Monday, July 30, 2012

Biofeedback and Mental Health

There are many types of mental health conditions which affect different kinds of people with symptoms that range from mild to very serious and even life threatening such as having a psychotic illness. Each of these mental health disorders need monitoring of these people and they also require support in order to gain both physical and mental recovery.
Today, the conditions suffered by those with a mental health disorder are treated by most doctors using medications such as antidepressants, psychotropic’s, or antipsychotics in tandem with therapies’ such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) or DBT (Dialectic Behavioral Therapy) as well as others which may be therapeutic. Another form of treatment used in less debilitating forms of mental illness involves relaxation exercises, muscle relaxation, breathing exercises and Biofeedback. 
Biofeedback is a treatment which helps those individuals suffering from depression or an anxiety disorder. This form of treatment involves and individual being monitored by a recording device which is fed back to the person so that they can recognize and identify how their body reacts during relaxation and how they react during stressful situations.
There are advantages to the use of Biofeedback as a treatment for those of a mental health condition. One is that it helps the affected of such a condition whom might be unaware of other feelings or emotions which may let a person know when they can achieve a relaxed state of mind as opposed to when they are more in tune to their negative symptoms. As many people experience negative symptoms, they find they do not like taking medication due to misconceptions and stigma of the results of taking a medication, yet Biofeedback can provide an alternative for those who are suffering from a mental illness and the stigma’s associated with obtaining help for their affliction. Last but not least, a person through the use of Biofeedback becomes more aware of their physical feelings and eventually requires Biofeedback to a lesser degree, obtaining the ability to eventually control their negative responses, without the use of medications.  JUST A REMINDER THAT THE RECOVERY BLOG IS MOVING TO A NEW ADDRESS: OUR NEW HOME IS:
Wriiten By Donald Sammons

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Schizophrenia and Cancer

This is another blog like last weeks. They are continuing to study the health of people with mental illness. This week they are talking that people with schizophrenia are more susceptible to cancer. “People with serious mental illness –schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and disabling depression – are 2.6 times more likely to develop cancer than the general population, new John Hopkins research suggests.” Again more than the general population, sometimes it seems like we cannot catch a break. Just being mentally ill is enough.
The article goes on to point out: “The increased risk is definitely there, but we’re not sure why, says study leader Gail L. Daumit, M.D., M. H. S., an associate professor of medicine and psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Are these people getting screened? Are they being treated? Something’s going on.” That is not all the bad news. “In a separate study, published last month in the journal Injury Prevention, Daumit found that people with serious mental illness were nearly twice as likely to end up in a hospital’s emergency room or inpatient department suffering from an injury than the general population and about 4.5 times more likely to die from their injuries.” Why are they suffering injuries and then die from them? That is the question.
The article says: “In the first study, Daumit’s team looked at data from 3,317 Maryland Medicaid beneficiaries with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, determining whether they developed cancer between 1994 and 2004 and what type of cancer they had. They found that patients with schizophrenia, when compared to the general population, were more than 4.5 times more likely to develop lung cancer, 3.5 times more likely to develop colorectal cancer and nearly three times more likely to develop breast cancer. People with bipolar disorder experienced similarly high risk for lung, colorectal and breast cancer. There were no racial differences in who developed cancer in this group, whose average age was between 42 and 43 years.” This tells who gets cancer and not the why. That is very young to get any disease let alone cancer.
We get a little of an answer in this part of the article: “Daumit says one reason for the elevated risk of lung cancer could be smoking, which is more prevalent in people with serious mental illnesses. She also speculates that the breast cancer risk could be related to the fact that women with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are less likely to have children, and childbearing is believed to reduce breast cancer risk. Also, some psychotropic medications can increase levels of the hormone prolactin, a factor that has been linked to breast cancer. The colorectal cancer risk, she says, could be related to lifestyle issues, such as smoking, lack of physical activity and diet lacking fruits and vegetables.” All the things a person need nowadays to stay healthy. I used to smoke but I quit so I could be with my granddaughter. I remember coughing so bad one day this guy told me if I did not quit that I would die. That still did not make me quit. I am glad now though that I did quit. The article goes on to say there needs to be more screening.
Now we will talk about the second study: “…Daumit and her colleagues looked at similar Maryland Medicaid data from 1994 through 2001 in search of other patterns. They found that over a seven year period, 43 percent of the 6,234 people with serious mental illness in the group studied were seen at a hospital emergency department or admitted with an injury. Among the members of the study group with an injury, 42 percent were injured once, 23 percent twice, 25 percent three to five times and 10 percent six or more times.” That is a lot of people with mental illness going to the emergency room. Are they falling a lot?
The article says: “Superficial injuries, open wounds and sprains were the types of injuries most frequently experienced by those in the study… Daumit says the results suggest that people with serious mental illness appear to be at heightened risk for both intentional and unintentional injury, and the types of injuries are mostly consistent with falls and minor violence.” I can see how people are not watching where they are walking or running. Minor violence should not be happening to anybody. Accident do happen though and hopefully not too many.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Computers and Memory

