Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Healthy Active Lives (HeAL): tackling premature death in young people with psychosis

It is still in the news they are still talking about people with mental illness dying 15- 20 years younger than the rest of the population. This story talks about young people with mental illness and how they want to battle them dying early. “Compared to their peers who have not experienced psychosis, young people with psychosis face a number of preventable health inequalities.”  These inequalities are preventable they say.We already know they die earlier than the rest of the people without psychosis. 

·         A lifespan shortened by about 15-20 years. 

·          2-3 times the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease making it the single most common cause of premature death (more so than suicide).

·         2-3 times the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

·         3-4 times the likelihood of being a smoker

I can make sure I do not get diabetes and stay a nonsmoker as I quit fifteen years ago.  I just have to make sure I take my walks.  I am battling losing weight it comes off slowly which I hope is good.They would like to get rid of the stigma and prejudice that prevent young people who have psychosis from leading healthy lives and they have ambitious targets for the next five years they would like to see that.

·         90% of young people experiencing a first episode of psychosis and their families or supporters are satisfied that they made treatment choices informed by an understanding of their risks for future obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

·         Within a month of starting treatment, 90% have a documented assessment which includes risks for future obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

·         All young people receive a regular review of their medication to mimimise the development of complications of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

·         75% gain no more than 7% of their pre-illness weight two years after starting antipsychotic treatment.

·         75% maintain blood glucose, lipid profile and blood pressure within the normal range two years after initiating antipsychotic treatment.

·         2 years after the onset of psychosis

·         90% receive health promotion advice on healthy eating, tobacco and substance use, dental care and sexual health.

·         Fewer than 30% smoke tobacco

·         More than 50% engage in appropriate physical activity.

I know for me before I gained weight I was a smoker and when I quit I started buying more food because I was low income and all my money before went on cigarettes.  I had never weighed before than more than 150 pounds.I hope this works for the young people who get a mental illness.  “I should not lose the physical health I possess, as a consequence of my mental illness, or my care and treatment.”  To have a good mind from the medication you should not have to compromise your health. I remember when I did not weigh as much I would walk just a little farther than I do now and I always stayed thin.  Now I have to fight to lose any weight.  Although I will not give up especially since I do not want diabetes.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Changing Reality Through Mental Health

In the beginning of my experience with the Mental Health system, I had many, many thoughts concerning why I was becoming a part of this new experience, what had I done that warranted my taking group therapy, and taking medications.  After many years of being a homeless person and a drug addict I slowly began to reason that someone other than my own self cared and this turned me around as to how I thought about people and how people saw me.
We read and hear about Mental Health and how it may be the new wave of modern times.  There are clients (consumers), and others outside of mental health that don’t think so, at least not many of them, yet mental illness affects millions of people every year in America; whose to judge. Most people who need mental health assistance, having become diagnosed or not, rarely receive the help they need and the reason is money and of course their own feelings of receiving mental health assistance in short, shame.
Because Mental Health has a stigma of its own coupled with its high cost, many people despair; while others become lost.  They say Mental Health these days needs a new uplifting, where there would be a newer point of view as to how people can see their lives and how their challenges can be approached.  We are all potentially under the guise of being mental health patients, we all have concerns, issues and problems we don’t care to admit to.  Our challenges may make us weak or feel imperfect and threaten our way of survival; yet when we see these are categorized and labeled as “symptoms” of mental illness, we turn and run in denial because we have lived a certain way for a certain time.
The attitudes of society about Mental Health and its culture, threatens us every day, more than the issues we are dealing with and with this, many prefer to suffer in their own way rather than to be known as suffering from a mental illness, and so many others who may be suffering from a mental illness go to extremes to obtain drugs, illicit or prescribed instead of becoming labeled, move on to live in their perfect world.
Mental health is set in motion by good will, professionalism, empathy and caretakers who treat our malignancies or disorders not knowing the feelings that are brought down upon us.  There are solutions which can help a person who suffers from a mental illness which help to maintain an emotionally healthy way of life.  It’s simple.  If we converse, we will find these conversations the necessity of our emotional well being, and that missing link can improve the early-stages of mental health care.  Conversation is constructive and has always been proven to be therapeutic to help others become empowered and to become a part of the social structure, instead of withdrawn and living a life in despair.  We become constructive through conversing about our ideas and problems and we move forward from the old reality of suffering into the new reality of acceptance and self-esteem not only of ourselves yet of the Mental Health system itself. 

