Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mental Illness and Aging

I have written on this topic before. This is always a good topic to come back to. In this article it says a new study is going to look in to why mentally ill patients die younger. “A new study fund by a $4 million grant for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will investigate why individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia also suffer a wide range of physiological changes.” You already suffer from a mental illness diagnoses, but to die earlier than the rest of the population is a real let down.
We all know that schizophrenic patients die at least twenty to twenty five year earlier than the rest of the population that does not have a mental illness diagnoses. The article goes on to say: “The new study will directly examine biological aging in schizophrenia by using a battery of psychiatric and medical interviews, as well as several state-of-the-art laboratory techniques. Over the course of five years, the team will annually follow more than 250 subjects, aged 26 to 65 years.” They are going to examine then for at least five years. It will be nice to find out why people are dying sooner when they have schizophrenia.
The article goes on to say: “The reason for the decrease in average lifespan in people with schizophrenia has long remained a mystery.” Hopefully, they can unravel this mystery and help people to enjoy a longer life even if they have schizophrenia. “To unravel biological mechanisms underlying faster aging, Jeste and colleagues will measure and analyze a panel of biomarkers associated with insulin dysregulation, inflammation, oxidative stress, and cell aging.” It sounds like they are going to try and figure out what is causing this faster aging. They would like to improve the lives and health of people with schizophrenia.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A choice to live

There are two sides to homelessness, one positive, having an abode, a home or an apartment you can call home, a place where you can relax and the elements of the world cannot cause dismay; a place where you can remain without a doubt-healthier. The second side to homelessness is homelessness itself. Many people seek shelters that are without homes or apartments, without dwellings they have no choice except to take to the streets, this includes the mentally ill. People released from jail or prison stand a slightened chance at securing a place to live more than someone who is mentally ill, yet it is the mentally ill who must struggle unkindly being without a source of income or the help of the mental health system itself; because they are new to the system, just released from the state psychiatric hospital or must wait until they are accepted by the necessary state social services office.
Last year, “according to the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems, there were 42,385 patients in U.S state mental health hospitals and that is down from 559,000 in 1955. There are 14 state and psychiatric beds in the U.S for every 100,000 people.” “Experts were polled by a Treatment Advocacy Center in Arlington Virginia and recommended 50. In Vermont where a hurricane and floods destroyed the last of a state operated hospital the odds for the mentally ill were not so good for the mentally ill being somewhere secured. Since the hurricane in Vermont, private hospital emergency rooms have been overflowing with mentally ill patients, going so far as to hand cuffing the mentally ill to emergency room beds for untold days. People have been turned away without admittance and in the city of Burlington, Vermont issues of mental health have raised over 32 percent since the last year”.
With closures of Psychiatric treatment facilities happening in many states, there has been a close connection between violence, homelessness, and the stabilization of mentally ill patients and this stabilization cannot happen if patients are not kept in an inpatient or hospital setting with supervision. People want to see others live, no matter who or what the diagnosis or the kind of criminal record they may have, and without private or community funding the problem of stabilization of the mentally ill especially, tends to decrease and with funding, hope remains. This hope in attaining supervision and security through the offices of the state is much like a training session, where a patient may gain their sanity or sobriety or their willingness to live again with very little supervision, yet without a guiding light, how may they see beyond without time to think within a space they may see as their own without guidance, without a helping hand.

Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mentally ill in Prison

They have mentally ill prisoners in Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. That is what this article says: “Inside the nation’s most locked-down federal prison, inmates shout, cry, talk to themselves and bang on their cell walls for hours at a time, according to a new lawsuit filed in Denver.” It is the most horrible thing to be locked up when you are mentally ill. I remember, I stayed in my cell and when they asked if I wanted to leave to go to population I would say yes. Then when it was time to move I would get paranoid and not leave.
In this prison they are locked up for twenty three hours a day. “They swallow razor blades, smear feces around their 12-foot-by-7-foot cells and mutilate themselves with sharpened chicken bones. One inmate amputated two of his fingers.” You are not right in the mind so of course they do those things to themselves. A sane person would go insane in the regular prison. I can understand why they would file a lawsuit to get out of there.
The suit says: “…alleges that Bureau of Prisons official are transferring prisoners with diagnosed mental illnesses to Supermax, in violation of the bureau’s policies against housing such inmates there. The suit claims that the prison then basically stops treating those inmates’ mental illnesses including sometimes taking the inmates off prescribed anti-psychotic drugs-making it difficult for the inmates to ever prove they can be transferred out of Supermax. The strict security often worsens the prisoners’ mental-health problems, the suit alleges. That was the worse when I was locked up, being off medication or not having any medication.
I can only hope they fix the problem even if the only way is a lawsuit. I was locked up in eighty nine. There was not that many mentally ill in prison at that time. I know it is worse by now. They would ask why I was not in population. I would never say because I did not understand myself. It is hard on the mentally ill and also on the other inmates.

Monday, June 18, 2012

What’s there to be Said

There have been many times someone has spoken to me, greeting me, commenting on the day, the news, exercising their intellect with no intention except to be cordial or concerning or even helping me to understand one thing or another. I am not there to understand what I should and I am not feeling well to respond either. During these episodes, I may be under the weather, slightly depressed or confused about something other than the greeting of someone who may feel quite different than me. I may be overwhelmed about work or just sitting at home with no interest in anything when guest have appeared. I know something is wrong when I am not smiling within or following any conversation. I am stuffing my emotions when I do not react responsibly, when I don’t want to associate and I am holding back by not exclaiming to myself when I am troubled; nor do I want to hear some old cliché about how I should be feeling. When someone says something to me something as, “it will be alright”, or “you’re smarter than that”, or anything relating to joy or happiness, you’ll find as I have that “old clichés don’t always work to clear the cob webs from the rafters.
We live in a world of know and know not and a sorely depressed person would know how badly it is before they want to understand when others are trying to cheer them up with some phrase or worldly cliché. I know people suffer in many ways, so why remind someone of their suffering with words they may not want to hear. Most clinical illnesses are related and within these relations, guilt plays a major factor, and often it has no reality for existing, yet I know when I need an adjustment and am searching for the better I know it is not something flowery when I am not feeling so well. I am only looking for someone to listen to me because I want to sort out the problem that plagues me.
There are many things that can be said to someone with a medical disorder, such as with mental illness which can lead a person down a shallower path. As people may think they are helping with flowery words, or sayings retrieved from the annals of history, they may not know that they are only causing worry or consternation simply by not realizing that a person with especially mental illness, may only want to be heard, but not motivated as well by perfumed phrases or even negative ones. There are phrases which disarm the mind’s eye of those who are mentally ill, and being offensive they may cause themselves harm or someone else. This is part of the stigma of caring for someone, even if they don’t care to harm themselves often caring to isolate themselves from what they realize may not be the truth in a cheerful cliché.
We can control our acceptance of therapy and without the speeches of cordiality, intellect, or compromise as we grow even more discerning of becoming recovered from our illness and in this knowing we can accept this without negative verbosities which may even be a rose.
11 Things You Should Never Say to Someone With Depression » Medical Billing and Coding Certification

Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Almost Alcoholic

In last week’s blog we finished talking about the signs of being an almost alcoholic. Another thing the book gives is a quiz to see which category you might be in. The answers are on page thirty four and as the book says no one wants to grow up to be an alcoholic or almost alcoholic. The book says: “The medical literature has a term for almost alcoholics; they are called “diagnostic orphans”—that is their problems don’t fit neatly into established diagnostic categories. This means that if they went to a professional for an assessment, they wouldn’t fit the criteria for the diagnosis of alcohol dependence.” (pg.47). How would they get help if they do not fit the right category? They could use help.
The book goes on to give more case studies of people who are almost alcoholic. Then the book talks about relationship between a person and alcohol. It gives three stages of alcohol drinking. The first stage called Casual Friendship: “People whose relationship with alcohol falls into this stage drink primarily in social settings. This is what we mean by “normal social drinking.”” (pg.65). These people have no problem with drinking. They might just do it social but can take it or leave it. The second stage is called Serious Relationship: “… a person has learned to use alcohol consistently for one of two reasons: to create certain positive feelings (such as relaxation or euphoria) or to avoid certain negative feelings (such as anxiety or loneliness).”(pg.67). This dinking behavior would fall into the category of almost alcoholic. There is hope if your get help in this stage. Otherwise you can go from being an almost alcoholic to being a full alcoholic.
The third stage is called Commitment: “At this next stage, alcohol use has moved beyond a serious relationship into what could be called a commitment that the drinker has made with alcohol.” (pg.70). I believe I was at this stage. I would consume alcohol just to get drunk. Good times were not always there. When it should have been good in turned out wrong. I might end up in jail or even in a fight. I do not think about drinking anymore. I just have to remember how it was and I will always be abstinent.
I give this book a good review. The chapters going forward have more case studies and how to change from being an almost alcoholic or alcoholic. One chapter is on Change and has a quiz to take. One chapter is on refusal skills, like learning to say no. The rest of the book is worth reading. This will end the series.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mental Illness

Mental illness is a medical condition which changes the way a person thinks and feels. Moods are changed and their ability to relate and communicate with others is disrupted. Mental illness is a condition of a person’s mental facilities which are disrupted in their capacity for coping with everyday life. There are several major mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and others, yet the good news is that they are illnesses in which recovery is possible.
Mental illness can affect anyone, age, race or religious group even status quo and mental illness is not a result of a person’s weakness or lack of character or upbringing. Diagnosis and treatment of a mental disorder can bring about a change from the seriousness of the illness to stability and a life of assurance.
There are other factors involved in treatment of mental illness, which are medication, cognitive behavioral therapy and community services as well. These are necessary as a part of treatment to help a person with recovery. Other factors include transportation, diet and exercise, sleep and trusting friends and family.
Mental illness is a serious medical condition and many Americans live with a serious mental illness; that’s roughly about 6 percent of the population. Mental illness corrupts people in the prime of their lives through environment, society, drugs, alcoholism even genetics; yet it is the young and the old who are most susceptible. Without treatment, unemployment exist, drug use, homelessness and suicide take the stage in people diagnosed as mentally ill; yet with medication and social services to guide the unfortunate many people can overcome the seriousness of their mental illness and achieve a new way of life.
Written by Donald S.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mental Health Wait Game

I was sent this article about mental ill patients waiting in the ER for a bed or room for treatment. A mother received a call that her daughter was O.K. although she was in the emergency room. Her daughter had gone missing overnight. “Police had found her in a Dumpster and brought her to the ER for her own safety. It was a huge relief for her mother.” Her mother probably said she will get help now. At least she is safe. Although what she found out what happened next shocked the mother. “I went down to this emergency room and just found her by herself, basically locked in a closet.” She was in an exam room. Although her daughter had nothing to eat or any form of treatment for mental illness in at least twenty four hours.
They eventually admitted the woman, although she had a long wait. This does not just happen in Denver, but all throughout the nation. They should be prepared by now. “It’s very difficult to see patients waiting in the emergency room for, in some cases, really days,” he goes on to say: “The fact that is, in many ways, their first introduction to mental health care is, in my mind devastating.” That is your first introduction to what is to come? That would be hard and would you even follow their advice knowing they do not care enough to see you right away? A person tries to get help and you have to play a waiting game.
One hospital chain is trying to change that. “Denver’s HealthOne Hospital chain is opening a new psychiatric ward with 40 beds. It’ll be one of the first Colorado has seen in years.” That would help a lot. HealthOne does not want more mentally ill patients, but shorter ER waits. “ER wait times are often a function of how many people are in your waiting room, and how many available beds you have.” If mentally ill patients are waiting a long time then so do other people who want to be seen for another problem. This will not fix the problem, but it will help. I do not have patience and it would be hard to just wait to see a doctor if I am mentally ill.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Almost Alcoholic

