Bipolar News

May 20, 2005

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Seroquel: Study Review Supports Benefits in Bipolar Mania
PharmaLive.com (press release) - Newtown,PA,USA
placebo in bipolar mania: Superior efficacy: Data demonstrate superior efficacy of Seroquel monotherapy vs. placebo in the treatment ...

Police Chase Man on Stolen Backhoe
WPVI - Philadelphia,PA,USA
... She told The New Jersey Herald of Newton that her son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia six months ago but was not taking medication ...

Bipolar Disorder: A Cycle of Highs and Lows
CBS 5 - San Francisco,CA,USA
(CBS 5) Jane Pauley and Carrie Fisher are just some of the celebrities who suffer from what's known as bipolar disorder -- an illness that sends people to ...

FDA rejects J&J's Risperdal autism drug
BusinessWeek - USA
... proceed. Risperdal, first approved by the FDA in 1993, is indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The ...

Administration to Create Medicaid Reform Panel

The Bush administration announced last week that it will create a new advisory panel that will suggest “big” changes to the Medicaid program. To start, the panel will recommend by Sept 1 . ways to cut $10 billion in expenses from the program, after which it will make long-term reform recommendations by Dec. 31, 2006. Voting members of the panel will be appointed by Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, who reportedly rejected a congressional suggestion that he create a bipartisan Medicaid-reform commission under the National Academy of Sciences’ auspices. (Dow Jones Newswires/The New York Times, 5/12/05)

Public Citizen Urges FDA to Reject Depression Treatment Implant

The consumer group Public Citizen sent the FDA a letter urging the agency to not approve an implantable device to treat depression. Last summer, a FDA panel recommended that the agency approve the device for treatment-resistant depression, but the agency temporarily rejected it pending submission and review of new safety data, which the company that created the device has since submitted. The Public Citizen letter criticized the new data and raised concerns about the effectiveness of the device. The company’s chief executive, Robert P. "Skip" Cummins, wouldn’t comment on the letter, but said that the FDA has all the data now to make a final decision. (The Wall Street Journal, 5/11/05)

Some Adults With ADHD Find Continuing With Their Treatment Is a Benefit

Many adults who were diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder when they were children are finding that their disorder may be a lifelong condition. As a result, some adults who stopped taking their ADHD medication when they entered the workforce have obtained new prescriptions so that they can perform in their jobs. Most experts agree, however, that adults shouldn’t rely only on medication to treat the disorder, but should also consider psychotherapy and lifestyle changes. (The Associated Press, 5/10/05)

Research

Exercise Complements Other Depression Therapies: Several recent studies suggest that exercise can be effective as a complement to other therapies in relieving the symptoms of depression among some people, experts say. Despite the effectiveness of exercise, however, many mental health professionals aren’t trained to monitor how exercise affects their patients, even those who are aware of the research. As a sign that exercise may be gaining acceptance, the American Psychiatric Association recently created a panel to help explore the role of alternative therapies – including exercise – in psychiatry. (The Wall Street Journal, 5/10/05)

Americans Link Rise in Children’s Mental Disorders to Increased Awareness: Most Americans attribute the recent increase in children’s mental health disorders diagnoses to physicians’ improved ability to recognize and diagnose such disorders, a new Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive Survey indicates. Parents’ increased willingness to talk to physicians about their children’s mental health is also linked to higher rates of mental disorders, Americans believe. A majority of Americans feel, however, that physicians often go “overboard” in prescribing medications used in treating these disorders, especially for ADHD. (WSJ.com, 5/10/05)

Treating Depression Doesn’t Alleviate Children’s Weight Problems: Although there’s some question about whether childhood depression leads to childhood obesity or obesity leads to depression, many experts agree that by just treating the depression of a child who is obese won’t necessarily help with his or her weight problem. Most children are faced with daily pressures, such as television advertising, that often makes eating healthy, nutritious food difficult. Many schools are also cutting back on physical education classes. (Intellihealth/New York Times, 5/9/05)

State News

Arkansas: Mental health treatment services in northwest Arkansas are doing relatively well, according to David Williams, Ph.D., the president and CEO of the Ozark Guidance Center in Springdale. His center, for example, has received authorization to spend $450,000 to renovate space in a former general hospital to provide 16 additional inpatient beds. Despite the success in treating mental illnesses, much more can be done in preventing them, according to Williams, who noted that demand for his center’s services often outstrips supply. One area in particular he notes that needs increased attention is the effects of stress on individuals’ mental and physical health. (Northwest Arkansas Times, 5/16/05)

STATE NEGLECTS SEVERELY MENTALLY ILL

Denver Rocky Mountain News; 5/15/2005; Stephanie Allard

It's high time for Coloradans and the Colorado media to realize the real status of mental health care for the severely mentally ill in our state.
1. Unless a person demonstrates that he (or she) is an immediate danger to himself (herself) or others in front of an official, no health or law enforcement personnel will do anything. Not even a signed and notarized statement detailing incidents will result in any preventive action.

2. There is a third criterion for treatment (besides danger to self and others) in the state of Colorado. That criterion is "gravely disabled," meaning that the person is in danger of serious physical harm due to his illness (see Colorado Revised Statutes 27-10-102.(5)(a)(I) ; www.psychlaws.org/Legal Resources/StateLaws/Colorado statute.htm). However, because of Colorado's financial problems, that criterion is ignored by law enforcement and mental health professionals alike. This is not a supposition - I have heard this from the professionals.
3. Because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 regarding privacy in the health-care industry (the HIPAA law), no family members have any knowledge as to whether the person with a mental illness is still taking his medication, or whether he is even meeting with a mental health professional. There is absolutely no way to facilitate a return to treatment before the symptoms get so severe that rational thought is impossible.
4. SSI or SSDI (Social Security) should be an option for a person with a severe mental illness. However, in at least one case in Colorado, the staff at the local office refused even to provide an application. Many people suffering from mental illness are completely without funds. This leads to homelessness and criminal activities like stealing food.
5. One percent of the population suffers from schizophrenia. One percent of the population suffers from bipolar disorder. Add suffering family members to that number, and you will easily find 4 percent to 5 percent of the population severely affected by the major mental illnesses. Add the bystanders, and it easily becomes a problem for a significant portion of the population.
Why is it important to get these facts out now? Perhaps because I am tired of hearing the "survivors" damned by the media when a tragedy occurs. I'm tired of the selfishness that continues the Taxpayer's Bill of Right and dedicates the state's paltry revenues to more frivolous causes than saving lives. Perhaps it's because I know someone with a major mental illness and there is not a damn thing I can do to get that person into treatment. I want it on record now: I've tried every means at my disposal, and will continue to do so, even though every door is closed. Perhaps someday, somehow, someone will act.

Copyright 2005, Denver Publishing Co.

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