THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS, DEPRESSION, AND BIPOLAR DISORDER
“Knowledge Is Necessity!”- John McMan
- One in four American families has a mentally ill member. (WSJ-6/7/05)
- Most people with severe mental illness are not permanently incapacitated, infantile, helpless persons whom we need to protect. They may occasionally need that, but for the most part, they can have dreams, hopes, plans and choices like anyone else.
- “Depression is the most researched illness on the internet.”-Psychology Today-4/01
- World Health Organization classifies depression as, “one of the most disabling diseases in the world…and by 2020 depression will be the leading cause of “lost years of healthy life.”
- Nearly forty years of data show that men with depression are about twice as likely to have heart disease, including heart attacks, as the general population-One third of depressives have drug or alcohol abuse problems. -Bipolar Network News, V.,13, Iss. 1, 2009
- One in ten Americans is affected by major depression. –Web M.D.,‘10
- Depression is curable, but is a chronic, recurring illness vulnerable to relapse-about 70%-75% will have relapses.
- Brain scans of depressive patients’ brains show clear structural changes.
- Physical symptoms frequently accompany clinical depression-e.g.-gastro-intestinal, joint pain and other physical complaints.
- Biggest danger of depression is suicide. A person never can accurately predict when a comment or incident will finally break his/her will to live.
- Females attempt suicide 2-3 times more often than men do, but men are 4 times more successful.
- A typical, untreated major depressive episode lasts six to twelve months.
- One out of eight women experience major depression, twice as much as men-NAMI study.
- Antidepressants are no more effective for mild to moderate depression than are placebos. But medication is effective for moderate to serious depression. –Journal of the American medical Association, 1/10
- A combination of medications and psychotherapy works best, especially cognitive behavoral therapy (CBT).
- St John’s Wort and Same offer help to many mild to moderate D sufferers, but are not as effective for clinical D. This can trigger switching or induce manic cycling in bipolars.
Analysis sheds doubt on role of depression gene
A study funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and reported 6/18/09 examined numerous previous studies as well as their own. “Their analysis of 14 studies involving nearly 11,000 people found that the (depression) gene did not show a relationship to increased risk for major depression either alone or in interaction with stressful life events. However, it did find a strong association between the number of stressful life events and risk of depression.”—DBSA-California News—Winter 2009-2010
- “Studies show that in most states of the U.S., and to lesser extent in Europeans well, patients with serious psychiatric illness, including those with depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, have a life expectancy one or two decades less than that of the general population.—Bipolar Network News V. 13, Iss. 1, 2009
- “What has become abundantly clear in the antidepressant age—the drugs are now the most commonly prescribed medication in the country—is that depression is terribly difficult, if not impossible, to cure. Many primary care doctors, who treat 80 percent of depressed people, labor under the assumption that a prescription is a panacea. But antidepressants completely alleviate symptoms in about 35 to 40 percent of people, compared with 15-20 percent of those who take a placebo–a fact not publicized in pharmaceutical ads…about 70 percent of people who successfully beat one bout can expect to face another.” – U.S. News & World Report, 12/24/07
- The Star*D Trial of treatment resistant depression, a landmark study on depression, studied 4000 depressed patients. It found that it took 4 tries of different drugs and therapy to bring relief from depressive symptoms…even when only 30 percent of the patients finished one year.
- Many experts believe that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is as effective as medications in treating depression. Drugs are faster acting, but they only suppress the problem.
