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