Written by Donald S

Monday, June 17, 2013

Getting better Emotionally

Emotionally healthy people are generally in control of their physical and mental health as well as their behavior.  They can take on challenges and build strong relationships and recover from let downs easily.  But all this takes an effort to bolster ones physical health, and with this comes mental and emotional health of which you can benefit from many aspects of your life by improving your emotional stability, and by also improving your resilience.
Mental and emotional health can be defined as your psychological wellbeing.  This means how you feel about yourself, your relationships and how you manage your feelings and how you handle difficulties.  Having good mental health isn’t just about the absence of mental health issues, its more than being free of a mental illness, it means you have positive thoughts or a positive character and that you display those characteristics.
When you are mentally and emotionally healthy, you feel good, you deal with stress, you have a purpose in life and your life has meaning, you take on challenges to learn new things and you adopt to change, you build relationships that are healthy and you maintain confidence, self-esteem and maintain self discipline.  I have learned this the hard way and in growing with age, I find that mentally, I still feel challenged and every day is not as successful as I would like it to be yet it takes time to rebuild oneself both physically and mentally if you have gone down the rough roads of life and are beginning to realize that strength of mind is strength of body and with such the emotions are generally complacent in a person’s life.  This is demonstrating resilience which is being able to overcome stress and being focused as well as creative in rough times.  This takes balance and being in tune with your emotions, recognizing your emotions so that you can express them.
Taking care of your body is the key to mental and emotional health.  When you improve your physical health, you enhance your mental and emotional health as well.  Some activities you can get involved in are, getting good rest, learning about and practicing nutrition, exercising so that you can relieve stress and refrain from alcohol, cigarettes and illicit drug use which may make you feel good for a short time, yet remember you want to build your mental and emotional health and improve your health which is what we are wanting to gain.

Written by  Donald S.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Treatment of Mental Illness Lowers Arrest Rates, Saves Money

The article says that by taking your medication and being an outpatient that you do not get into as much trouble as someone who does not take their medication. “The study shows that providing mental health care is not only in the best interest or people with mental illness, but in the best interests of society, says Dr. Sarah Desmarais.” It is a win win situation for everyone.  I know I do not want to go back to jail.  I am happy I do take my medication and it helps me live a very successful life.  My life before I went to the state hospital was a mess no matter what I tried to not end back in prison or jail I would be back in for something stupid because of drinking.
The article goes on to say:  “The researchers identified 4,056 people who had been hospitalized for mental illness in 2004 or 2005 and then tracked them from 2005 to 2012.  The researchers were able to determine which individuals were receiving government subsidized medication and which were receiving government subsidized outpatient services, such as therapy.  The researchers were also able to determine who was arrested during the seven-year study period.”  In seven years a lot of changes could happen.  One of them is you would not want to do time.   It changes a person.  It is hard to get away from also once you do time.
That is why once I won my appeal on my last case I made a deal no parole no nothing just leave me alone and I will plead guilty.  It is hard when you’re leading that kind of lifestyle to finish parole or probation.  My conditional release from the state hospital was even harder.  I had UA’s every week and I had to have the money for them for five years. I did not drink but it still was a pain.  Although I was sober when I did it, also I had already made a decision to change my life.  It was hard although it was easier when I was able to have my daughter and grandkids I was on it for five years that is longer than parole or probation. “Our research shows that people receiving medication were significantly less likely to be arrested. Desmarais says.  Outpatient services also resulted in decreased likelihood of arrest.”  When you are not impaired you can make decisions that are right.
I know the second question is does it save money? “The researchers also compared criminal justice costs with mental health treatment costs. Individuals who were arrested received less treatment and each cost the government approximately $95,000 during the study period.  Individuals who were not arrested received more treatment and each cost the government approximately $68,000 during the study period.  It costs about $10.00 less per day to provide treatment and prevent crime.  That’s a good investment, Desmarais says.”  It saves money and it provides people with a mental illness to remain free.  To me that is the best word freedom.  I did a decade behind being locked up and I missed a lot that happen birthdays my daughter.  Too many Christmases were missed.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Your Choice for Sobriety

My treatment depends on the type of mental illness I have, how bad I am suffering and what will work for me to control my illness.  This is the case for any one suffering from a mental illness.  If you have a mild mental illness the treatment you get from one health provider may be good enough, however often times a team might make sure of all your psychiatric, medical and social needs are seen to if you are incapable of handling your own affairs.  This is important especially with severe illnesses such as schizophrenia and at this present time psychiatric medications do not cure mental illness; yet they can improve the conditions you are suffering from.  The medications can also make treatments such as psychotherapy more effective, depending on your situation and how your body responds to the medications.  Some of the most commonly used prescription psychiatric medications are antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti anxiety, and antipsychotic medications.
Psychotherapy is used to treat mental illness by talking about your illness and anything related to such.  While participating in psychotherapy you learn about your illness, your moods, feelings, thoughts and your behaviors; you also learn coping and stress management skills.  There are other treatments besides medications and Psychotherapy.  I went through a Substance Abuse treatment program, of which I found out I was not alone in my use of illicit substances and alcohol.  Substance Abuse is common and occurs with mental illness.  It can interfere with treatment and also worsen the mental illness.  If you can’t stop using drugs or drinking you need to see a therapist about psychotherapy and medications as well as a Twelve Step program such as A/A or N/A.
Even as I have stopped using drugs and drinking, I still am a part of an outpatient program from which I get support from my therapist and friends alike while continuing to use a mood stabilizer which helps me with my manic phases.  This keeps me from reaching out into other directions which would only be destructive to my character and well being.  If you work with your health provider you can both decide what is best for you depending upon your illness and how severe it maybe.  In the case of taking medications you would want to be aware of the side effects and other preferences you may have concerning medications and or treatments and remember your decision to get better, rest with you, your family members and doctor to help you make the right choices for a better life. 
Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Diminished Capacity

