Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Well this week we will start a new year.  This last was not too bad for me a lot of changes happened some for the good some for the bad.  Although, I have hope for the next year because I am making changes to have a better New Year and life not that this life is all that bad.  It is not a new year’s resolution as I have already made these changes in this year just going to continue them.  Problems can be solved there is always a way to make the adjustments needed to continue living an alright life.  I know personally problems come up and it seems like it is the end of everything.  What also pops up is a solution it is not always the right one although it works to solve the problem.
Hope is the key word I will not keep on saying that my life was always bad.  Although getting out of the state hospital and not having my daughter right away in my life was the greatest loss ever.  I lived through it and when I did get her back in my life I forgot the years that she was away.  It was different getting to know her and adjusting to the new changes in my life.  It is worth it now I have three grandchildren and that helps in life very much.  What I am saying is that hope does work and it seems hard plugging through but life does soon get better.  Whenever I get a chance I wonder what brought on this mental illness.  Since I was fifteen I drank more that the average person.
I though getting high was all that life was about.  Mental illness and cocaine are so similar. I do believe that drug caused my mental illness and it also messed up my life my making me lose my money and everything I owned.  I was asked when I was at the state hospital I was asked what the mental illness is like, “I said racing thoughts just like cocaine.”  Paranoia was also there but unlike cocaine you did not come down it stayed with you. I had quit cocaine before my mental illness but it was back and I thought it was cocaine in the food at the state hospital that was one of my delusions.  I am glad all that is over.  People do not understand what drugs like cocaine and heroin do to a person.
I have known people that had a pretty good life before they started messing with those drugs and all they became is junkies not a good life for no one. I am glad that I do not get drunk anymore and glad that life is better and wonder why it did not turn out better when I got high than it was always why is this happening.  Life is still full of ups and downs but I do not tear off my medals and wish for a better life of getting high.  I enjoy my grandkids and it is better than all that anger I had before.  So the changes I have to make to lose weight do not seem all that bad as things could have been worse for me.  I could have ended up in prison for life.  Also I bet my good friend is still in the state hospital or dead as he was already older than me when I knew him.  He did not want to give up his weed to change and get out of there.  Well just hope the new year turns out great for everybody.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Spotlighting Dopamine to Probe Alcohol Addiction

That is the title of this article I am writing about. “A new technology called optogenetics is helping researchers gain a better understanding of the neurochemical basis of addiction.  Optogenetics allows researchers to control the activity of specific populations of brain cells, or neurons using light.  Amazingly, we have pond scum to thank for the new technique; the method was devised to understand how the tiny green algae that give pond scum its distinctive color detect and use light to grow.  The technology allowed Evgeny A. Budygin, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, to address critical questions regarding the roles of dopamine in alcohol drinking-related behaviors.  Well it is nice to see that technology can be used in different ways.  To be able to use it in alcohol addiction to find and help people who may have a problem drinking.
How will the use this technology? “With this technique, we’ve basically taken control of specific populations of dopamine cells, using light to make them respond almost like flipping a light switch, said Budygin.  These data provide us with concrete direction about what kind of patterns of dopamine cell activation might be most effective to target alcohol drinking, The latest study for Budygin and his team has been published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. Co-author Jeffrey L. Weiner, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest Baptist, said one of the biggest challenges in neuroscience had been to control the activity of brain cells in the same way that brain controls them. With optogenetics, neuroscientists can turn specific neurons on or off at will, providing that those neurons actually govern specific behaviors.”  What dopamine cells get turned on or off when you are drinking is a good way to find out how to stop.  How that will battle drinking is impressive.  I know for some people quitting drinking is a very hard thing to do.  I finally quit when I wanted to.  I did learn some good things through groups and A.A. but what really made be quit is the crime I did to go to the state hospital it was finally the bottom for me.
The article goes on to say: “We have known for many years what areas of the brain are involved in the development of addiction and which neurotransmitters are essential for this process, Weiner said.  We need to know the casual relationship between neurochemical changes in the brain and addictive behaviors, and optogenetics is making that possible now.  Using a rodent model, the researchers used cutting-edge molecular techniques to express the light-responsive channel rhodopsin protein in a specific population of dopamine cells in the brain-reward system.  They then implanted tiny optical fibers into this brain region and were able to control the activity of these dopamine cells by flashing a blue laser on them.  You can place and electrode in the brain and apply an electrical current to mimic the way brain cells get excited, but when you do that you’re activating all the cells in a part of the brain-reward system.  Using this technique, we discovered distinct patterns of dopamine cell activation that seemed to be able to disrupt the alcohol-drinking behavior of the rats.  A different way to combat alcoholism would be great it does cause a lot of problems if you are an alcoholic like I was.  It causes crime and behaviors you wish you had never done.
