The Future of the 1 in 4

Can the mentally ill really be called a minority? As I have said time and time again, 1 in 4 really doesn’t constitute a small community of people. On the contrary, that can be turned over to 1 million in 4 million suffering from a major mental illness. So what is the future for us, the 1 in 4? Sorry to say, the jury is out…

Or is it? Let’s take a look at what we do know about the future. For one thing, pharmaceutical therapy has never been more advanced, and effective treatment methods are increasingly on the rise since the 20th and 21st century. So much has our understanding improved, that we have learned preventable methods against depression and anxiety. Effective methods though? Well, according to a Dutch study, nearly 50% of patients who seek help with depression have been exorcised of any serious bouts of depression before they even appear. (http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsArticle.aspx?articleid=1558419)However, until then, we can only speculate. I’ve discussed many issues and subjects, but this one I will have to wait for the future to see what will happen to the 1 in 4.

 

 

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We Can “Cure” You, And Your Soul

IS IT REALLY THAT SCARY THAT WE’RE AMONG YOU?

Mental illness is having a lite fuse between your ears, and for those with bipolar disorder the fuse is even shorter; bipolar sufferers are more than twenty times likely to attempt suicide, with a statistic of between 25 and 50% having attempted suicide at least once (http://www.suicide.org/bipolar-disorder-and-suicide.html) and with 30-70% of suicide victims suffering from depression in one of its many forms. And so here we come to the question of if—and this if might come one day very soon—if we can “cure” mental illness, then should we? Suffering from bipolar disorder and being quite aware of the dark passages of purgatorio which this illness travels you down without the guide Virgil to ward away the demons that easily claims, I can say without hesitation that I would not free myself of this illness. Just last week we were talking about discovering the genes of alcoholism, and mental illness came up. I remarked that localizing genes for homosexuality, mental illness ( homosexuality and mental illness not at all related, my firends) and the like is opening a Pandora’s box. And when one commented that finding mental illness and its “cure” would be beneficial, I said I would never want to “cure” myself of being bipolar, which made the room quiet and mottled with puzzled expressions galore. Goes to show how little understanding there is of mental illness, and how curing an illness of the brain is not unalike curing a part of the brain like one’s personality.

(Nurse attending cold-water submersion therapy patients)

The following like has the ideal mode of thinking when dealing with the question of how to “cure” mental illness, we don’t! (http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/05/22/how-do-you-cure-mental-illness/) In life, we all are born with struggles, some struggles arise later on in life. But we ALL struggle and must fight to get through it, or live with it. If we learned anything from Daniel Keyes’ revolutionary 1959 novel, Flowers for Algernon, we see that our best intentions of curing Down’s syndrome does not always meet healthy ends. Sure, we want people to live normal and productive lives, but playing God is hardly the answer. So helping people live with these conditions is the only ethical answer of how can we do the best that we can. And with medication and psychotherapy, we can see that the best forms of dealing with mental illness is being told that there is nothing wrong with being a little different (http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-psychotherapy) I love you, JFK, but trying to “cure” the mind and homogenizing our society will make the world a frightfully similar and Aldous Huxley dystopian culture. following is President Kennedy’s 1963 address to Congress on mental illness and mental retardation (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=9546.) However, your concern for the mentally ill in a time where locking them away in a padded cell is as honorable as your support for civil rights and tolerance for homosexuals.

(Parental of grunge music, revolutionary of alternative music, Kurt Cobain. Likely bipolar sufferer, one in countless celebrities with mental illness.)

So now we come down to the question of what do we do now? One day we will localize the cause and be able to change the genes of individuals and be able to make our own children how we see fit just like children can in Build-A-Bear Workshop. One straight, christian male coming right up! But let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.  In my opinion, when the day comes we can “cure” mental illness, it should not be taken likely. Only when we are sure that the procedure actually works, the steps to “curing” (yes I will put quotations around every time the work “cure” is used) should be the same as changing one’s gender (again, not comparing.) Vigorous therapy sessions spanning months on why you want to be “cured” should be underway to examine if someone would really be happy without this illness. Then and only then should the proper, safe steps be taken. Nevertheless, I will never “cure” myself no matter the ease of which to do it. My illness put me through the greatest of challenges, and with my will and determination, I was able to pull through and learn more about myself, more than I would have ever known otherwise. In the end, these illness help to positively define people, though casualties are prominent, but I would not have chosen a different mind, even if my insurance policy would cover it.

