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October 15, 2005
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Breakthrough -- Relieving Bipolar Depression
disorder treatment needs
Announces Scholarship Recipients for Those Battling Severe ...
US Supreme Court Declines To Hear Appeal Over Patent Dispute for Pfizer's Antidepressant Zoloft Click here for more.
Fast-Dissolving Antidepressant, Remeron SolTabR, Enhances Compliance in 50% Of Patients Click here for more.
Healthcare Costs Expected to Continue to Rise, But Not as Fast
Employers should expect healthcare costs to increase by 9.9 percent on average next year, one of the smallest increases in recent years, a Hewitt Associates survey of major health plans indicates. Although the 2006 figure is higher than this year's increase of 9.2 percent, it's down significantly from 2002 and 2003, when rates increased by about 15 percent each year. The smaller increases can be attributed to increased consumer awareness, consolidation of health plans and reduced inflationary pressures. (Reuters Health, 10/10/05)
Army Mental Health Screening Program Limited by Lack of Psychiatrists, Stigma
Although the Army recently added a second mental health assessment for returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan months after they return home, the success of these assessments is being limited by a lack of psychiatrists to provide follow-up care. Previously, the Army provided mental health assessments to soldiers only immediately upon their return home. An Army study showed, however, that troops were seven times less likely to report symptoms of mental health disorders just after coming home than four months later. Stigma also continues to play a role in the reluctance of soldiers and veterans in seeking care. (The Wall Street Journal, 10/6/05)
Parents Can Help Children Cope With Katrina Aftermath
Although most children who were directly affected by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath will not develop PTSD, it 'does not mean they will not have difficulty, it does not mean they will not need help," said psychologist Robin Gurwitch, a member of the American Psychological Association's disaster response network. More likely is that many children will develop symptoms of anxiety and stress, said Mississippi psychologist Robert Sevier. Parents can help children cope with the disaster by providing kids with a 'comforting" routine, keeping a positive outlook and limiting how much television their children watch. (The Associated Press, 10/10/05)
CMS Provides Warnings of Fraud in New Medicare Drug Program
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded contracts to eight companies to help the agency detect fraudulent activities regarding the new Medicare drug benefit program. CMS Administrator Mark McClellan said such activities have already sprung up, although in limited areas. CMS officials said that older adults and people who have disabilities should know that a person working on behalf of a private health plan who is trying to enroll someone can't come to that person's door uninvited, that no one can ask a person to enroll before Nov. 15, and that beneficiaries should not reveal personal information in response to unsolicited telephone calls and similar marketing activities. (Dow Jones Newswires, 10/7/05)
Medicare Handbook Contains Error
The official handbook that explains the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, which has been sent to all Medicare enrollees, has an error. CMS officials noted that the booklet lists all of the plans that have been approved for people with low income and limited assets [those who qualify for the Extra Help program] as having no premium; however, only 40 percent of these plans will have no premium for low income individuals [who receive Extra Help]. Instead of sending out a correction to all enrollees, CMS will work with private groups to educate the public about the error. Inadequate proofreading is cited as the cause of the error. (The Associated Press, 10/7/05)
California: While the number of teens and younger adults in the state who have died as a result of drug overdoses declined slightly between 1990 and 2003, the number of adults older than 40 who died of drug overdoses surged by about 73 percent during the same time period, according to state statistics. The increase in older people with drug programs has caught off-guard many prevention programs, which are usually geared toward younger people. Many of the older adults who overdosed had begun using drugs in their teens and 20s, said an epidemiologist, resulting in being more susceptible to overdose deaths as a result of poor health. (Los Angeles Times , 10/10/05)
Illinois: Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a bill into law last week that would provide health insurance coverage for the 253,000 children in the state who lack such coverage. The children's parents, who earn too much to qualify for other state programs but not enough to afford insurance on their own, will pay adjusted rates for coverage based on their income. The state will pay the difference between this amount and the actual cost, the governor said. The state expects to save money through preventative care to reduce emergency services. The program will include prescription drug coverage and mental health services. (The New York Times, 10/7/05)
U.S. woman sentenced to 10 years for scalping teen
AP Worldstream; 10/15/2005; REBECCA BOONE, Associated Press Writer
Dateline: IDAHO CITY, Idaho
District Judge Kathryn Sticklen on Friday ordered Marianne Dahle, 27, to serve at least four years before she will be eligible for parole. Sticklen said she had little confidence that Dahle would seek psychiatric help and avoid harming society on her own.
The January attack left the victim, a 16-year-old identified only as Sheila, physically and emotionally scarred, prosecuting attorney Theresa Gardunia said.
The teen was too afraid of Dahle to read a statement at sentencing, Gardunia said. The girl has undergone several surgeries and will need more, she said.
Dahle fidgeted with a Bible and looked at a picture of her young son during the proceedings. She sobbed when she was given a chance to speak.
"I had something that I wanted to say to Sheila, but she's not here," Dahle said. "I pray for her. I have a hard time sleeping at night because when I close my eyes, all I see is the horror of that night."
Defense attorney Kathy Edwards said Dahle suffers from bipolar disorder and was not taking her medication at the time of the attack.
Sheila had been hanging out with Dahle and a punk clique and was given a mohawk haircut when the others decided she was worthy, Edwards said. When they found out she made up a story that she had been raped, the group decided Sheila could no longer wear the mohawk. Dahle was given a dull knife to remove it, Edwards said.
"She didn't even realize until she was done the extent of the horrible injury on the person," Edwards said. "She insisted they take the victim to the hospital, and Mary sat with the victim the entire way to the hospital, with her shirt trying to stop the bleeding."
Gardunia offered another version of the events.
She said Dahle and another woman lured Sheila to a remote area, bound her with rope and duct tape and at one point held her under water. Then Dahle decided to give her the "haircut," she said.
"She cut off approximately a 6- by 8-inch (15.2 to 20.3 centimeters) section of her scalp," Gardunia said. "This was not an accident."
Copyright 2005, AP News All Rights Reserved
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The Warning Signs Of An Impending Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode
Bipolar disorder - as the name implies - involves two distinct set of symptoms. One set throws the individual down into the depths of a massive depression. The other places the individual who suffers with bipolar disorder at the top of a peak manic episode.
Most everyone can eventually recognize the warning signs of an impending depressive episode related to bipolar disorder. More likely than not, individuals with bipolar disorder try very hard to avoid it.
However, for many individuals with bipolar disorder, it's more difficult to recognize the signs of an impending manic episode. After all, a manic episode of bipolar disorder can be mistaken in some cases - especially in the very early formation -- for the lifting of the corresponding mood swing of the depression.
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