Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Study identifies key indicators linking violence and mental illness

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "'New research from North Carolina State University, RTI International, Arizona State University and Duke University Medical Center finds a host of factors that are associated with subsequent risk of adults with mental illness becoming victims or perpetrators of violence. The work highlights the importance of interventions to treat mental-health problems in order to reduce community violence and instances of mental-health crises. 'This work builds on an earlier study that found almost one-third of adults with mental illness are likely to be victims of violence within a six-month period,' says Richard Van Dorn, a researcher at RTI and lead author of a paper describing the work. 'In this study, we addressed two fundamental questions: If someone is victimized, is he or she more likely to become violent? And if someone is violent, is he or she more likely to be victimized? The answer is yes, to both questions.' The researchers analyzed data from a database of 3,473 adults with mental illnesses who had answered questions about both committing violence and being victims of violence. The database drew from four earlier studies that focused on issues ranging from antipsychotic medications to treatment approaches. Those studies had different research goals, but all asked identical questions related to violence and victimization. For this study, the researchers used a baseline assessment of each study participant's mental health and violence history as a starting point, and then tracked the data on each participant for up to 36 months.'"They are forgetting substance abuse.  I am not violent although when I had an episode for the second time and I drank I was violent and went to the state hospital because of a crime that happened when I was psychotic and drunk.
The article goes on to say: "'Specifically, the researchers assessed each individual's homelessness, inpatient mental-health treatment, psychological symptoms of mental illness, substance use and as victims or perpetrators of violence. The researchers evaluated all of these items as both indicators and outcomes -- i.e., as both causes and effects. 'We found that all of these indicators mattered, but often in different ways,' says Sarah Desmarais, an associate professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of the paper. 'For example, drug use was a leading indicator of committing violence, while alcohol use was a leading indicator of being a victim of violence.' However, the researchers also found that one particular category of psychological symptoms was also closely associated with violence: affective symptoms. 'By affect, we mean symptoms including anxiety, depressive symptoms and poor impulse control,' Desmarais says. 'The more pronounced affective symptoms were, the more likely someone was to both commit violence and be a victim of violence. 'This is particularly important because good practices already exist for how to help people, such as therapeutic interventions or medication,' she adds. 'And by treating people who are exhibiting these symptoms, we could reduce violence. Just treating drug or alcohol use -- which is what happens in many cases -- isn't enough. We need to treat the underlying mental illness that is associated with these affective symptoms.'" That is what worked for me to stop drinking and it has been 27 years since I last took a drink.  Since then I have not been stopped for a crime or been charged with anything alcohol is bad for me and I know it.
The article ends: "'The research also highlighted how one violent event could cascade over time.
For example, on average, the researchers found that one event in which a person was a victim of violence triggered seven other effects, such as psychological symptoms, homelessness and becoming perpetrators of violence. Those seven effects, on average, triggered an additional 39 additional effects. 'It's a complex series of interactions that spirals over time, exacerbating substance use, mental-health problems and violent behavior,' Van Dorn says. 'These results tell us that we need to evaluate how we treat adults with severe mental illness,' he adds. 'Investing in community-based mental health treatment programs would significantly reduce violent events in this population,' says Desmarais. 'That would be more effective and efficient than waiting for people to either show up at emergency rooms in the midst of a mental-health crisis or become involved in the legal system as either victims or perpetrators of violence. 'We have treatments for all of these problems, we just need to make them available to the people that need them,' Desmarais says.'"You have to recognize the problem and then deal with it.  I did not need AA even though I had to go my crime was so bad in my mind that I did not want to drink again. I have not went to AA for the last twelve years because I will never drink again I hit the bottom and do not need alcohol to put me back in jail.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