The ending of the article states: “Weiner said there is translational value from the study because ‘it gives us better insight into how we might want to use something like deep-brain stimulation to treat alcoholism.’  Doctors are starting to use deep-brain stimulation to treat everything from anxiety to depression and while it works, there is little scientific understanding behind it, he said.  Budygin agreed. Now we are taking the first steps in this direction, he said.  It was impossible before the optogenetics era.”  That is great to not have to take a pill to make you stop drinking now there are new ways to help.  When you are drunk you do stupid things if this will help people I am all for it.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Recovery Library

I was sent the following link to review.  One thing it has that we would all like to read is recovery stories.  One of the recovery stories is on a person losing 135 pounds.  We would all like tips on how to do that.  They have both transcript of the videos and videos to watch.  Another story on the recovery page of this library is about the roots of peer support that should be interesting learning how the peer support movement came about.  A lot of different topics that a person would find interesting are on this library.  On the whole health section there is exercise and health information besides ways to lose weight.
They have a section on self-advocacy and that tells you about stigma and also how to get benefits how to get them what happens if you go to jail and lose benefits.  How soon after do you get them back and do you get them back.  Do you get them back everyone would love those answers? They also have a section on making amends and life gets better after stopping drinking and drugging.  They have a section on the myths and facts of reentry back to society after being in jail.  All and all I believe this would be a great resource to have to learn the facts.
To know what happens if a certain scenario happens. Healthy eating is a good topic. The topic on medications side effects what types of medication are out there?  All things a person would like to know about.  It is a good resource to find just about everything that happens and a person needs when they have a mental illness.  Just answers to questions that might come up. If a person would need to know instead of wondering here is a tool that gives all the answers.  I know reading some of the sites of people with schizophrenia that these answers would help.  This is a tool for everyone with a mental illness not just schizophrenia.
To know that such a tool exists is half the battle.  Use it if you seek answers to questions and other people’s stories on how they lost weight how they battled addiction.  Another way to stop smoking that is on here also.  It is good to know all of that so you can use what you want and discard what you want.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Judges, Psychiatrists Confer on Handling Mental Illness in Justice System

That is the title of this article I am writing about today.  “Judges and psychiatrists are putting their heads together to devise ways to temper justice with mental health care for defendants and prisoners.  Psychiatrists and judges must learn more from each other to make headway together in dealing with the thousands of people with mental illness confined in U.S. jails and prisons, said speakers at the Judicial-Psychiatric Leadership Forum in Philadelphia last month.  Having doctors at the table is important, said Judge Ernie Glenn of San Antonio, Texas.  They understand far less about what we do than they should, and we understand far less than we should about what they do.  Jail should be the last place for people with serious mental illness, rather than the first, emphasized Miami-Dade County Judge Steven Leifman head of the Judge’s Criminal Justice/Mental Health Leadership Initiative (JLI) and a long-time champion of reform, addressing the 60 psychiatrists, judges, and court administrators at the forum. We have the leaders in this room to make a difference and change a horrific policy that has been an absolute, intolerable, unacceptable failure.”  I hope things change in the future because jail and prison is the last place a person should be with a mental illness.  My mental illness came about in prison in the late 80s and it was new than.  There was not that many with mental illness in the prisons or jail.  To be crazy in jail before I went to the State Hospital was not fun or like jail I had been to before.
The article goes on to say: “There needs to be a mutual recognition by judges and psychiatrists of the need to rehabilitate the prisoner and protect public safety, said Fred Osher, M.D. director of health systems and services policy at the Council of State Governments Justice Center in New York. I have optimism about the ways we can move forward.  The Judicial-Psychiatric Leadership Forum was cosponsored by the Justice Center, the JLI, and the American Psychiatric Foundation. Leifman is a member of the foundation’s board.  Judges have a great advantage when they want to get something done, said former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton. People listen to judges, and judges are used to being obeyed, Stratton noted.  Most of the judges in attendance were already part of the solution, working in mental health, drug, or veterans courts or other specialized dockets.  However, mental health training, perhaps in the form of continuing legal education, should also be expanded to reach judges in the system who do not have experience in specialty mental health courts, said Glenn.  Better yet, crossover education should start early in professional training, in law school and medical school.  I hate the state hospital but that is where people with a mental illness belong.  With others that have similar problems or mental illness.
