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Bipolar News

September 20, 2005

Note: One or more of the following articles may require a subscription to view the entire article.  We cannot post articles that require a subscription.  We are sorry for the inconvenience.

bipolar disorder "Social rhythm" therapy seems to help stem ...
Evansville Courier & Press (subscription) - Evansville,IN,USA
THE QUESTION The manic-depressive episodes of bipolar disorder are often treated with mood-stabilizing drugs. Might psychotherapy ...

Mental-health system blasted
Seattle Post Intelligencer - USA
... But a psychiatrist from Rogue Valley Medical Center's psychiatric unit said Jay Safley, who suffered from bipolar disorder, was "absolutely not psychotic" when ...

Bipolar Disorder Victims Lead Violent Lives
The Ledger - Lakeland,FL,USA
... could control him," said Watson, whose family heard a litany of incorrect diagnoses until finally, when her son was 8, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. ...

Govt urged to improve mental health services for children
Read more here.

Katrina Survivors at Risk, Mental Health Counseling Needs May Be Extensive, Officials Say

Although some symptoms of mental health disorders may be expected in the aftermath of disasters, the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, especially those from the New Orleans area, faced multiple traumas, which is bound to compound their problems, experts say. Mental health clinic staff in Baton Rouge, where many New Orleans residents relocated, said they are experiencing a surge in requests for help. In addition, many people who already had mental illnesses or substance abuse problems went for days without any treatment. The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded $600,000 in grants to mental health programs in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. (The Wall Street Journal, 9/18/05)

SAMHSA officials project that as many as one-third of people who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina may need the help of mental health professionals due to stress-related psychological disorders. One reason for such a high projection, according to Carol North, a trauma expert at St. Louis’ Washington University School of Medicine, is the prolonged nature of the aftermath of Katrina. "Disasters that are over with quickly have less psychopathology than disasters that have repeated or chronic exposures,” North said. Such stress can also have substantial effects on individuals’ physical health, according to Salt Lake City psychologist Sam Goldstein. (USA Today/Intelihealth, 9/14/05)

Officials Focus on Medicaid to Provide Services to Katrina Victims

Although most officials at all levels of government are increasingly seeing Medicaid as the program through which Hurricane Katrina victims can receive health insurance coverage, how that coverage is provided and who pays for it are becoming significant questions to be debated. Some less contentious efforts include attempts by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to simplify enrollment and other procedural issues and a possible Senate bill to increase Medicaid funding to affected states. A point of contention, however, is a proposal that is supported by many in Congress but has received a cool reception by Bush administration officials and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is to make services through Medicaid available to any victim of the hurricane, regardless of income, for six months. (The Wall Street Journal, 9/14/05)

Medicare Premiums to Rise

Monthly Medicare Part B premiums are expected to increase from $78.20 this year to $88.50 in 2006 – a 13 percent jump -- due to increased use of physician and other outpatient services, according to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This increase will be in addition to the cost of the new prescription drug benefit, for those who enroll, a premium which is expected to cost on average $32.20 per month, although government assistance is available for people with low incomes. (The Wall Street Journal, 9/17/05)

Cyberonics Attempts to Receive Insurance Coverage for Depression-Treatment Device

Cyberonics is trying to convince the BlueCross BlueShield Association and other large insurance companies to provide coverage for Cyberonics’ implantable vagus nerve stimulation device for the treatment of depression. The BlueCross BlueShield Association’s Technology Evaluation Center (TEC), which makes recommendations on which devices the association should cover, gave the device a negative review based on what Cyberonics says is old data. In its recommendation, TEC criticized the way Cyberonics had conducted its clinical trials. (Dow Jones Newswires, 9/14/05)

Irish Physicians Group Calls for Major Reforms in Children’s Mental Health Services

The Irish College of Physicians last week called for major reforms in Ireland’s system of delivery of mental health services for children. The organization noted that the portion of the country’s overall health budget dedicated to children’s mental health services fell from 11 percent in 1997 to under 7 percent in 2003. Many children in need of such services have to be sent to other countries due to the lack of services, the group contends. (Ireland Online, 9/19/05)

Latest Research

Private Insurance Coverage Better Ticket to Urgent Follow-up Care Than Medicaid, Study Finds: People who have Medicaid coverage are much less likely to have urgently-needed follow up care after receiving emergency room treatment than are people who have private health insurance coverage, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates. Only 28 percent of the clinics contacted by graduate students who posed as people seeking urgent follow-up care asked about the students’ health status while 98 percent inquired about their insurance coverage. The inequity indicated by the study’s results “is a disgrace,” according to the American Hospital Association’s Carmela Coyle. (The Associated Press, 9/13/05)

Pharmaceutical News

Adults Using ADHD Drugs at an Increasing Rate: For the first time, the use of prescription drugs to treat ADHD is rising faster among adults than among children, according to Medco Health Solutions, Inc., a pharmacy benefit management company. The rate doubled to 1.5 million among adults ages 20-44 between 2000 and 2004 while it only increased 56 percent among children. One reason for the large increase in adult use of the drugs may be due to advertising to parents who realize that they have the same symptoms as their children. This finding may help dispel the notion that children grow out of their ADHD when the become adults, experts say. (The Associated Press, 9/15/05)

Parkinson’s Drug Appears Effective in Staving Off Antipsychotic-Associated Weight Gain: The drug amantadine, which is used to treat Parkinson’s disease and influenza, may be effective in stabilizing weight gain in people who take the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa, University of North Carolina researchers report. The mechanism by which amantadine stabilizes weight is unknown, the researchers report, but they note that prevention of weight gain due to antipsychotic use is essential for individuals’ physical health. The researchers study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. (Reuters Health, 9/16/05)

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