Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bipolar Disorder More Common Than Expected in Hospitalized Adolescents


"Clinicians at Bradley Hospital, the nation’s first psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents, have found that bipolar disorder is more common than expected in teens in a psychiatric inpatient setting.

“In the past, mental health professionals thought that about one percent of teens was bipolar—our research indicates that if a strict definition of the illness is applied, up to twenty percent of adolescents on psychiatric units may be manic-depressive,” says lead author Jeffrey Hunt, MD, a child psychiatrist at Bradley Hospital and associate professor of psychiatry at Brown Medical School. The study appears in the December issue of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is characterized by dramatic mood swings—from overly “high” and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again. “There are often periods of normal mood in between, but there is always accompanying serious impairment in functioning,” says Hunt." (continued through link)

Workshop provides help for family of those having mental illness

Link to: Jamestown News online, story by Jane E. Whitehorne:

"Elaine Purpel knows first hand the pain of having a loved one who suffers from mental illness. Her son was diagnosed with schizophrenia more than 25 years ago.

The trying times for her family were made better with help from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). The Guilford County Chapter of NAMI will be sponsoring the Family-to-Family Education Program beginning Jan. 14 at the Mary Perry Ragsdale Family YMCA. The free, 12-week course is for family and friends of individuals with serious mental illness."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tips for for mental health over the holidays

By HILLARY RHODES, Associated Press (ASAP)
Copyright December 22, 2005
Link from Hampton Roads/PilotOnline

"MERRY Christmas. HAPPY Hanukkah. JOY to the world. JOLLY old Saint Nicholas. It's the most WONDERFUL time of the year.

Would the holiday cheer please just shut up for a moment? It's an awful lot of pressure.

The tremendously overwhelming demand for people suddenly to be festive during the darkest, coldest, most hectic, most stressful time of year is a bit much for many of us. It's not so easy to turn on the joy and jingle with the flip of a switch.

Experts say it's a myth that suicides are more common around the holidays. But for people already prone to mental illness, the season can be especially challenging."

Monday, December 12, 2005

Science tries to find secrets of teen brains

St. Louis Post Dispatch
by Tina Hesman and Matt Franck

"New brain research is shattering assumptions held for generations about the adolescent mind, fueling a battle over teen mental health, the rights of parents and the effectiveness of treatment.

The findings are forcing scientists to redraw the line between normal teen behavior and severe mental illness, while questioning how the brain truly develops."

Friday, December 09, 2005

NAMI's Statement on the Miami Shooting of Man with Bipolar Disorder

"NAMI's heart goes out to the family of Rigoberto Alpizar and to the marshals involved in the shooting, who we know must be profoundly affected by this tragedy.

We recognize that air marshals have very difficult jobs and sometimes have to make split second, life and death decisions.

NAMI calls upon the Federal Air Marshal Service and all other law enforcement agencies to take a close look at its training and education protocols and, if currently lacking, adopt measures to prepare officers to respond effectively to people with severe mental illness.

Law enforcement officers frequently come into contact with people who may be acting erratically or irrationally due to severe mental illnesses or other brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease. Many communities throughout the United States, including Miami, have adopted Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) programs to better prepare officers to respond to these situations. These programs work and save lives!"

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Researchers identify bipolar disorder in preschoolers

Washington University in St. Louis: "Child psychiatry researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a small group of preschoolers who appear to suffer from bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness. The findings, presented this fall at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, highlight symptoms that distinguish bipolar disorder from other mental health problems in very young children. "

Mania can be confused with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.