MRI Scans Detect ‘Brain Rust’ in Patients with Schizophrenia

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "'New research has discovered that a damaging chemical imbalance in the brain may contribute to schizophrenia. Using a new kind of MRI measurement, neuroscientists reported higher levels of oxidative stress in patients with schizophrenia, when compared both to healthy individuals and those with bipolar disorder. 'Intensive energy demands on brain cells leads to accumulation of highly reactive oxygen species, such as free radicals and hydrogen peroxide,' said the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Fei Du, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.'" I believe this article because they have always said it was chemical imbalance.  It still have to find out what they can do about it.
The article goes on to say: "In schizophrenia, excessive oxidation, which involves the same type of chemical reaction that causes metal to corrode into rust, is widely thought to cause inflammation and cellular damage. However, measuring this process in the living human brain has been a challenge.
Du and his colleagues at McLean Hospital measured oxidative stress using a novel magnetic resonance spectroscopy technique. This technique uses MRI scanners to non-invasively measure brain concentrations of two molecules, NAD+ and NADH, that give a readout of how well the brain is able to buffer out excessive oxidants." It does not disappear in people with mental illness.  It must wear on the brain and that would be what causes a mental illness?
The article ends: "'Among 21 patients with chronic schizophrenia, Du observed a 53 percent elevation in NADH compared to healthy individuals of similar age. A similar degree of NADH elevation was seen in newly diagnosed schizophrenia, suggesting that oxidation imbalance is present even in the early stages of illness, according to the researchers. More modest NADH increases were also seen in bipolar disorder, which shares some genetic and clinical overlap with schizophrenia. In addition to offering new insights into the biology of schizophrenia, this finding also provides a potential way to test the effectiveness of new interventions, according to Du. 'We hope this work will lead to new strategies to protect the brain from oxidative stress and improve brain function in schizophrenia,' he said. The research was presented at the 2016 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Annual Meeting in Hollywood, Florida.'"This is such a small article and a lot more needs to be said about how this can help.  Also do people still have this oxidation when the are on anti-psychotic medication?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Those with Schizophrenia Share Tips on Living Productive Lives

That is the title of this article I am reviewing today. "'In a new study, researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles and colleagues at the University of Southern California describe some of the strategies people with schizophrenia have used to overcome the disorder and function successfully in their careers. Their findings appear in the journal Psychiatric Services. Investigators conducted up to three interviews each with 10 men and 10 women with schizophrenia from the Los Angeles area. All of them continued to have some psychotic symptoms even as they were employed in professional, technical, or managerial occupations.
'To the best of our knowledge, no previous studies have addressed how individuals with schizophrenia who also met some definition of recovery manage the symptoms of their disease,'said Dr. Amy Cohen, an associate research psychologist and the study’s first author. The researchers found that the people they interviewed had adopted numerous coping strategies to prevent and deal with symptoms. These strategies included avoiding stressful situations, staying away from alcohol and drugs and taking their prescribed medications. '" I do not avoid stressful situations I function perfectly except I have to take my medicine with food and know I can fall asleep two hours after I take it so I cannot always go places or out to eat knowing I have to take my medicine soon.
The article goes on to say: "'The interviewees also said they try to interact with people who are supportive and non-judgmental and that they use various cognitive strategies to help them reason through problematic thoughts and whether or not those thoughts are based in reality. The subjects also mentioned religion and spirituality, and exercise and diet, as ways they prevent or deal with psychiatric instability, Cohen said. Some individuals reported that calm, soothing places help them cope, while others said they preferred to seek out more activity. And some said jobs and educational activities could be distracting, but others said that school or career help by providing a sense of belonging. 'One big surprise — and disappointment — was the disparity between the education of these individuals and the salaries they were earning,' Cohen said. 'Most of the patients studied had college or advanced degrees but still made less than $50,000 annually despite working in a large, urban city.'  Researchers discovered that even with the various coping strategies, about half of those surveyed reported having difficulty managing their daily lives, not having felt close to another person within the prior week and experiencing recent hallucinations or delusions. Sadly, these symptoms are characteristic of the disorder. Overall, social stigma continues to be a serious problem for those affected by schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.'" I have a masters degree but do not use it it is in Public Administration.  I did not go in that field the reason I received my masters is because I had took alcohol and drug counselor but after my internship did not really like it because of the hours and the place I interned at. I went back as quick as I could and signed up for the first masters I could get.
The article ends: "'There is a widespread misunderstanding that individuals with schizophrenia are violent and dangerous, often homeless, and beyond help,’' Cohen said. Prior studies have shown that half to two-thirds of people with schizophrenia will significantly improve or fully recover, enabling them to live fulfilling and productive lives. Cohen said she hopes the findings provide encouragement for people battling the stigma of mental illness and that the study helps inform treatment for schizophrenia. 'The bulk of treatments for schizophrenia were developed from observations of individuals who are quite ill or hospitalized, rather than patients who have achieved a level of recovery,' Cohen said. “And the prevailing medical model continues to presuppose the expertise of the clinician over the individual with the disorder. This study allows for new insights by leveraging firsthand experiences of those with schizophrenia.” Whenever I am angry or just sad or something I play music that always helps me with situations it calms me down.  Makes life more bearable.