“Bipolar on Fire”

The following is a blog similar to what I was trying to begin earlier on about someone suffering from bipolar disorder detailing their life in a diary format. Included in the posts is the detailing of receiving ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) and how it affects them and hwo they feel afterwards. This is a perfect example of how someone who really has the mental illness faces the great challenges of being treated for an incurable and live-threatening disease, and how it takes more than just medication and therapy and doctors and prescriptions to live through it. Instead, it takes patience, determination and a willingness to be better though it may as well be easier to just give up.

http://bipolaronfire.com/

Lithium, Lucky #3

#3 on the Periodic Table on the Elements and first discovered in 1817 by Swedish chemist Johan August Arfwedson, lithium is a soft, silver-white alkali metal naturally found in nature. And it was not until 1949 until it was used as a medicine to treat both the manic and depressive episodes of bipolar disorder. In the 18th century it was used to treat gout, and before being discontinued  the same year it was used for psychiatric applications, it was also used to treat hypertension and heart disease as well as dietary salt tablets until side effects and death led to its over-the-counter ban. It is a hallmark drug for being the first to treat both mood disorders and schizophrenia, but nowadays schizophrenia is mostly treated with Risperidone though it’s not uncommon. Today, lithium carbonate, its medically synthesized permeation, is a last resort for bipolar disorder due to the potential side effects and numerous other antimanic drugs that have recently surfaced in the 1990’s, such as valproate (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol) and lamotrigine (Lamictal.) However, I am an example for a bipolar sufferer who has failed to have a response to Depakote, the second strongest bipolar medication, and Lamictal, as well as the milder oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) and has found lithium the ideal drug to quell a serious medical condition.

Our 21st Century Intolerance

Is it really known that there is as much resistance to social respectability to the mentally ill? There have been many crusades to promote the understanding of mental illness, and a part of aiding the sufferers is to provide a sense of confidence for the future. It is a very hard thing to accomplish alone, even with the help of friend support and family acceptance. In the long run, society has a great role in how one perceives their worth. Continue reading Our 21st Century Intolerance

1 in 4

With the Diagnostic Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders about to publish its 5th Edition, the statistic of those who suffer from a mental illness is 1 in every 4 Americans. That is 26.2% of all Americans over the age of eighteen, or 57. 7 million people in the United States and as many as eight million have not been properly diagnosed, if at all. This is especially dangerous for those with a mental illness are twice as likely to commit suicide, more than that have suicidal thoughts. Out of the 30,000 Americans who kill themselves each year, 90% have a mental illness which equates to 27,000 people out of that number of 31,000. So, who in your life is included in the 1 in 4?

Many things we call imperfections are actually far from; they are the things that color our own world and the world of others around us. Some people are told they have imperfections where someone else of a slightly different status would not. Luckily we are waxing into a period of society, or so it seems more and more, where these so-called imperfections are celebrated, and welcomed as well as the people whose own imperfections are just another word for something which makes us more of a person. Continue reading

Mental Health and Healthcare

“Bipolar, Unemployed, and Lost.” In reading just the title, the worst fears standing alongside relapse is shown in all its ugliness to a bipolar sufferer. In the current climate of healthcare, those with mental illness are kept on their toes to see where America will go next. I alone have started to pay a higher copay to go to my own psychiatrist appointments, and as a result I have been going less and less. Call it something terrible when someone suffering from heart pains can’t go to a doctor, but remain hush-hush when a crazy can’t go to what a Scientologist would call a clown with an office. The point is that there has always been a question of what’s going on in the great machine of healthcare where mental health is concerned, but as of today the dark clouds only grow darker.