The article also says: “The two professions could do more at both the beginning and end of a prisoners sojourn in the criminal justice system, since special mental health courts get only a small number of those with mental illness.  For example, judges could encourage police training to divert people with mental illness to hospitals for evaluation before they are arrested, because it’s much harder to get them out of the system once they’re inside.  More than 4,000 police officers in the Miami area have been trained to do just that, reducing arrests of people with mental health problems sufficiently to permit Miami-Dade County to close one of its jails, its Women’s Annex, earlier this year.  The average number of inmates fell from around 7,400 a year to just 4,800 at latest count, saving about $12 million a year.  There was also a 73% reduction in jail bed days.  Judges and psychiatrists are both interested in gathering information, noted Michael Champion, M.D. director of Champion Forensic Services in Santa Fe, N.M. Judges can do a good social history but don’t know how to turn that into a defined intervention strategy, and information is sometimes blocked on the psychiatrists’ side as well, because clinicians are not clear about what information will be used for.  Will it help or hurt the patient?” It is better to do something before a person goes to prison or jail.  Once you are in the system it is hard getting out.  It can take years of good behavior before you are released from all types of probation or parole services.
The last of the article says: “Both groups struggled with the problem of transitioning people out of the criminal system.  Clear release policies and procedures are needed for people with mental illness who are being treated in jail or prison, and then connections must be made with outside mental health providers.  One county found a simple solution: faxing or e-mailing a list of prisoners about to be released to local mental health agencies, said Judge Chad Schmucker, state court administrator for the Michigan Supreme Court.  The agencies frequently find the names of released inmates who were already on their client list and reconnect with them after their release.  We need to bring the criminal justice system into the continuity of care, agreed Debra Pinals. M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry and director of forensic education at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  The dialogue between the two professions has to continue. Leifman and Osher maintained.  The want to see more, and larger, meetings like this one, to expand the interactions.  We need an army of you, Osher told attendees.  Let’s go back to our communities and work together on this issue.”  Let’s hope they all work together because being in jail I know for me was hardest time I ever did.  If they can rehabilitate so people stay out of jail and prisons and even the state hospital it would be great.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Common biology shared in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

That is what the title of this article talks about. “Patients suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder share similar cognitive and brain abnormalities, three new multi-site studies show.  The findings, published in the November issue of American Journal of psychiatry, add to growing literature that the two disorders share a common biology.  We have known for a long time that the clinical symptoms are shared substantially between the two conditions, but when you look at the biology, these illnesses also blur into each other, said Godfrey Pearlson, professor of psychiatry and neurobiology and a co-author of the studies.  It is clear that they are not two nicely separated packages, but there is a substantial crossover between the two.”  Comparing the brains of schizophrenics and bipolar disorder patients you can see the same brain in both.  Does the same medication work for both mental illnesses?
The article also says: “The diagnoses of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have been used for almost a century to differentiate between symptoms, outcomes, and more recently, response to medications.  However, a growing number of researchers are beginning to question whether they are useful tools for the classification, understanding, and treatment of major mental illness.  While genome-wide analysis of patients DNA has not revealed clear-cut genetic culprits, researchers have known for years that schizophrenia and bipolar patients share similar abnormalities in such measures as eye movement and response to electroencephalogram tests.  Similar abnormalities are also often seen in their non-ill close relatives.”  They share some abnormalities in their brains that are similar so do there close relatives. These answers can help a lot of people searching for answers to why this happened to them. When none of their relatives have ever had a mental illness before that they know of.
Who is being tested for this: “Researchers at Yale and the Institute of Living in Hartford—as well as four other sites in Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas and Maryland—are studying 20 potential biological disease indicators in 3,000 individuals.  The subjects include those with schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar disorder, as well as their close relatives and unrelated healthy controls. The study is known as BSNIP (Bipolar-schizophrenia Network on Intermediate Phenotypes).  The new studies also show similar deficits in the brain among grey matter (neurons) and white matter (neuronal projections and connective cells) among schizophrenia and bipolar patients.  Also, the two conditions share similar forms of cognitive problems.  There are no clear-cut biological distinctions separating the conditions.  Intriguingly, similar brain abnormalities and cognitive deficits are shared to a lesser degree by relatives of the patients and likely represent markers of disease susceptibility.  These findings may lead researchers to common genetic causes of these deficits.  Pearlson also noted that the National Institute of Mental Health recently proposed a reclassification of mental illnesses based on biological measures.”  Bipolar face the same cognitive problems as schizophrenics.  College was tough on me.  If I would have went before my mental illness I know I would have done better especially in math.