Posts Tagged Mental Health
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is an illness, a medical condition. It affects the normal functioning of the brain, interfering with a person’s ability to think, feel and act. Some do recover completely, and, with time, most find that their symptoms improve. However, for many, it is a prolonged illness which can involve years of distressing symptoms and disability.
People affected by schizophrenia have one ‘personality,’ just like everyone else. It is a myth and totally untrue that those affected have a so-called ‘split personality’.
What are the symptoms?
If not receiving treatment, people with schizophrenia experience persistent symptoms of what is called psychosis. These include:
• Confused thinking
When acutely ill, people with psychotic symptoms experience disordered thinking. The everyday thoughts that let us live our daily lives become confused and don’t join up properly.
A delusion is a false belief held by a person which is not held by others of the same cultural background.
The person sees, hears, feels, smells or tastes something that is not actually there. The hallucination is often of disembodied voices which no one else can hear.
Other associated symptoms are low motivation and changed feelings.
What causes Schizophrenia?
The causes of schizophrenia are not fully understood. They are likely to be a combination of hereditary and other factors. It is probable that some people are born with a predisposition to develop this kind of illness, and that certain things — for example, stress or use of drugs such as marijuana, LSD or speed — can trigger their first episode.
How many people develop Schizophrenia?
About one in a hundred people will develop schizophrenia at some time in their lives. Most of these will be first affected in their late teens and early twenties.
How is Schizophrenia treated?
Treatment can do much to reduce and even eliminate the symptoms. Treatment should generally include a combination of medication and community support. Both are usually essential for the best outcome.
Certain medications assist the brain to restore its usual chemical balance. This then helps reduce or get rid of some of the symptoms.
• Community support programs
This support should include information; accommodation; help with finding suitable work; training and education; psychosocial rehabilitation and mutual support groups. Understanding and acceptance by the community is also very important.
How do I find out more?
It is important to ask your doctor about any concerns you have. SANE Australia also produces a range of easy-to-read publications and multimedia resources on mental illness. For more information about this topic see:
Find a translated version of this factsheet.
• SANE Guide to Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Illness
Explains what it means to have a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia, examining effective treatments and what family and friends can do to help.
• Schizophrenia DVD Kit (37 minutes)
People who’ve experienced illness and their carers talk about the things which have helped them cope better. The SANE Guide to Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Illness included. See above for details.
• Voices: The Auditory Hallucinations Project
An Audio CD that explains how it feels to hear voices and what can be done to help.
• Tell Me I’m Here by Anne Deveson
Writer, journalist and filmmaker tells the moving and courageous story of what happened to her family when her son Jonathan developed schizophrenia.
• Recovered, Not Cured by Richard McLean (audio CD)
A graphic journey exploring the author’s experience of schizophrenia: the first signs, reactions from friends and family, how he sought help and the challenges of recovery.
• Flying with Paper Wings by Sandy Jeffs
Flying with Paper Wings is the story of one woman’s struggle to survive against an invisible illness, and her continued fight for an identity, self-esteem and a future.
From personal experience of many blood tests over the years I now ask for a printout of the results and go through them with my doctor.
For years I was told that ‘everything’s fine, within the range’! Don’t just accept that because I have found, especially, re Vitamin levels, the range is far too low. I asked the doctor how the range is chosen and she said it’s an average of the general population. I replied ‘But most people seem to be sick’! She agreed.
I asked about Sodium on the printout and was told that it was low and that I can take more salt. Wasn’t she going to tell me that? I had to ask!
Please take responsibility for your own health. ASK QUESTIONS!
Almost 700 children detained under the Mental Health Act have been put in police cells over the last two years
The Independent.co.uk Tomas Jivanda 26 Jan 2014
Hundreds of potentially unwell children in England and Wales have been placed in police cells after being detained under the Mental Health Act as officers had no place else to take them.
In the first 11 months of 2013, 305 under-18s were detained in cells, with some held for over 24 hours. In 2012 there were 385 such detentions.
The figures were released under the Freedom of Information Act following a request by BBC Radio 4’s the World This Weekend. The BBC first uncovered the practice of locking children suspected of being mentally ill in cells in 2012.
Under the Mental Health Act, police have the power to take anyone they suspect to be mentally ill and a potential danger to themselves or others to a “place of safety” where they can be assessed by a doctor.
Although for children, this can usually refer to an adolescent psychiatric unit or children’s home, it can also mean a police station.
