  Although then life was twenty year before parole now it is forty years or without parole.  That is insane and I do not wish it on anyone.
I do not glamorize my years locked up especially to my grandchildren.  They only know me now and that is the way I will always keep it.  I do not put blame on anyone in the past for the way I was.  I am just thankful for my life now.  The people and the times in the past were just the way they were brought up and they loved in the way they knew how.  Although I would never want anyone to become an alcoholic or drug addict.  I saw too many young people become addicted to drugs and throw their life away and just want to do that drug and forget family and everything.
That is one reason I wanted to become a drug counselor was to help young people.  Although the politics of that profession made me change my mind and go for my masters in a different field. I could not help the ones I wanted to.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Expectations through Recovery

In general medicine and psychiatry recovery has been used as a term meaning the end of an experience or an episode of illness.  A larger concept of “recovery” as a philosophy had become popular in regard to recovery from substance abuse or drug addiction, which for example is within the twelve step programs.  The use of recovery is recent to psychiatric disorders and its movement of self help and the advocacy came forward during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  The attitude of psychiatric rehabilitation began to incorporate it in the 1990’s in the United States followed by other countries.
There are Elements of recovery which are being stressed about in that each person’s journey is a very deep and personal process related to that persons place in the community and society.  There is Hope, finding it as a key to recovery.  It is not just optimism but a belief in yourself and the will to persevere through setbacks.  Hope is not only trusting, yet it also means risking failure and overcoming such.
A secure base or housing, sufficient income, freedom from violence and access to health care is also a part of recovery.  This is how a person builds personal visions and strength instead of being institutionalized.  Recovery is a sense of self and self esteem.  Moving away from insecurity and nurturing a personal space that allows development of understanding, wisdom and growth through spirituality.
Empowerment and self determination are important to recovery which includes self control.  This means developing self confidence for independence and decision making, challenging stigma and prejudice about ones differences and or mental stability.  These ideas in “Recovery” highlight my attitude in maintaining self esteem and strength.  Though I have been in a state of weakness for many years because of addictions prior to my optimistic insight believing I can achieve through understanding and faith, I would like to believe that others can find Hope as their key to recovery and freedom from their fears so that they can build a sense of self and have a more meaningful life. 

Written By Donald Sammons

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

American Giving Awards

This show was on air Saturday night.  Glenn Close received a special recognition award. Her organization is called Bring change 2 mind.  Her organization tries to change the stigma surrounding mental illness.  Glenn’s sister is bipolar and her nephew is schizoaffective.  Her nephew was diagnosed first.  Her family before this happened had never brought up the word or had knowledge of mental illness.  She received her award and talked as did her sister.  It was not discussed in my family either.  She also appeared on the Today show.  I have felt the stigma regarding my illness.  I do not like it when people will stop talking to me because I have a mental illness.
We do need more people like Glenn Close to fight the stigma.  If I did not hate it when I am mentally ill, I would say this illness has changed me for the better.  When I won my appeal and was released from prison.  I wanted to stop drinking and did not drink with my friends and found out we had nothing in common but our drinking.  I could not do it on my own and within two weeks I was drinking again.  This illness gave me a second chance at changing my life. They gave out award to quite a few charity organizations.  One thing I was impressed with was when they talked about hope.  You just put one foot in front of the other and keeping going forward that is what they said.It reminded me of when I had to go to an AA meeting when I was at the state hospital.  The meeting was a mile away and I had to walk and this night there was a bad snow storm.  When I finally made it back to the state hospital I was frozen my mustache was ice.  Although I did it when I crawled into bed, I had proved I would do anything to get out of that place.  You might wonder why I hate the state hospital so much.  It is because of all the freedom there you can wear street clothes; you can meet girls on the grounds and talk to them.  You can go to the cafeteria and buy a hamburger or any meal you would like.  You carried money and with passes could go out to eat or a store.  What kind of lock up is that if I did not hate it?  I would have been there for ten year or longer if I liked the place.
Hope is never giving up just keep pushing forward something has to change or break.  You have to hold on to that dream and not let anything stop you from reaching it.  It took me a long time in college, although I knew one day I would graduate.  Then something that was not planned was getting my Master’s.  It happened a lot faster in getting that.  That is good because it was time to go to work.  We need more shows that show people succeeding when they have a mental illness. I know there is a lot of success out there.  Recovery and success can happen.  American giving awards was a good show to watch.  To see all the organizations that try at help bring change to so many lives.

Monday, December 10, 2012


I have done a few blogs about diabetes and have become conscious about my Type 2 diabetes in the long run as well.  Well it’s the holiday season and the sugar, and puddings and cakes and moans and groans of not being able to partake of all the sugar and spice begins to take its toll on all my friends and my own mental health as well.  One of the ideas that came across to me from an editorial about the “early warning signs” of diabetes is, could a person have diabetes and not know it.  This is called pre-diabetes and you may not know you are experiencing its physiological stress upon your body.  Pre-diabetes is an impaired glucose tolerance, a health condition without symptoms.  It exists when the glucose levels are high yet still too low to be known as a diabetic diagnosis. Most everyone knows what can happen while having diabetes.  Blindness, heart attack, stroke, these are serious affectations of diabetes.  Having pre-diabetes is certainly present, before someone contracts Type 2 diabetes, and that includes the complications, including depression, anxiety and apathy, which are all mental illnesses, of which a therapist can be seen for. 
Pre-diabetes can be diagnosed and it can be prevented.  Making behavior changes such as choices of food, and changing your physical activity to help lose weight and reduce Type 2 diabetes helps in overcoming pre-diabetes and thereby overcoming the malady.  If you are over 45 years of age, overweight or not physically active, you might find these are a few of the characteristics which may bring about pre-diabetes.
When the holiday season begins, eat fresh, fruits, vegetables, grain, low fat dairy products and lean meats.  Don’t tell yourself “I’ll just have one”, if you’re offered candies, and pies and puddings and cakes, give them to someone else or wrap them up to give away at a later date, and of course it doesn’t hurt to say no.  Exercise can help you with your weight loss, if your ashamed of your weight, run in place with small five or ten pound weights, this can help you, your lungs and heart and build your self esteem as well. 

Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Understanding Schizophrenia

The title of this article understanding Schizophrenia is the blog I am writing about today.  It talks about Toronto’s Lesley Skelly who is getting to know her son who is the age of twenty three.  For her he is not the same son she raised. “When he was diagnosed, at 19, with schizophrenia, it was like he died and our family went through the grieving process, Skelly says.  Now we are learning about our new son who is different from the child we once knew.” The illness changes you.  For me it changed me for the better I believe.  I am not the same person that I was in my teens and early twenties.   I had DUI’s and was in prison.  I do not hang around all my friends from that time.  They have left me their numbers if I ever change my mind and want to talk and be friends again.   I do think of them and sometimes I want to pick up the phone and call my old friend.  Although I am different and I do not get high no more and even though alcohol has not affected them.  They never were in trouble just me.
This illness changed me for the better, although it is not the same for everyone. “The shock of schizophrenia is that it manifests in late adolescence or early adulthood, and parents must accept that the child they have known and loved for more than a decade may be irrevocably lost, Andrew Solomon writes, even as that child looks much the same as ever.”  I am a paranoid schizophrenic and my illness did not come on till I was twenty eight.  I was in prison at the time and it did change me, I went from one prison when it happened to another.  It was not because my friends at the time changed I had changed. It is hard to describe.   I was already waiting on my appeal and knew that I no longer wanted to be locked up.  Although the illness changed something in my life where I wanted to different and was.
The media always portray people with mental illness as dangerous and going to hurt or kill you. “But people with schizophrenia are really at a higher risk of hurting themselves, Baruch says. They are individuals who have difficulties in their thinking, they hear voices, they see things, they don’t perceive reality the way others do; they are often suspicious and withdrawn.  We need to educate the public as to what this disorder actually is.”  I remember at the state hospital thinking the TV was talking to me.  I could not watch it and that is one time you do not want to be in your mind and wish you could listen to the radio or TV.  The radio also bugged me; I believed it was being broadcasted from prison.
The good thing about the state hospital is that they taught me how to take my medication and to do it at a set time.  That helps to always remember and become routine.  “The majority of individuals with schizophrenia do not take their medication, says Baruch, explaining non-compliance can mean anything from not taking meds at all to missing a day here and there.  Data shows that even if you miss 10 days on an annual basis, the chances of relapsing or rehospitalization is doubled.” I never want relapse.  I do not like being mental ill, so I always want to remember my medication.  I have grandkids that I love and do not want to miss a day without them or my daughter.  Life is hard enough but to add being mentally ill that is too hard.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Recovery Story

I have read a few recovery stories, reading them now and then, to keep myself in check with my own Recovery and therapy.  I often cheer for those who have overcome their drug use, their alcoholism and still battle with having to overcome the mental diagnosis which caused them to forsake the world they live in.  The person I am writing about at this time lived a clean and sober life after getting out of prison for many years, then suddenly relapsed on cocaine and became lost in despair and recklessness, living the same abandonment he suffered in his childhood.  He caught himself falling and faced his mistakes once again, this time teaching others as a peer specialist, he has relapsed and gained strength again as others before him have done.
As he began to slip away from his sobriety, thievery began to take him down into other depths.  He had been married and began using again on the streets, literally stealing from his job, yet as he understood what he was doing, he turned and faced the problem he was having and began to stand up again to the circumstances which caused his problem.  He said one reason he relapsed is because he forgot his coping skills as he is a trained mental health educator, who has a dual diagnosis—mood disorder and drug addiction.  He eventually checked into the hospital knowing this was the most necessary of things to do.  This same man was an ex-convict and those whom he had worked with who were either drug users or drug dealers who he felt put his sobriety in danger.
“The mental health care system has long made use of former patients as counselors and practice has been controversial…”
For one thing our ex-drug addict/convict is a self taught ex-convict who has become a prominent peer trainer giving classes across the country today.  He is one of the small number of people whom have described publicly how hard it is to manage a severe dual-diagnosis and what the setbacks could be.  With the help of religion, medication and self expression, he as others have found a way out of addiction and learned to maintain their symptoms of dual diagnosis, without having to return to the shadows.
Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Exercise and Schizophrenia

This article says that exercise benefits physical and  mental health in patients with schizophrenia. “In a study of 63 patients with schizophrenia, Thomas Scheewe (University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands) and co-authors found that 1 or 2 hours of exercise therapy per week significantly reduced positive and negative symptoms, depression, and the need for care, and improved cardiovascular fitness compared with occupational therapy.” I do know that exercise will help you lose or maintain the level of weight a person has.  It is good to learn that it helps with the negative symptoms also.
They also say: “Exercise therapy appears to be an effective add-on-treatment in schizophrenia, they write in Acta Psychiatica Scandinavica.  In total, 31 patients were randomly assigned to undertake 6 months of exercise therapy, which was primarily designed to improve cardiovascular fitness but also included muscle strengthening exercises for variety, and 32 to receive occupational therapy, which comprised creative and recreational activities such as painting, reading, and computer activities.” I have continued doing my walking, although I have not hit the treadmill.  I have no excuse I have to start again, because that is what helps a lot to lose weight changing up to different exercises.
The article goes on to say that: “Moreover, in per protocol analysis, which only included patient in both groups who had a compliance rate of at least 50%, exercise therapy was associated with a significant 20.7% reduction in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) scores…”That is good news and of course it helps keep depression away.  They also say it helped reduce the need of care.   I know exercise work well, that is why I have to do two types the treadmill and walking.  I want my legs to be able to walk well into old age.  You can also visit us at

Monday, November 26, 2012

Apathy: An Unseen Connection

There is a strong connection which bonds apathy and other mental illnesses.  For instance apathy is a symptom of schizophrenia and the many people who have a schizophrenic diagnosis show little interest in people, events or emotions.  In other words they have “tuned out” a portion, if not all of reality.  People who are suffering from depression are often negative in their feelings of what surrounds them; as such they too have no interest in anything which gives pleasure or any experience which can bring them joy.
What is apathy?  Apathy in short is indifference, a lack of will or motivation to care.  Apathy is not depression it is a symptom, the result of an illness, event, though it is an illness, you can even relate it to being a symptom to other more physical diseases such as Alzheimer disease.  It is said that people who are apathetic do not take care of themselves as well as other consumers who are not apathetic, but this is said only in relation to other psychiatric illnesses.
 “The world Health Organization defines health as an optimal state of being that maximizes ones potential, for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth.”
I have sat for many hours with my mind closed to the outside world in the past, not only ignoring social activities, yet also closed to the emotions of myself and finding only darkness inside and people to eschew from my way of life.  I had no idea I was apathetic, living without motivation, lacking any pleasurable existence, because I did not want to find one.  I understood the physical aspect of my life was suffering in a small sense, yet it is not depression I am suffering from, though during these times I did not understand what it meant to be Bi-Polar either, I was living in an up and down kind of world.  Many, many people experience apathy at one time or another, the reality of its disappointment is an uncaring attitude or slothful emotion, which is a part of life and apathy is a way to hide, with these negative symptoms such as stress can be dealing with external problems.  Yet, apathy can “enable people to move forward” and try something new when the rope loosens: you can see what is new which has become a part of the smile you’ve lost. 

Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Older Adults with Schizophrenia Can Achieve Remission

The title says schizophrenia can be in remission and that is good news for when we get older. “Many older adults with a history of chronic schizophrenia can have sustained remission if they receive appropriate psychosocial stimulation and support, according to Dr. Dilip V. Jeste.  Schizophrenia is a less important barrier to successful aging than are societal attitudes, health care disparity and scientific or clinical biases, said Dr. Jeste, president of the American Psychiatric Association and chief of geriatric psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).”  To me that sounds good because the last thing I would want is to be a burden because I have this disease.  I would love to live independent for the rest of my life.
They talk about the things that can help: “Optimizing pharmacotherapy, psychosocial interventions, diet, and exercise; curbing substance abuse; and adopting a positive approach on the part of clinicians, patients, and their families can help people with schizophrenia move gently into old age, Dr. Jeste said.” If I keep doing the things I am doing I should be successful.  I am not planning on getting a car.  Walking and taking the bus are important to me.  I would like to continue to be able to walk at least a mile when I would like no matter what age I am.  The article goes on to say: “Currently, people with chronic schizophrenia face many obstacles to successful aging, including stigma, poverty, and lack of insurance.  But they also face long-held biases of some scientists and clinicians who regard schizophrenia as intractable, as well as facing physical comorbidities such as metabolic syndrome, see in one study in 60% of middle-aged and older individuals with schizophrenia (J. Clin. Psychopharmacol. 2009; 29:10-5).In another study, investigators found that the Framingham 10-year risk of coronary heart disease rose by nearly 80% in middle-aged and older patients with schizophrenia (Schizophr. Res. 2001; 125:259-9). Dr. Jeste noted.”  All those obstacles are hard to get rid of when you cannot get out of the house for lack of money is one.  Negative symptoms are another obstacle that is not easy to get rid of.
The article also says: “People with schizophrenia characteristically have higher levels of stress, tobacco use, and alcohol and substance use, and are more likely to have a sedentary lifestyle.  These factors often are exacerbated by poor health care, in addition to the biology of schizophrenia itself.  Also, schizophrenia patients are affected by the adverse effects associated with medications such as atypical antipsychotics, which often are associated with weight gain and increased risk for type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and other cardio and cerebrovascular disorders.  For these reasons, mortality in schizophrenia is higher than in the general population.” I know schizophrenics smoke because of the calming effect.  I was able to quit, I do not know if it was the side effects from the wellbutrin that I only took for thirty days because they were too much that helped me quit.  The other reasons are I had to have my grandchildren come visit in a smoke free house.
The last of the article says: “UCSD investigators have looked at more than 1,400 middle-aged and older people with schizophrenia, nearly 80% of whom had prodromal symptoms of the disorder before the age of 40.  In longitudinal follow-up with clinical, neuropsychological, and functional evaluations, the investigators found that people with schizophrenia who were adequately treated had a relatively stable course, improvement over time in psychotic symptoms, and a rate of age-related cognitive change similar to that of people without schizophrenia (Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 2003; 107:336-43).  As would be expected, people with schizophrenia experienced declines in physical health, but they also reported improvements in mental health, as measured by self-rated quality of life, the authors found. (Schizophr. Res. 2009:108: 207-13).”  It is always good to follow through and do well in treatment.  Still it would be nice once the stigma goes away if it ever does.  We age the same as the rest of the population.  Although it looks like our mental health is better with schizophrenia.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Schizophrenia: Walking Onward

Doctors and researchers have often wondered how people with schizophrenia manage their own symptoms to the point that they build their lives over again and many of them successfully.  People with schizophrenia always keep their diagnosis a secret and rarely do they volunteer for any kind of study; this only weighs the problem of having being diagnosed as a schizophrenic.
Some professionals feel this attitude is changing because some sufferers happen to be celebrities in the world of business and the arts.  At some time in their lives these celebrities have their biographies written or memoirs, about their struggles with the illness and they become suddenly, overnight sensations.  In the realm of psychiatric science some of these people go on speaking tours, giving doctors and therapist a firsthand experience of seeing not only themselves, yet the individual who suddenly makes the lime light of their lives glow again.  Some of these doctors and therapist are people with somewhat the same diagnosis, there by building up a fellowship, who begin to volunteer their time by participating as clients in psychiatric studies.  These doctors and therapist have in turn self diagnosed themselves as many common people or consumers have done.
I have for many, many years kept quiet about my drug addiction and mental illness.  Though I am not a celebrity, nor a patron of the arts, I kept myself at a distance from people when I was first diagnosed, constantly dwelling on how to overcome the feelings and emotions as well as the twisted thoughts I was prone to have throughout the years.  There was never a book written by me or about me, though the many I perused, began to shed light on the illness I have and conversations with “normal” peoples edged me on to greater strengths, with many realistic ideas.  You can succeed taking first the small footsteps and weeding out the thoughts that have you seeing and hearing monsters in the dark.  These celebrities have the time to reach in the closet and publish their monsters, yet as you or I who are struggling to manage our mental illness, we know we do not have the courtesy of a myriad of professionals to wind our watches, we must keep climbing to reach our goals of overcoming the illness which besets us. 