A couple of weeks ago I had written about Therapy being conducted by computer, resolving problems and charting your emotions. At this time, I have found a new use for computers, one in which may protect us against memory loss in our aging years in tandem with proper exercise; this has been stated in a new study. In this study, which has older adults included, the use of a computer and exercise reduces the risk of memory loss, yet using one aspect of improving the memory by themselves does not improve the memory at all. When the people who participated in some sort of physical activity and used a computer they were found to have less mild cognitive impairment as opposed to those people who did not exercise or use a computer.
Mild cognitive impairment is a condition in which people experience declines in certain functions such as memory and language, yet can still function in everyday activities. Those that have conducted the research think that the people who have partaken in both physical activity and computer use are healthier and have a more disciplined life in short they have a healthy lifestyle.
Exercise increases growth and the survival of nerve cells and the computer besides reading, and other brain and conscious stimulating exercises may enhance the physical connections in the brain. There is an opposite of this and that is using a computer to often may lead to health problems, both physically and mentally. What is being considered is optimizing our memory during our life span. Environment can also nurture our memory function, having an area which is free from distraction and quiet. Maintaining memory as we get older is still a growing field for research and challenging your mind is most helpful and this can be done through socializing, joining a book club, playing group trivia games and physical activity with a healthy diet.
5 Experts Answer: What's the Best Way to Improve My Memory?
Written by Donald S.
We will be moving our blog to a new web site. Please join us for more blogs and information pertaining to Mental Health and Psychiatry in the coming weeks.
Thank you

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Aging and Mental Health

WE ARE MOVING THE BLOG WE WILL BE POSTING TO BOTH BLOGS ALL MONTH BEFORE WE MAKE THE FINAL MOVE. HERE IS THE NEW ADDRESS CHECK IT OUT Donald wrote a blog last week about premature aging in people with mental illness. We have talked about this subject before. It is a good topic and this one is more interesting because it deals with aging baby boomers and mental health. “The world is aging—and rapidly so. By 2030, there will be more than 72 million Americans over age 65, more than twice their numbers in 2000. With increasing longevity and declining birth rates in the world, the number of older individuals will exceed that of children for the first time in human history. These remarkable changes will have significant impact on practically every aspect of our lives.” People are living longer and this will have good news and bad news about the baby boomers and the talk in this blog.
They start off in the article giving us the bad news first. “The demographic changes are especially alarming in terms of mental illness. During the next two decades, we will witness and unprecedented rise in the number of older adults with psychiatric disorders, at a rate that is growing faster than that of the general population. The reasons reflect both negative and positive factors. On the negative side, several studies have suggested that the aging baby boomers have a higher risk of developing depression, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders than people born before World War II. Additionally, increasing numbers of older people will mean greater prevalence of late-onset mental illnesses.” They are in for a new world if they have a mental illness later in life. Also, are the doctors and everybody ready for this new wave in mental health?
The article goes on to say we are not prepared for what is to come. “Today there are about 1,700 board-certified geriatric psychiatrists in the United States—one for every 23,000 older Americans. That ratio is estimated to diminish to one geriatric psychiatrist for every 27,000 individuals 65 and older by 2030. Yet, little is being done to address this challenge. Already geriatric psychiatric services are in high demand, and specialists are in short supply.” We are not prepared for what is coming. They are not trying to meet this challenge and when they do it may be too late for the onset in mental health they are expecting. Hopefully, none of us will decline that bad. I sure hope I do not have any surprises when I get older.
Now the article gives us the good news: “…contrary to general belief, getting older is often associated with being happier, more productive, and more functional—even in older adults with mental illness. Increasing numbers of people in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s are functioning well. In fact, research suggests that although older adults commonly experience some physical and cognitive decline, life satisfaction as well as psychosocial functioning tend to improve with aging.” That is good news! Things will get better there is just going to be a lot of people with mental illness. Hopefully they do not fall apart as much in their later years than in their younger years. “Older people are not a drain on the society; they are a major asset and resource. With their experience and wisdom, they can contribute on many levels. Aging of the population should not be viewed as crisis, but rather as a transition opening up numerous opportunities.” It should not be viewed as a crisis. Maybe new answers that can help all that suffer from a mental illness. Maybe we need to give our brain a vacation here is a link to look at about that subject. We will be moving in about a month you can find our blogs here until then. This is the link to the new site I hope you continue to follow us. WE ARE MOVING AND JUST TO LET YOU KNOW THE NEW ADDRESS IS