This is a follow up to last week’s article on health care. In the article they said people with mental illness do not receive adequate health care.  One reason is because they do not take medicine like they are supposed to.  Is it because their cognitive functions are diminished that is what I understood.  I wanted to write about some of the people who have mental illness and they are not cognitively disabled because of their mental illness.
One of those people is Elyn Saks’s who is a professor of law at the University of Southern California she won a genius award.  Now I believe she adheres to taking her medicine and has come a long way in her life doing well.    Some people without mental illness have not achieved as much as her.  She also wrote a memoir of her struggles with Schizophrenia.  There are a lot of smart and successful people who have mental illness.  Some are celebrities that have come out to get rid of the stigma.One of those is Catherine Zeta-Jones who by talking about her mental illness which is Bipolar has brought out other celebrities also like Carrie Fisher to talk about their struggles with mental illness.  There are a lot of celebrities with mental illness that bring it out to get rid of the stigma.  Also have to remember John Nash of a beautiful mind movie.  He was a professor also and won the Nobel Prize in Economics.  Healthcare professionals have to treat everyone equal and help all people to live longer lives if at all possible.
I know from my own experience that there are a lot of people with mental illness that are higher functioning that do not tell they have a mental illness because of the stigma.  I know when I was first out of the state hospital I experience prejudice or stigma whatever you would like to call it firsthand.  I told the apartment manager that I had a mental illness when I was looking for apartments and she stopped talking to me and started talking to my sister.  I knew then that I would not get that apartment although she played it out calling to give excuses why I did not get it.
I know if President Obama does fight and is successful in bringing mental illness out of the shadows and a lot of people we will find that have mental illness and never told that they do. We will find that people with mental illness do not have diminished capacity and can understand and take their medications and fight for equal healthcare.  As many people with mental illness are not working and are on Medicaid and Welfare would it not be the right thing to do is give them the best healthcare in the beginning so they do not keep coming back for the same problem in an emergency room and we pay more money for the same health problem?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Drug Abuse: Insight to Change

Drug abuse has been a problem in our country for many, many years.  It became a problem in the U.S during the 19th century, with the importation of drugs such as opium and cocaine.  Artist and notables of the period were recreational users to begin with and so also were educators, and with the onset of pharmaceuticals conceived from such products such as cocaine, opium, marijuana and mescaline so blossomed the use of these and other drugs by the populace.  Having been a drug abuser in my lifetime I grew to understand that I was never regaled as a human being, only more or less a foolish man without any real education or growth of mind, I lived to get “high”.  With the new laws passing for the legalization of marijuana I can only sit in my space after 10 plus years of sobriety and being free from street drugs, and wonder what to feel about missing out on being free to use without constraint.  I wrote some time ago about my diagnoses, and how I deeply felt that drugs led me into a corner with schizophrenia and bi-polar illness, I had not realized I had lost my freedom nor did I not explore the avenues of which drug abuse takes you, the anxiety, stress, and depression occurring as you are withdrawing; nor did I think of the physical symptoms of health such as shaking, headaches, diarrhea and poor vision not to mention tooth decay.  There are a few other psychological problems which can exist during withdrawal, yet with psychological dependence, people who often crave a drug will go to any extreme to acquire it, to fulfill their need.  The avenues of criminality create stress and stress creates anxiety, and then trauma may result; the circle of psychological problems begin to revolve when you begin to believe you have a right to use a substance you feel will “do you justice.”  Some substances which cause dependence usually enact on the brain and leave effects such as changes in the mood, reduced anxiety (resulting in self medication), feelings of superiority and corruption to the senses, sight, taste and hearing of the human body. 
There are different treatments for drug abuse involving counseling which may help those who are addicted to drugs understand their problem(s) and help them conceive coping skills.  I know after having made my first three attempts of participating in certain recovery programs and relapsing each time that these relapses were my trial and errors in recovery, temporary setbacks which were actually stages of growing and overcoming the triggers which kept me using drugs and drinking.  Recovery can be a long process of overcoming an addiction; but the knowledge is there to become a new person. 

Written by Donald S.