 Written by Donald S.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Meditation for Consumers of Mental Health

If you are a mental health consumer such as myself, whose mind wanders to and fro’, know that there is further help besides Cognitive Therapy or DBT. Meditation is an ancient practice which began in the Eastern part of the world and it is a philosophy which helps you find inner peace and silence of mind as well as helping you to focus on the physical nature of yourself, such as breathing and thinking.
The conscious mind wanders day to day and time out by meditation helps you to bring your world into focus. Meditating throughout the day helps you to gain calmness and brings you to a higher attentiveness. It has been understood that meditation helps reduce stress that exist in parts of the brain. This stress and anxiousness is caused by parts of the brain which are overactive and meditation is known to reduce this activity.
There are parts of the brain which are involved in very intense emotions, our emotions escalate and we feel love or pain, all of this is emotional. We live these emotions over and over again and our thinking feeds these emotions until we become overwhelmed.
Once dismissed as pretentious but now brain scans prove Eastern philosophies can be effective in treating mental illness Mail Online
Meditation doesn’t stop a person from feeling or thinking, it just gives you more control over what you are experiencing. “Further to that, we have discovered in clinical trials that mindfulness works as well as antidepressants in preventing relapse of depression. It can also be used alongside of drugs.”
Written by Donald S

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Antipsychotics Boost Life Expectancy of Those with Schizophrenia

This article talks about living longer with schizophrenia if you take your medicine. We usually talk about how people with mental illness die twenty five years younger than the rest of the population. “New research shows that individuals with schizophrenia are significantly more likely to live longer if they take their antipsychotic drugs on schedule, avoid extremely high doses and also regularly see a mental health professional.” Take a dose that is not too high and does the job without giving you a relapse or symptoms that is what I get out of this study.
The article also says: “Psychiatrists have long known that people with schizophrenia who stick to a drug regimen have fewer of the debilitating delusions and hallucinations that are hallmarks of this illness, say researchers at John Hopkins University.” Most who take their medication do not have symptoms. I learned also to always take my medication at a certain time of the night. That schedule was taught to me in the State Hospital. We always took it at the same time. You get use to the schedule even out here. “But there are concerns about possible side effects of the medication, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, the researchers note.” I believe that is with all medication. As I wrote last week on being healthier, I have cut down on the medications that I believe I do not need.
I believe I was misdiagnosed on some, now I am on blood pressure medication and my Geodon. I believe that if I keep exercising and losing weight I will only be on the Geodon in the future, of course with my doctor’s approval. “We know that antipsychotic medications reduce symptoms, and our study show that staying on reasonable, recommended doses is associated with longer life…The same is true for going to see a psychiatrist or therapist.” Just doing what you have to do anyway. “She added that regular visits to a mental health professional are one way to monitor and encourage drug-use compliance, but the visits themselves also increased survival in this vulnerable population.” You can discuss your medication and how you have been doing. They are saying it will help you live longer that is a bonus we like.
The article says: “Over the decade-long study period, taking medication did not increase the risk of death and there was a trend towards reducing the mortality rate, the researchers found. They also found that each additional visit per year to a mental health professional was linked to a 5 percent reduction in risk of death overall. The study did not rule out all links between increased mortality and antipsychotics drugs. For example, her team found that people who took high doses of first-generation antipsychotic medication daily (1500 mg or greater chlorpromazine equivalents) were 88 percent more likely to die.” Low doses although you have to take what the doctor recommends to keep your symptoms down or none.
They also talk about: “She said mortality rates possibly increased in this group because first-generation antipsychotics have been associated with cardiac disease risks, and among those who died while taking the larger doses, 53 percent died of cardiovascular disease. These drugs work very well, but there is clearly a point of diminishing returns, she said. You rarely need to be on extremely high doses.” They find new things out every day. Although this study sounds very good and is something I like to hear.
The ending of this article is “If people are taking their medication, they usually have fewer symptoms and are able to be more organized in other areas of their lives, said Cullen. We believe they are then more likely to make appointments with their primary care doctors, to stay on top of other illnesses they may have and to regularly take diabetes, blood pressure or cholesterol medication that they may require to stay healthy. We also believe that they are more likely to be socially engaged and have a healthier lifestyle. If your illness is under control, you can do a lot more.” Reading the websites that is what I would like for all that has schizophrenia to do more and have even less negative symptoms. I know they would like the same. It is about time we have good news about this disease.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Being Emotionally Aware

Emotional Awareness is self awareness and the awareness of the feelings of other people. There are levels of emotional awareness such as becoming aware of the feeling when we first think about it or realizing we are feeling something at that particular moment. Understanding we are being impatient or judgmental are two examples of our emotions which may be negative emotions. Acknowledging people, though is no difference in facing negative emotions and should be a more positive response which may be understood if negative through acknowledgment, by being responsible without being negative and simply “break the ice” by saying, Hello.
Not knowing exactly what you are feeling you can’t help but notice and with knowledge know you are feeling something; about what you are doing, how you may be feeling, or whom you are being distant with.
Through nature we have ways in which we understand our feelings and what those feelings or emotions are. Negative emotions draw us towards the unhealthy parts of life of which we face. The reality of negative emotions; we are distant or out of balance and we need to reconnect with the healthier aspects of life. If we think about our feelings we can be shown what causes the negative thoughts and can overcome them with positive ideas. Yet, if we choose not to search our mind, we will not be able to overcome the problems which cause the negative dissention, in other words, no problem is solved.
“Sometimes we might think that we shouldn't feel the way we do. Such thoughts are the result of beliefs which have been programmed into us by others. One of the primary benefits of a highly developed emotional intelligence, though, may be that it helps us become more independent from the opinions and beliefs of others.” Emotions- Importance of; management of negative feelings; positive value of
We must remain in touch with our feelings and emotions, in order to have a more descent life, by realizing what caused the shallow emotions and changing them so that others may see the positive part of your being.
Written by Donald S.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Being Healthy

This blog is a day late and have not had time to look for topics this week. I am going to write on the things I do to stay health. I do not get colds, because I take vitamin C. I have been taking it since 1989 when I was in the State Hospital. I had to get the doctors order to get it and had to buy myself. I had bronchitis in 2009 and usually get sinus infections at least twice a year. I did not get one this year and I think the reason is that about four to five months ago I stopped taking allergy medicine. I believe they were giving me the sinus infections. I believe I was misdiagnosed with allergy to dust. This week up to today I have been working moving boxes in a very dirty and dusty place and beside a couple of sneezes I have not been sick.
I usually get a sinus infection in October and March. Now that I am not taking the medicine I do not think I will get one anymore. I do not expect to get cold or be sick from now on. I am also doing well at losing weight. I am walking and exercising and losing it slowly. I think it is good that way I do not put it back on. I reached 214lbs and then start losing and was stuck at 207lbs for a long time and then lost and was stuck at 186 and now am at 184lbs and just need 34lbs pounds lost to get to the weight I would like and that is 150lbs.
It feels good to drop two pant sizes and would like to drop one more. I am not losing weight taking anything. I just cut my portion sizes in half and for snacks I make my own trail mix with nuts and craisins. The nuts are expensive, although if I snacked on anything else I would not lose weight. I also do not drink regular pop except at parties and such and I do not like diet so I drink Pepsi max and coke zero. All that has helped me lose weight and keep it off. I can hardly wait to be where I want to be. You can also check us out at  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Confidence in Recovery