Monday, July 16, 2012

Time to Know the Truth

It is said, “Age is wisdom”, and as we grow older, “how time passes by”. I am a 56 year old mental health consumer and I live this experience of age and time, with curiosity and wonder, even as I am living with a mental health illness. Why? I have missed out on the experience of education, growing with good friends, understanding the world as it traverses through time and the experience of work in my youth and early adult years. I missed out on the glory of time since I was young because I was in a hurry to race the clouds in the sky, to experience what I thought I never would. I was wrong. As longevity increases I find that age and time has a great impact on my present life and this is related to my mental health and age. As I have grown older, I think more carefully, without hallucinations and fears, as I have grown older, I care more about my health, eating healthier foods and taking earnest walks when I can without thinking about riding somewhere or calling someone to give me transportation. I care more about life without shouting at sky and I listen more attentively without closing my mind off to those who are trying to relate to me. There are some setbacks when it comes to relating age and mental illness; and its estimated that within 20 years there will be a greater number of adults, 55 years or older who will suffer from psychiatric disorders, which is a rate growing faster than our present population.
There are reasons that reflect both negative and positive reasons such being on the negative side, “aging baby boomers have a higher risk of developing depress, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders than people born before World War II.
Psychiatry Online Psychiatric News News Article In other words there is the greater risk of late onset mental illness, the positive side is there is improved treatment for mental illness and healthier life styles which will give patients with mental illness a greater chance to live into an old age. At this present time, consumers with serious mental illness have only a 20 – 25 year shorter lifespan than the greater population at large, also the reduced aspect of stigma against mental illness will cause older people to find treatment and accept their illness, without fear.
As we grow older we give in to intellect and wisdom, and as always should be the rule instead of the exception retreating from the fruits of time, hiding within the carousel of our illnesses.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Man Shot by Police

I came across this article a week ago. A week ago on a Thursday morning a man was shot by police and he happened to be mentally ill. His mother said he struggled with schizoaffective bipolar disorder. The family said they had warned the police that he had a plastic Airsoft gun. “I did everything I could, everything I knew was right to do to try and stop it,” said his mother, Cheryl Miller. What more could she have done to help her son? The article goes on to say: “The family had called 911 early that morning, because Kyle had a knife and was trying to harm himself, she said.” He was already trying to hurt himself so why would he not try and raise a gun and make the police shoot him? There is an investigation and that is why there are two articles made a week apart about this terrible shooting.
It is terrible that this had to happen. His mother said: “She does not bear ill will toward the officers who shot her son. No one goes to work in the morning wanting to shoot someone.” It works both ways to protect the officers and the person who is mentally ill to make changes in the way that the mentally ill are treated in a similar situation as this. His mother said: “I think that is where he lost all hope. … He had a choice to drop the gun, but he was in a tormented place mentally, she said.” Not everyone that wants to work if they have a mental illness does a good job.
This second article tells more about this serious situation.  On June 28th of this year a mentally ill man was shot by the police. That is the second article in the Denver Post. “Investigators are trying to determine why Broomfield, Colo., police shot and killed a mentally distraught man even though his family told 911 dispatchers he was carrying a gun that shoots plastic pellets, not a real gun.” His family had told the dispatcher that it was an airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets. They tried to get help for their son or brother. He was distraught over losing his job. That would make any one distraught. You have bills or that is how you get your money from working. To lose your job would upset a normal person. By being mentally ill it is even harder to find another job.
The article goes on to say: “It’s not real, the victim’s brother, Alex Miller, is heard telling the dispatcher on the 911 recording. The dispatcher assures him that officers are trained in this type of thing. They’re not going to go around shooting people, OK? Moments later, Miller was shot to death on a Broomfield street.” Although that is what they did shoot him did they not hear he was mentally ill and carrying a plastic gun? He did point it at the officers. His mother says he was shot multiple times. “…the shooting has been a very traumatic thing and the family was awaiting details of the investigation before commenting further. We do want to share what went wrong, she said, We know they knew it was not a real gun and our house had been flagged for mentally ill person.” They should have asked that he drop the weapon. Something else should have been tried if they knew he was mentally ill. We will be moving the blog to a new address in about a month. We will provide the new link in the near future.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Therapy by Computer