Sarah Brennan, chief executive of charity Young Minds told the BBC that it is a “terrible indictment” that the practice was still ongoing two years after it was first reported.
“[Children and young people] need to have appropriate care in the appropriate setting and that should never be a police cell when they have mental health problems,” she said.
The Department of Health said it has two trial schemes aimed at solving the issue. A “street triage” programme sees mental health nurses out on patrol with the police, while funding had been made available to base mental health workers in police stations and courts.
The moves have been welcomed by The Association of Chief Police Officers, but their mental health spokesman said more must be done.
“We were in a position where there was every day at least one young person statistically taken to a police cell,” Chief Constable Simon Cole told the BBC.
“We’re now down to less than one person a day as an average. Has it changed quickly enough and significantly enough? No it hasn’t, and I want that change to be quicker.
“I’m a father myself and the thought that either of my kids were ill and that they finished up in a police cell, I regard as abhorrent.”
Last year was the worst year of my life physically; which meant mentally and emotionally also. Without going into all the details, I could not walk far without breathlessness and terrible muscle fatigue in my legs. If I didn’t drive I would have needed a Gopher (disability scooter) to get to my local shopping centre.
I was diagnosed with Peripheral Neuropathy many years ago and this meant that the nerves in my feet and legs were dying off, causing a strange sensation and numbness in my feet. They would burn, especially when resting and in bed. My balance was affected and, even though I am getting old, felt much, much older! This was depressing but what I found frustrating was that I didn’t know the cause. I was told it was caused through Diabetes, which I don’t have, or a vitamin deficiency, which, according to the MANY blood tests, I didn’t have.
A few weeks ago I was sent a note via my daughter telling me to read a Kindle Book called ‘Could It Be B12?’ This has changed my life! It’s frightening to read because it tells of the many people suffering from things like MS and Alzheimers etc. only to find that the actual problem was a lack of B12!
After 4 days of taking 3000mg a day of B12 I mopped my hallway and couldn’t believe that I was not out of breath, I felt normal! No muscle fatigue or exhaustion. This was mindblowing! I feel as if I’ve been BORN AGAIN and want everyone to read this book. Below are some extracts, hopefully they will help you or someone you know.
Could It Be B12? Pacholok, Sally M.; Jeffrey J. Stuart (2011-01-26). Could It Be B12?: An Epidemic of Misdiagnoses (pp. 2-3). Linden Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Ch. 1 An Invisible Epidemic
A silent crippler stalks millions of Americans—and you may be one of them.
This crippler is a master of masquerade, striking different people in different ways. It afflicts one person with tremors, makes another depressed or psychotic, and causes agonizing leg and arm pains or paralysis in still another. It can mimic Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, early Parkinson’s disease, diabetic neuropathy, or chronic fatigue syndrome. It can make both men and women infertile, or cause developmental disabilities in their children. Other times, it lurks silently, stealthily increasing its victims’ risk of deadly diseases, ranging from strokes and heart attacks to cancer.
This medical disorder stems from a vitamin deficiency, but your standard multivitamin pill won’t prevent it in many cases, and even some higher-dose oral formulas of this vitamin may not help. It’s considered an “old people’s disease” by doctors, but it can strike any person at any age, and it sometimes hits children the hardest. The disorder I’ve described is vitamin B12 deficiency. If you develop this deficiency, it’s easy to spot, easy to treat, and easy to cure—but only if your doctor diagnoses you before it’s too late. Unfortunately, that frequently doesn’t happen.
WHO ARE THE VICTIMS OF B12 DEFICIENCY? The cases we’ll describe in the pages of this book involve people of every age and from every walk of life: babies, children, young men and women, middle-aged people, and senior citizens.
Among them are the following:
• A thirty-five-year-old man who starts wetting himself, and who can no longer walk steadily or grip with his hands.
• An eight-month-old baby who loses her speech, stops responding to her parents, and eventually can’t even sit up by herself.
• A twenty-year-old woman who becomes severely depressed and who attempts to kill herself.
• A grandfather transformed, in three months, from a healthy jogger into a depressed, confused man, diagnosed with senile dementia.
• A two-year-old child who exhibits severe developmental delay and is diagnosed with autism. All of these very different patients have one thing in common: Their doctors have failed to properly diagnose them.
All of these very different patients have one thing in common: Their doctors have failed to properly diagnose them.
• A young woman unable to conceive a baby.
• A fifty-four-year-old woman experiencing paranoid delusions and violent outbursts, coupled with symptoms that her doctor diagnoses as multiple sclerosis.