When you feel that heated blast of air, or run into a brick wall while trying run a race, adrenaline is the recommendation to overcome those hurdles which beset you or slow you down causing you to wane in your abilities to succeed. Yet, it is confidence which carries you over the hurdles you must cross and a great part of confidence which exist in Mental Health is Recovery, crossing the boundaries of mental illness.
Recovery is an idea in Mental Health which began as research in 1987. Doctors and researchers other than the doctor who initiated the idea of Recovery, believed mental illness to be chronic and all that a mentally ill patient could hope for or expect is long term stability in their illness. Eventually it was uncovered that there existed outcomes associated with mental illness and many people did in fact progress beyond just stability. In 1993, Recovery was identified as a “deeply personal, unique process of changing a person’s attitude, values, feelings, goals, skills and roles. Recovery is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life even with limitations caused by an illness. It involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as they grow beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness”.
 Though I had been a part of the mental health system since 1985, I didn’t begin to accept my treatment until 1996, I had been through psychiatric treatment in three hospitals for drug addiction and alcoholic dependence, yet I didn’t begin to open my mind until I saw myself as I really had been. In 1996, I knew I was weak, without any strength, no home to call my own and very little self-esteem; this is confidence also, and I had none at all. I began to get serious about the groups I was attending; hope was strong within not only me, yet others whom have given me guidance and words of wisdom to walk away from the addictions I was suffering from. I began to understand my desire to want to live and I realized everyone has hope and I will become one with what I desire, freedom from my addictions and the mental illness I had accrued. I began to understand words such as Empowerment and what it meant, having control and power over my life and over my mental illness.
Confidence is having the mental and physical strength to oversee one’s life and to cross the boundaries that exist before you. Since I started working though, I noticed my strength waning and my hope becoming a distant reality. I realized it became not a matter of the medications which kept me built up nor the lack of belief in what I had learned to overcome my problems, it was becoming a part of the system itself and living a new role which I had in the past not accepted and that is as an employee; not knowing what’s expected of me. Going through this passage, I found that we regain our confidence and self esteem and are regaining a new identity; free of the stigma’s that we once lived with and are gaining a newer sense of life and priorities as well.
Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Creativity and Mental Illness Confirmed

This article talks about how people with mental illness are in creative professions. “People in creative professions are treated more often for mental illness than the general population, there being a particularly salient connection between writing and schizophrenia.” This is what researchers presented. We have only to look at some famous people who have had schizophrenia one being John Nash. There must be a reason why. They do not say why it happens that people with mental illness are creative in this article.
What the article does say: “Last year, the team showed that artists and scientists were more common amongst families where bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is present, compared to the population at large. They subsequently expanded their study to many more psychiatric diagnoses – such as schizoaffective disorder, depression, anxiety syndrome, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, autism, ADHD, anorexia nervosa and suicide – and to include people in outpatient care rather than exclusively hospital patients.” They included just about all the psychiatric diseases. They also included alcohol and drug abuse patients.
Now we find out how they found the results: “The present study tracked almost 1.2 million patients and their relatives, identified down to second-cousin level. Since all were matched with healthy controls, the study incorporated much of the Swedish population from the most recent decades. All data was anonymized and cannot be linked to any individuals. The results confirmed those of their previous study: certain mental illness – bipolar disorder- is more prevalent in the entire group of people with artistic or scientific professions, such as dancers, researchers, photographers and authors. Authors specifically also were more common among most of the other psychiatric diseases (including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety syndrome and substance abuse) and were almost 50 per cent more likely to commit suicide that the general population.” They are more authors or writers will have schizophrenia or depression and always substance abuse. What can they do with these results?
It explains here: “if one takes the view that certain phenomena associated with the patient’s illness are beneficial, it opens the way for a new approach to treatment, he says. In the case, the doctor and patient must come to an agreement on what is to be treated, and at what cost. In psychiatry and medicine generally there has been a tradition to see the disease in black-and-white terms and to endeavor to treat the patient by removing everything regarded as morbid.” As I read about other schizophrenics on the web they all seem to have negative side effects from the medication. Do they lose their creativity also? I know I am one of the lucky ones in that I can work. I can get up early and keep a sleeping pattern. I do not know what I would do if I was never have gone to college and get a job. I see the negative side effects as really bad when you would like to improve your situation and cannot. You can also check us out at

Monday, October 22, 2012

Living with Schizophrenia

It’s 2 o’clock in the morning. The wind blows leaves and dust against the window on to my apartment. I don’t know this as I had awakened to the sound of tapping and wind crossing my door. I walk out into the dark living room cautiously. The chilled air I could feel in the room as the wind whistled through the seams of the window and front entrance, building thought upon thoughts of all the wrong scenarios I could imagine. “Someone is trying to break in. I forgot to chain the door closed. The cat from two doors down is scratching at my door way.” I eventually look out the window, anger subsiding, fear dissipating, and the voices subsiding as well. This is a slight scenario of living with a schizoaffective disorder, living for years knowing you may never know the truth, or be cured of your diagnosis, being told who you are and how to change your life; yet as I struggle on, I wonder how much of that is righteous information.
At this present time I come to realize that I have fears, not paranoia, (living with false beliefs or delusions that someone is plotting against you or someone else), and I also came to believe that the schizoaffective disorder can be lived with, taking prescribed medications and having support. I do know I want to experience a new life, one that keeps me smiling and caring. I have headaches, though they’re not constant and are not about the schizophrenia and I know they don’t cause the auditory hallucinations nor are caused by side effects from the medication, yet I do know they’re apart of the wonderland I experience day to day.
These days I write on my computer, read occasionally and keep the company of relatives and several friends who accept my character, as well as my illness. I stay from the “nightlife” as this caused me troubles when I was younger. I isolate at times and I cope with the slightened depression which occurs by watching television and hoping laughter lifts the dark gray cloud away. I work for a mental Health Center, that’s great support and a great strength giver, meeting new people, and having the opportunity to share my life with others, and learn as well about mental health and what is being done for clients with mental illness. I keep a check on my thoughts, often time quizzing co-workers especially, about my attitude and emotional being. Its work that pays for itself in the long run, making new friends, keeping a check on your reality and facing the same without fear or boundaries.
Controlling your world, so you’ll feel better as time goes by, without depending on drugs or alcohol, without other ill feelings of morose. You can also check us out at
Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Schizophrenia no Barrier