We all suffer through times when we are troubled by our emotions and these may be times when we look towards a mental health clinician, or maybe not. As a mental health consumer, I have often had sessions, where the therapist had written down information and during the course of the session had also relied on the computer to retrieve information and also update his notations during the many times we had met. What I have noticed as many people have noted is that there are many books to help people learn about themselves as well as the emotions they carry, and now there is computer software; software which does the same thing, help us find the grass roots to our problems and to help us understand ourselves.
There is a program which helps you record your emotions, helps you to think about emotions and records the number of times you have had the same emotions. You can resolve, review, graph, analyze and print the results to your emotional search. You label your emotions as you will, so that you may list them, you can describe events or thoughts even describe the positive events in your life. Reducing Misdiagnosis of Psychiatric Disorders It is described as a cognitive thinker, yet this program is constructed to get people to think about their feelings and the events leading and following certain episodes in their life.
Who is to gain from such computerization and psychological software? In order for the software and computer help you to make a conclusion, information must be entered. Who’s going to do this if you’re having a “bad” day, what if you don’t want to; the program is no longer useful. Your therapist may work with you with this software, if the therapist is open to the idea; then you have therapy sessions where you are relying on what the computer comprises and other printouts.
This program is free and can be ordered over the internet, yet I personally find it helpful when the human dimension of interaction can help solve the problems through experience, not just a chart listing possibilities on a computer screen.
Written by Donald S.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cognitive Therapy

What they are trying to find out in this study is whether or not cognitive therapy reduces the severity of psychotic experiences in adults who may develop schizophrenia. “…set out to determine whether cognitive therapy, combined with monitoring, is effective in preventing the development and worsening of psychotic symptoms which can lead to schizophrenia, in young adults who were actively seeking help and were considered a high risk of developing schizophrenia and similar serious mental disorders.” It would be great if it will work to lessen the severity of a psychosis. Also get help sooner the way they say you have even a greater chance for recovery.
The article says: “The 288 young people in the trial were between the ages of 14 and 35 and came from across the UK:… 114 were assigned at random to cognitive therapy and 144 to monitoring of mental state alone and were followed up for two years. Those in the cognitive therapy group had up to 26 weekly sessions over six months and all patients had access to a GP throughout the trial if they required.” That seems like a good break down of a study. They gave them access to a doctor if they needed.
It also may help people not develop psychosis. “Overall, fewer of the young people developed psychosis than expected over the next year (23/288, 8%), with no statistically significant difference between the two groups. Results show that although cognitive therapy is not effective in preventing the development of first episode psychosis for those few that transition, it does significantly reduce the severity, frequency and intensity of psychotic symptoms in this help-seeking population.” Well it does not help stop you from getting a mental illness. Although it does help the severity of the mental illness and that is also good news.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mental Illness and the Hippocratic Oath

Words are as deeds, worthy of respect or of great shame. I read a blog just recently on the medical professions judgment on transplants and then change of mind dealing with a heart transplant for a schizophrenic African-American here in North America. The beginning of the story was not very promising for the man, as he was turned down because he is schizophrenic, yet also because he was not a stable individual; his mental illness would create problems with him communicating and he would not be able to comply with instructions, albeit because of his frame of mind he was turned down from a transplant.
• “Without a new heart, this poor man only had a few months left to live so plans were made to keep him as comfortable as possible while awaiting death. The hospital ethics committee reviewed the decision to not give him a transplant and decided that the only reasons to deny him a heart were that:
• the transplant would not significantly improve his quality of life and
• he could not comply with the complex treatment regimen required after the surgery
This turned out to be not the case at all and eventually in this man’s case, and with 80-100 people standing beside him as well as family members and psychiatric support teams he was able to get the transplant and survive.
Hippocratic Oath - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“...I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God...
I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick... I will remember that I remain a member of society with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm....”
My question is, what is the reasoning behind the Hippocratic Oath if the Mentally Ill are turned away. Is this because they are not stable or because they may not be a value to society any further? Is this a statement of prejudice on the part of doctors whom have taken oath to heal within their means those of sound body and mind as well as those of whom are ill? In Japan a 35 year old man was denied a lung transplant simply on the grounds stated above not being of sound body, nor of mind nor of a value to society, even though he remains stable on medication for his mental illness he too is a sufferer, because of what profit will remain after he may be saved from a transplant not being of “sound mind or body”? Is this the future of Psychiatry as well to be imagined?
Written by Donald S.