This is fourth in a series of blogs about the title of a book.  In last week’s blog we talked about signs two and three.  Today we will finish with signs four and five the last of the signs.  The fourth sign: “You Sometimes Drink in Order to Control Emotional and/or Physical Symptoms.  Clearly, Betsy drank in order to compensate for loneliness. Indeed, almost alcoholics often drink for many reasons that have to do with emotional discomfort such as
·         to relieve stress or “unwind”
·         to drown out grief or anxiety
·         to overcome social shyness
·         to try to overcome insomnia
·         to relieve boredom
·         to control pain or other physical discomfort” (pg. 34)
I tried to drink to overcome shyness, although it did not always turn out right.  I either blacked out or did not remember who I even talked to.  Alcohol it never helped me at all.
The last sign: “You and Your Loved Ones are Suffering as a Result of Your Drinking.  The suffering caused by almost alcoholics drinking is often more subtle than that of a full-blown alcoholism, but it nonetheless exists.  Because the process by which a person becomes an almost alcoholic is so insidious, the suffering is also insidious.  It can be years before the connection between drinking and the suffering is made—if it is ever made.  In every case we’ve discussed so far, however, it is easy to see when viewed in terms of being almost alcoholics—this connection.  And it is not just almost alcoholics who suffer, but their loved ones as well. (pg. 34)  We used to say in jail it was the families who suffered more than us.  The same is true with being almost alcoholic or being an alcoholic.  It is one reason in AA you try to make amends if possible.
The book goes on to say: “These questions are related to the formal diagnostic criteria for alcoholism; they are on the same spectrum—only a bit further away in terms of severity from true alcoholism.  Those who answer yes to these questions may not have yet suffered the more serious consequences of drinking; or if they have, they are not aware of the connection between their drinking and negative consequences.  On the other hand, they have definitely moved beyond normal social drinking. (pg.34)  I did not go out to social drink I had the intention of getting drunk.  I would suffer if I only had one drink.  If I started a night of drinking I would continue to I passed out or there was nothing left to drink.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Controlling the Negative

How do you let go of negative emotions? Letting go of what bothers you is not the same as letting go of your emotions, when you become overly negatively emotional, you are only ‘stuffing’ or letting your emotions sit on the burner when you lend yourself to such arguments of the mind, harboring those emotions without any settlement; without any sentiment. Emotions are real; they represent experiences and responses that are painful. In letting go of our negative emotions, we learn ways in which we practice and observe these emotions we want to get far away from, emotions we must learn to observe, so that we can see clearly what we have to change in ourselves. Describing in words what the emotion is like is one perspective, also understanding the negative emotion(s) which beset you, the imagery of the result of what the emotion is causing in you. These are practices in Dialectical Behavior therapy, learning to look at the ideas, principles, and responses, which differ in points of view, which we learn to balance and measure and make positive. Some examples used in controlling emotions are:
 a. Changing--Not Changing……….Observe your emotion
 b. Good--Bad…………………………….Experience the emotion
c. Wisdom--Emotional Mind………Remember you are not your emotion
d. Talking--Quietude.…………………Don’t act on your emotion
 e. Acceptance--Approval……………Don’t push away the emotion
Accepting painful emotions can reduce the pain and in noticing the differences between pain and suffering you’ll know that suffering is the pain you wish to push away and that the feelings which cause injustice are what you want to be rid of. We must observe our emotions, know they are real and stand away from them when they become negative. Often times we must also experience the emotion(s) and concentrate on it and realize through imagery what that emotion is and how to become positive in another way with our emotions through our ideas of understanding. We must know we are not the reality of such a negative emotion, that it is only a part of us; not the all of us, for we are greater than the negative. We should not act on the emotion, instead relax with it and know that if you act on a negative emotion, that it could escalate, growing beyond control and last longer than you wish. Keep in mind you are the braver person for accepting the ideas you need in working to change your emotions. You deserve success and happiness by maintaining control of your life. Written by Donald S.