In this article a successful community nurse could not find a support group for people like her.  She was diagnosed with schizophrenia. “Two and a half years ago, I came to Manitoba Schizophrenia Society and asked whether they had a support group for working professionals like myself living with schizophrenia, and when they  said not, Chris Summerville, the executive director of the society, said ‘Why don’t you start one?’”  She had a good idea.  It would make a person wonder just how many working professionals have schizophrenia or a mental illness.  They probably do not have time during the day to go online and to the forums that are set up for people with schizophrenia or mental illness.
The article goes on to say: “So Barb, who was diagnosed in 1997, created the Partners in Awareness group at the society, a peer support  group made up of dynamic Manitoba professionals living with schizophrenia.  When she isn’t working, Barb volunteers her time facilitating the group, which meets the first Tuesday of every month.”  She created the group and even volunteers in it.  How would she get people to join?  Where would she find the professionals?
It says: “it’s been hard, at times, to get the message out because there is so much stigma, it’s so large and overwhelming, that a lot of people keep their diagnosis a secret, they want to stay in the closet.  But we’ve put posters out and had a public service announcement on CTV.”  When I was in college a professor told me her cousin a lawyer had a mental illness and they had a magazine out for professionals.  Although I never found this magazine, and there does have to be professionals that have this disease.  I do know it is not the online schizophrenia magazine online.
How does she deal with the stigma? “Barb understands the struggle to overcome stigma first-hand. ‘My dad said I was lazy, and my brother said ‘just snap out of it; just flip on the switch and you’ll be fine.’ So it’s hard when you’re getting that kind of response from your own family,” says Barb. ‘And then, with the Vince Li case (the man who beheaded a sleeping passenger on a Greyhound bus), that put us back years, just when we were starting to gain some ground.’” In my case, I was lucky my family stuck by me and every time I face stigma I usually show them who it is giving me the stigma.  I faced stigma at a pharmacy and showed my mom how they treated me.  I changed that pharmacy.
The article says: “I guess what people need to know about schizophrenia is, a s long as a person is compliant with taking medication, you can fulfill your life; you can have the same dreams and aspirations as someone living without it,’ says Barb, ‘because even with my mental illness, I’ve obtained two bachelor’s degrees—a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of nursing.  And I obtained the bachelor of nursing after I was diagnosed with schizophrenia.”  It is good to hear about people who did this after they were diagnosed.  I also received my bachelors and masters after I was diagnosed.  Here is the blog. You can also check us out at

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mental Health and Diabetes

I had done some light reading on diabetes a month ago, with the intention of writing about mental health illness and its effect on people with diabetes. I had found out that depression is the main mental illness people suffer from after they have contracted diabetes or have suffered with for a long time even as they may not have known they had the diabetic illness. As I read sporadically during the weeks I finally came across a write-up in the MSN news about diabetics and stigma as well as facing shame. I had to stop and think after reading the editorial, even though it wasn’t intense to the degree of mentioning depression or suicide, it did mention amputation, facing the truth of having diabetes, poor eating habits, and not taking care of yourself. The lack of exercise was another of those foreboding mentioned aspects of the disease and it was at that point, that I began to feel somewhat ashamed of myself. I don’t exercise and I do slip into depression at particular times when thinking of what kind of good times am I missing because of the side effects and symptoms I am living with. When I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, I remembered how I felt the shame of being fat, uneducated about what was happening to me, and the lacking of exercise which was a part of my life. I looked about the room full of people who were normal, mostly healthy, and felt the stigma of carrying diabetes and my own health. I began to feel I was fat, lazy and a junk food junkie amongst my fellow employees. The depression was real at this point, and the fears grew concerning diabetes; the amputations, the risk of heart attack, being too overweight and the shut in attitude I began living because of the effects I was living with which included my mental health medications. In short I thought eventually nothing good about the illness or my mental illness and I had no one to blame; diabetes is not a “crutch”. “Even diabetics themselves can have a blame-the-victim feeling, says Theresa Garnero, a diabetes nurse educator at the Califormia Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. “Granted, if you’re not eating healthfully, and you’re not exercising like you should – and most people don’t – there should be a modicum of truth to that.
Hidden shame of diabetes: 'I didn't speak about it' - Health - Diabetes | NBC News  after reading this editorial, I began to have a change of mind about life and death, it’s in my hands. I began to believe that the shame I was feeling was a matter of wanting someone to cry for me, pat me on my back and walk with me. I can’t change the side effects per se of my mental health medications, yet I can be strict about my diet, and even if I don’t exercise for long hours on end, I can walk and restrain myself from some of the other bad habits I have picked up on during the course of my years. Why burden yourself with the blues of something that could harm you, and why wait for someone to hold your hand, denial is our worst enemy, hope is the word we must understand to become healthier, even mentally. Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Schizophrenia and Risk of Heart Attack

This article talks about heart attack and schizophrenia. “Data tell us that people with schizophrenia have lifespan 20 years shorter that the general population.” We have to find out why and change that fact if we can. I know I would love to be around as long as I can to see my grandkids grow up and marry. Just see them find the life that they love. “There are different factors for this including and unhealthy lifestyle (substance abuse, smoking, not enough exercise, poor diet, etc.) increased rates of diabetes and problems brought on by the use of some antipsychotic medications.” These are things we can change to live a longer and better life.
I make sure on weekends that I walk for at least forty five minutes on both days. We cannot change the fact that we take medication. I have cut back on the amount of medications I take with my doctor. I found by exercising and I do not need all that medication. It is small steps that help. They have been tracking this for four years: “…tracking all incidents of heart attack and comparing the results among people with and without schizophrenia.” We must make our hearts better.
What else can be done? “Dr. Kurdyak offers two possible solutions: prevention is one (healthier lifestyle). The other is aftercare (all specialists need to work together to ensure that patients are seen again after a first incident of heart attack). They found that people with schizophrenia were significantly less likely (50 per cent) to receive cardiac procedures or to see a cardiologist within 30 days of discharge from hospital.” Why are they not seen the article does not answer this question. It is always good to see a doctor for follow up.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Empathy is Recovery