• An eighty-year-old man who develops balance problems, falls, and fractures his hip.
• A ballet dancer who undergoes cosmetic surgery and ends up nearly unable to walk.
• A middle-aged woman accused by her doctors of being an alcoholic and a “drug seeker” when she complains of intense, chronic back and leg pain.
• A seventy-eight-year-old with foot and leg numbness diagnosed as incurable diabetic neuropathy.
• A senior citizen whose doctors attribute his repeated falls to “mini-strokes.”
All of these very different patients have one thing in common: Their doctors have failed to properly diagnose them. They’ve been labelled with a dozen different disorders, ranging from incurable diseases to hypochondria, but in reality, they all suffer from the same medical condition: vitamin B12 deficiency.
This isn’t a new or fad disease. In fact, you’ll find it listed in the textbooks of any first-year medical student. It’s not a rare disease, either: If you’re over forty, you’re at an elevated risk for dangerous B12 deficiency, and if you’re over sixty, you have up to a 40 percent chance of having potentially dangerous low B12 levels. The lower your serum B12 gets, and the longer you have signs and symptoms, the greater your potential for injury and poor outcomes
Pacholok, Sally M.; Jeffrey J. Stuart (2011-01-26). Could It Be B12?: An Epidemic of Misdiagnoses (p. 2). Linden Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Reality Therapy is the method of counseling that Dr. Glasser has been teaching since 1965. Reality therapy is firmly based on choice theory and its successful application is dependent on a strong understanding of choice theory. Reality therapy training is available to anyone…the first step in learning this tool is to enroll in a Basic Intensive Training.
Since unsatisfactory or non-existent connections with people we need are the source of almost all human problems, the goal of reality therapy is to help people reconnect. To create a connection between people, the reality therapy counselor, teacher or manager will:
Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom, that whatever their complaint, reconnecting is the best possible solution to their problem.
http://www.depression.com.au 05 September 2009
Some warning signs of suicide
If you have strong suicidal thoughts at this time, you may wish to exit this site and get more specific advice on the free site www.suicideprevention.com.au.
Even psychiatrists find it extremely difficult to predict suicide in patients they know to be ill. I believe I was the first doctor to publish the idea that predicting suicide is equivalent to predicting the weather; whatever accuracy one may have for the next 24 hours, it gets progressively less the longer the gap is since the patient last saw the psychiatrist. The weather forecast model of suicide prevention has now been widely publicised by other psychiatrists.
Of people who commit suicide, over seventy per cent have depressive illness, with schizophrenia and alcoholism making up the majority of other cases of suicide.
In depressive illness cases, the only factor that has repeatedly been shown in research to be associated with suicide is a patient’s sense of hopelessness, ie a belief that they will never recover. Accordingly, reassuring a depressed person that they will in fact recover is a vital part of reducing the suicide risk.
Other factors in depressive illness that seem to be associated with an extreme risk of suicide are severe problems sleeping (there is perhaps nothing worse than lying awake in a state of great distress while everyone else sleeps), being very anxious and agitated, and being too unmotivated as a result of depression to care for one’s self properly. People who experience panic attacks, in which they become terrified they are going to die or some catastrophe is going to happen, have an increased risk of suicide.
For those having treatment for depressive illness, the early stages of recovery are in many ways the most dangerous! At this stage, the patient is still suffering considerably, but is now mentally more focussed, and therefore more able to organise his or her suicide. Although everyone is relieved when a depressed patient starts to show signs of recovery, great care is needed for the next few weeks, until the recovery is well established, and the emotional pain has subsided. Similarly, the first few weeks after discharge from hospital for treatment of depression is a period of increased risk of suicide, as the person is again confronted with the remaining symptoms of their illness and the pressures of their normal lives.
Drinking heavily or smoking a lot of marijuana while depressed increases the risk of an impulsive self- destructive act.
A previous suicide attempt is an extremely serious warning sign in people with depressive illness. While one in a thousand people will die from suicide, this risk is multiplied by ten in the first 12 months after an individual has carried out a self destructive act which did not end in death.
Emotional aloneness markedly increases the risk of suicide. Therefore, if you lose patience with a person who is very depressed, they may well feel the loss of your support is the final straw, which pushes them to attempt suicide.
Depressed people giving presents to others at an unexpected time, and especially young people parting with personally important possessions, are considered warning signs of impending suicide.