- “…people whose symptoms disappeared after cognitive behavioral therapy showed significant changes on MRI scans in two brain regions associated with depression. What’s more, the therapy appears to be as effective as medication when used for resistant depression, according to findings from the Star*D trial.”- U.S. News & World Report, 12/24/07
- “Drugs are quicker acting and take less work in the short run, but they only suppress the problem…therapy (CBT) allows people to take action when their mood is dipping to prevent a full-blown relapse.”-Michael Thase, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine– U.S. News & World Report, 12/24/07
- “A September (‘07) study by the Rand Corp. found that most (doctors) do a poor job of monitoring medications and addressing alcohol abuse and suicide risk…symptoms should be addressed again after six to eight weeks…”– U.S. News & World Report, 12/24/07
- “As little as 30 minutes of question-and-answer in a doctor’s office about family history of depression, anxiety or substance abuse is enough to predict a person’s approximate risks for developing each disorder, and how severe their future illness is likely to be… Family history can predict a more recurrent course of anxiety, depression or substance abuse…Researchers from Duke University’s Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy and their colleagues said their findings make a strong case for doctors to ask about family histories of those conditions, much like they routinely ask about family histories of cancer, diabetes or heart disease. – from a 7/2009 study appearing in Archives of General Psychiatry, entitled, “Predictive Value of Family History on Severity of Illness”
- While anti-depressants are not addictive, some have serious withdrawal symptoms. This issue is called “discontinuation syndrome”—Paxil and Zoloft are frequent causes in some patients. “Discontinuation Syndrome” the term psychiatrists prefer because “withdrawal” suggests that antidepressant drugs are addictive (like cocaine and heroin), which they are not…To be sure, many of the millions of people worldwide who take antidepressants experience no withdrawal symptoms when they stop… ‘But some studies suggest that one in every 10 has some symptoms, and one in every 20 suffers “significant distress,” says Dr. Jerold Rosenbaum, Chief of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Others, among them Dr. Andrew Leuchter, Director of the Division of Adult Psychiatry at UCLA Medical Center believe the actual figures are much higher—perhaps 25% to 30% for Zoloft, more for Paxil and less for Prozac…
- …In fact, a 1997 study in the journal of Clinical Psychiatry showed that 70% of general practitioners and, surprisingly a third of psychiatrists don’t know that significant withdrawal symptoms can occur when people stop taking antidepressants of the type called SSRIs, …to which Prozac, Zoloft Paxil, Luvox, Celexa and a similar drug, Effexor, belong. Withdrawal symptoms can also occur with antidepressants that work differently from SSRIs including older drugs such As Elavil and Tofranil…”- The Los Angeles Times, 6/8/01
- It is estimated that up to 1 in 12 teens suffer from serious depression, and most go undiagnosed and untreated.
- “Today’s 20-somethings have a 1-in-4 lifetime risk of experiencing depression’s hallmark black mood…”– U.S. News & World Report, 12/24/07
- CDC data from 2001 shows that 19 percent of high school students had seriously considered attempting suicide, nearly 15 percent had made plans to attempt it.
Bipolar Disorder Facts:
- Bipolar disorder has no known cure, but can be managed, much like diabetes can be managed.
- Bipolar disorder patients usually become ill before age 25.
- Brain scans of manic brains show structural changes.
- Studies show that 25% to 50% of all bipolars attempt suicide at least once, and one in five takes his or her life.
- Most bipolars experience more depression than mania.
- The most dangerous condition for bipolars is the “mixed state.”
- “Physical disorders tend to accumulate, perhaps more frequently in bipolar patient than in depressed patients without bipolar disorder.”- Robert C. Young, M.D., Professor of the Department of Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University– BP Magazine, Spring, 2008
- The average weight gain for bipolars is approximately 55 pounds.
- “Bipolar depression may be difficult for both patients and doctors to identify because the symptoms are often confused with major depression.”- Joseph R. Calabrese, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University, Mood Disorders Program, University Hospitals, Cleveland, Ohio
- “The study findings coincide with previous research that suggests nearly half of all patients who have bipolar disorder will first be diagnosed with major depression.”- from a study presented at the 159th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Toronto, Canada
- Nearly seven out of ten people with bipolar disorder are initially misdiagnosed, most often confused with having unipolar illness.
- On average, people who are misdiagnosed receive three incorrect diagnoses and consult four physicians.
- “Many people (more than a third) with bipolar disorder face up to ten years of coping with symptoms before getting an accurate diagnosis.”- Karl Ackerman, President of the Manic-Depressive and Depressive Association of Boston, MA
- “ On average, the time from first onset of symptoms and a real diagnosis is ten years, and it takes another ten to manage bipolar disorder and devise the right ‘recipe’ of medications.”—Colin Depp, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology, University of California, San Diego—BP Magazine, Spring, 2008
- A survey of patients with bipolar disorder and other mood disorders done by the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association in the early 1990s found that 36 percent of those who responded to the questionnaire did not seek professional treatment until ten years after their symptoms began. Seventy-three percent of the bipolar patients in this study had received at least one incorrect diagnosis before being identified as having bipolar disorder—often many years after they had first sought help. The average respondent had seen 3.3 physicians before being correctly diagnosed.
- Monotherapy for bipolar disorder with antidepressants, alone without a mood stabilizer, is considered by some experts to be malpractice. “…antidepressants alone have been shown to induce mania or hypomania in some patients with bipolar depression.”- from a study presented at the 159th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Toronto, Canada