Do you feel you’re in tune with your doctor? What is patient engagement? Patient engagement is having an empathetic and trusting relationship with your provider, which is formed with mutual respect and understanding as it is a give and take response with the doctor and consumer or patient whom have active roles with one another. So what is empathy? Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s thoughts, feelings and experiences in a relationship.
Empathy allows the clinicians, doctors or others to connect with consumers.
Communication and listening is a very important part in the understanding of the consumer, patients needs and should be kept simple so that there is an understanding between doctor, clinician and patient. With the use of empathy a patient can understand and respect and learn by being listened to and can become more involved in their treatment and psychiatric needs. As a consumer I have somewhat a hard time expressing myself verbally and I feel weak when having to express my feelings or emotions, yet as I grow to understand the definitions and verbal usage of the doctors I associate myself with I know what I am seeing as this weakness. I grow stronger with a lot more courage. As consumers we can grow out of the mental and physical deterrents’ of our illness by understanding what empathy is and how we may use it, to make choices which empower us to grow.
Empathy allows the therapist to understand what the patients or consumers are experiencing. By knowing their emotions and listening, they can help and understand the patients and empower them to become active in their treatment and recovery.
Engage With Empathy : Health in 30
Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


A friend I have not seen since April of 2010, when I wrote this blog about my old apartment building that I used to live in. I lived there for about sixteen years. I knew this friend for about fourteen of those years when she worked in the building. I thought that ended after my court hearing. I watched her start as a receptionist and become manager of the building. I can remember the first time she started and also when my granddaughter was born and she helped me wrap her up to take her to visit my mom and dad, whom lived a block away. I really thought I was going to live in that building until I died. That was until three lawyers formed a corporation and bought the building.
Those lawyers were smart I will give them credit. When I sued them for being slumlords they put her against me. I settled as if you read the prior blog you will see. I had all the evidence to really sock it to them, even though they had a lawyer. When she walked down the block from that court I thought it would be the last time I saw her. I still visit my old friends that live in the building. I had known that she had quit after my court hearing, although no one knew why. I will find out why when I meet her for lunch this Friday. When I last saw my friend three months ago, I also saw her husband and he shook my hand. He speaks Spanish and I don’t so we could not talk to each other.
I also thought she would work there until she retired. Times change and circumstances change. I have often thought why I settled that case, I had so much evidence. When I first filed the case it was against another person who worked for those lawyers. When I went to the second hearing they had put her against me. When you have known someone for thirteen years and went through all the ups and downs and people we both knew that had died that were friends you can’t go against a friend and that is what those lawyer hoped for. I was angry at the time although time changes that.
I am just glad that she found me. Now there is no landlord/tenant in between us and we can be friends. I just have to find out if she is happy with her new job and how her family is. I miss my friends that lived in the building. Although I still go see them. I am happy with my new apartment. My grandkids are getting big and no longer come every weekend like they used to. I am looking forward to Friday. You can also check us out at

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Friend in the World

Taking command over your own thought processes, as the mind is a universal servant, or can be such the master of horror is not only a challenge, some might say it is quite unusual to say so.
If a friend ask you “what’s up and you answer to the fact that your quitting drugs, your changing your attitude to being negative so you can become healthy and better off in living a happier life, they might look at you with just an ounce of gladness or your friend might say, “It’s about time you thought of changing your lifestyle!”
When you begin to make mental changes, it helps to have support; and we all know how helpful a good therapist is, even the support of mental health groups can be stimulating when you have no other associations. The power of friendship is as such the power of having family and forming a close association with two or three people who are with a positive focus forms a relationship of support which is unconditional.
You should speak often with your friends, almost every day if possible and its best that one of them is not part of your regular cliché of family or friends, that way you can be open without fear of an offending or repetitious demeanor. “These are your best friends, don’t try to gather in the numbers of associations, in other words don’t try to gather so many friends, you want to have good relationships and if you lose a friend, that’s alright you’ll still be in touch no matter the distance no matter the conversation.
So what is all the conversation about as you meet with your friends from day to day or maybe just three times weekly? Most conversation is about victory and defeat and of course what we may be in awe of or whom. Laughter, conversation, sharing secrets and giving and sharing support are all of an air of unconditional caring and the giving of knowledge saying “we may not have come far, but we are here.
Written by: Donald S.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Are There Immune Suppressing Drugs to Treat Schizophrenia?

You can also check us out at  This article says there is support for Immune suppressing drugs to treat schizophrenia. It talks about it in this story: “Although researchers have suspected that schizophrenia is linked to a dysfunctional immune system, a lack of evidence has kept away research funding that would allow the testing of immune-system suppressing drugs on schizophrenia patients.” They have been leading towards this research in other ways. I talked about them using antibiotics in another blog I wrote about earlier. I do think they are connected; it looks like they are looking at different avenues now with schizophrenia.
It goes on to say: “Thanks to new research that clearly demonstrates that the brains of people with schizophrenia may be under attack, however, scientists may be getting the go-ahead. In order to expose people to dangerous treatments- and immunosuppressive drugs do carry risks- you need serious evidence to suggest those drugs may be useful in treating the condition…” This is different from the other article in that they are not going to try antibiotics. “In the past, researchers have had great difficulty convincing an ethics committee that this treatment strategy for schizophrenia.” They will have to prove their research to be right on the mark, it looks like before they will be able to say this study is true.
It does have to do with inflammation as did the antibiotic article: “The new study, led by the Schizophrenia Research Institute, has shown immune cells in a key brain region affected by the disorder once thought to be inactive- are in fact causing inflammation and damage. This, in combination with evidence we already have from existing studies, adds to the argument from researchers that it is now reasonable to trial immunosuppressants on schizophrenia patients.” Is it just some of the people with schizophrenia or all of them, I guess the research will find out that question. I think everyone is different.
The article goes on to say: “This research that will lead to more effective treatment options with the potential to significantly improve a sufferer’s quality of life will now be greatly accelerated… The time to start further research and clinical trials is now… We can use this information to target specific aspects of immune system involved in schizophrenia more directly.” Better treatments will help a lot of people with schizophrenia. What they do not talk about is if some people’s brains are too damaged to help with a new treatment.
This last part is about the study: “As part of the study, researchers analyzed an area of the brain involved in regulation emotional and social behavior- the orbitofrontal cortex- in 40 people, half with schizophrenia. About 40 percent of those with schizophrenia had higher levels of inflammation in that section of the brain. The part of the brain we looked at is indeed in crisis in people with schizophrenia… This raises the possibility that this is a new root cause of the disease.” Inflammation is a bad thing for any part of the body and probably the brain. I hope they will let people know what they found out. If the drugs are risky, would people take them? They said forty percent had inflammation not all that they tested. I guess we will just have to wait and find out the results of this new study. It is an interesting study though. The two articles are connected by inflammation in the brain. The other article I wrote about uses an antibiotic to treat the inflammation. Both these studies might be beneficial. Make sure to check us out at