Finally, it must be kept in mind that depressive illness can be fatal if untreated, and a relatively minor problem if treated, but predicting who will attempt suicide, or who will be successful in committing suicide, is extremely difficult, even for professionals.
Important Disclaimer: This site is medical information only, and is not to be taken as diagnosis, advice or treatment, which can only be decided by your own doctor.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/ 25 August 2011
A NATIONAL survey has painted an “unsatisfactory picture” on how mental illness is managed in the workplace, the charity Sane Australia says.
The survey, Australia’s Working life and mental illness, by the national mental health charity Sane found that 95 per cent of the 520 respondents thought employers and managers needed education on mental illness and how to manage its effects in the workplace.
While more than 60 per cent said their mental illness had not been a barrier when finding a job, the majority said that no support had been provided to them once they were in the workplace.
“The survey paints a concerning and unsatisfactory picture of Australian workplaces,” SANE Australia’s Executive Director, Barbara Hocking said in a statement today.
“Many employees, including those who care for a family member with a mental illness, are being disadvantaged by a lack of flexibility, such as being able to work part-time, to work from home at times or to have adjustments made in the workplace,” she said.
“As a result, businesses lose experienced employees and have to spend time and money investing in new people.”
But there was good news.
According to the survey, two thirds of people reported to have disclosed their illness to their employer or manager.
Woman who killed son and tried to kill his brother found mentally ill
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/ Court Reporter Hannah Silverman 19 July 2011
A “GROSS inadequacy” in SA’s health system failed the families of three women who killed family members because of mental incompetence, experts say.
A Kensington Gardens mother yesterday became the third woman in the past month to be found not guilty of killing a family member due to mental incompetence.
Two weeks ago, schizophrenic Vicky Lee Wagner began life detention for fatally attacking her mother, Joyce Brown, with a knife. Last month, Beverley Eitzen was spared a murder conviction after stabbing her son during a “major depressive episode”.
Law Society SA president Ralph Bonig said more needed to be done to prevent similar cases presenting before the courts.
“What these cases highlight is the gross inadequacy in the treatment and supervision of our mental health patients,” he said. “Why did they commit these crimes? Is it because they were not receiving adequate treatment or that there were no inpatient facilities available where they could have been adequately housed?”
The Kensington Gardens mother, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to murdering her son, four, and trying to kill his brother, nine, in a murder-suicide attempt in August 2009.
Yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Margaret Nyland said the woman was not sane when she drugged herself and her two children. “These acts were not committed out of any animosity towards her children … (she) actually wanted to kill herself,” she said.
Under state law, persons found not guilty of a crime by reason of mental incompetence receive a limiting term – a period under mental health supervision equal to the sentence that a healthy person would receive.
Mr Bonig said the three cases should act as a reminder of the need for preventive mental health measures.
“The sad story behind this is we’ve had three within six weeks, which raises real significant concerns about the identification and treatment of mental health patients,” he said.
Mr Bonig said that, through the Coroner’s Court, the state had heard repeated calls for improvement in the mental health system “with what appears to be no substantive response”.
“With the substantial amount of money … allocated to mental health, it is now time for us to see this applied in a manner that reduces the potential for these sad and unfortunate outcomes,” he said.
Australian Medical Association SA former president Peter Ford said all mental health services were under pressure. “The AMA does have concern that access to acute mental health beds is always under pressure and we have concerns about that capacity, certainly in (secure mental health facility) James Nash House, for example,” he said.
“We’re pleased that there has been a Budget provision for increasing the number of the beds from 40 to 60 in James Nash House. That’s been a long-standing requirement that has not been fulfilled. All people who have contact with the mental health sector find it’s under pressure.”
SA Health acting executive director of operations Derek Wright said mental health services could only assess and treat those individuals identified as needing the services.
“It must be remembered that 20 per cent of the population in any year are identified as having mental health issues, most of which can be treated in primary care,” he said.
“These are tragic cases and the Government is committed to the mental health reform agenda.”
He said the mental health system was in the middle of a major reform following the review by the Social Inclusion Unit.
UniSA chair of mental health nursing Professor Nicholas Procter said generally people with a mental illness who committed a crime were rare. “They’re more likely to be a victim of a crime than the perpetrator,” he said.
“Some speculation is that those victims of crime are victims because of their own vulnerability.
“(These three cases) might be a statistical phenomena where three things happen close together but it should be seen as something that we should all take notice of.”
Prof Procter said de-stigmatising mental health and early prevention was needed to avoid significant mental health issues.