Monday, September 24, 2012

Modern Change through Therapy

What is Psychotherapy? Psychotherapy is defined as a sort of process of dialogue and conversation between two people. There are different schools of thought on psychotherapy each dealing with the psyche and the body. A psychotherapist cannot judge his patient’s personality and the client has his individuality in his own right and must be allowed expression without judgment by any doctor’s assumption. There is the connective belief of Religion, being a form of Psychotherapy, which treats the sufferings of the individual client’s soul and the suffering of their body caused by their “soul”. Yet many clients don’t have such beliefs so the reason of the therapy is to enable the client to “latch” onto the unconsciousness in their psyche allowing a melding of their personality and remove the negative thoughts they have harbored.
Abstracts : Vol 16 : The Practice of Psychotherapy cg-jungs-collected-works-abstractsacademic-resources
I have a psychiatrist, yet the clinic I attend has both psychiatry and psychotherapeutic methodologies. As I have attended many years of structured sessions with my doctor, I have done a lot of thinking. Being a recovered drug addict and alcoholic the thoughts I have dealt with had led me to understand, I had no connection with Religion or spirituality within myself. In other words, I had no wholeness or morals and lacked understanding. There are stages a client goes through when seeking independence from their illness, one of the stages is coming out of one’s self and reaching a mode of education of not only the self but the world around yourself; you become transformed through self education and understanding.
I began to adapt a philosophy totally different from the “street life” I had lived. I began to understand, that respect is an earned reality of beingness, not a choosing of some “heathen” attitude to make you wealthy or enamored. My troubles slowly faded away as I gained a bit more wisdom and began to reach inside for true spirituality. There is a difference between the mind and the brain, (psychotherapy), (psychiatry) and I have learned that I have my own convictions and must always be open to ideas which are positive.
Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Key Molecules involved in forming long-term Memories

We are not moving at this time although you can find us in both places here and at make sure you check out both sites. In this article it says they have found the molecules that form long-term memories. It can help with Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s. “There are many drugs available to treat some of the symptoms of diseases like schizophrenia… ‘but they don’t treat the cognitive deficits that patients have, which can include difficulties with memory. This study looks for more specific targets to treat deficits in cognition.” If you read in the internet about people with schizophrenia it is clear that they have cognitive problems. Memory is one of them. It would help people with schizophrenia find jobs and just have a better life if they can make drugs that could help.
The article says: “… the study focused on a group of proteins called nuclear receptors, which have been implicated in the regulation of a variety of biological functions, including memory formation. Nuclear receptors are a kind of transcription factor, proteins that can bind to DNA and regulate the activity of other genes. Their regulatory role may be significant in memory formation, as a gene transcription is required to turn short-term memories into long-term lasting ones by strengthening neuronal synapses in the brain.” These receptors are responsible for regulating functions which in turn has an impact on memory formation. Somehow these must not work in people with schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s.
To identify how this work they used trained mice. “…using a common method to create memories of a place and event, in which animals learn to associate a particular context or a certain tone with a specific experience. Associations with a place or context are believed to be encoded in the hippocampus, while memories associated with a cue such as a tone are believed to be encoded in the amygdala.” A tone would bring up a certain thing that the mice had been to or done before. “In the 24 hours after exposing the mice to the initial training, the researchers examined expression patterns of all 49 nuclear receptor genes. They found 13 that increased in expression in the hippocampus in the first two hours after training. Included in this group were all three members of a class of nuclear receptors called Nr4a. Nr4a genes had previously been found to increase in expression upon use of a memory-enhancing class of drugs called histone deacetlylase inhibitors, HSDAC inhibitors. They were able to find the genes that work on memory.
The article goes on to talk about how they were able to do this: “The scientists next created a transgenic mouse in which they could selectively block the activity of the three Nr4a genes. Having the transgenic mouse is very useful… ‘We can manipulate it so that Nr4a genes will only function in certain brain regions and then see how the mouse memory-forming ability is affected. When the researchers exposed the mice to the training context a second time, they found that the transgenic mice had reduced memory of the location where the training tool place-memories that are located in the hippocampus- compared to normal mice. In contrast, the mutant mice’s amygdala-associated memories of cue- the tone played during training remained intact. The mice had impairment for contextual memory, which means something in the hippocampus is affected… ‘That is the type of memory that goes away in Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.” They found where and how this is affects memory. Hopefully their research can lead to better drugs for both diseases. The researchers also found out that the mice’s short-term memory was not affected.
The last part of the article says: “In addition, the scientists confirmed that Nr4a genes play a role in long-term memory storage by injecting the Nr4a-deficient mice with HDAC inhibitors, which have been shown to enhance memory in normal mice. The treatment did not enhance the memory-forming ability of the mutant mice, suggesting that the drug acts upon the Nr4a genes to boost long-term memory storage. Finally, the researchers screened mice for molecules that act ‘downstream’ of Nr4a and could be part of the signaling cascade by which those nuclear receptors help create long-term memories. They found two genes, Fosl2 and Bdnf1, that appeared to be downstream targets of Nr4a genes and also increased in expression following treatment with HDAC inhibitor.” When all is said and done they found the targets that could help bring new drugs to help people. They do not say if they will need more research or if what they found can help enough. I like when they can find new things to enhance memory.
I wrote about this it is because memory to me is very important. It is one thing I do not want to lose later in life. I started back on the memory program and today I did an assessment on the computer and scored better than the last time I did an assessment. I can remember numbers like a phone number or any set of numbers. Although I cannot remember math, my tutor when I was in college would say he remembers how to do the problems, although when he comes back the next morning it is all gone. I do not remember hardly any of my childhood except things or days that stood out. I know the math is because of my schizophrenia, because in high school and earlier I was good in math. So something happened.