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Bipolar News

November 24, 2005

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Patient pleads not guilty in mental hospital slaying
San Jose Mercury News - CA, USA
... Pavon has a history of bipolar disorder and was taken to the psychiatric hospital a day earlier after San Leandro police determined she was a danger to herself ...

Defense: Man accused of killing police officer has mental illness
Gainesville Sun - Gainesville,FL,USA
... filed Tuesday, Deputy Public Defender Walter Smith said Bailey suffers from a list of mental illnesses including severe memory disorder, bipolar disorder and ...

$24M swindle brings 32 years
Arizona Daily Star Thu, 24 Nov 2005 2:33 AM PST
A Tucson woman who bilked $24 million from hundreds of investors was sentenced Wednesday to nearly 32 years in prison. Judge Christopher Browning of Pima County Superior Court lambasted Maryanne

Homeless no more
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Wed, 23 Nov 2005 10:14 PM PST
Joseph Michael Koski, 34, began making the balloon animals 10 years ago, long before the disease seized control of his brain and long before he left his family and began living in the old van near South Broadway.

Doctor: Mother driven to kill By Brett Nauman
Pantagraph Wed, 23 Nov 2005 10:14 PM PST
BLOOMINGTON -- A psychiatrist said a Normal woman accused of murdering her infant son told him she "couldn't stop hitting him" after the boy's crying woke her in the middle of the night earlier this year.

Generic Forms of Janssen's Risperdal and Pfizer's Geodon Not Expected to Increase Prescribing Habits in Antipsychotic Drug Market.

PR Newswire; 11/22/2005

Many HMOs Will Remove Branded Drugs from Formularies Following Launch of Generics, According to a New Report from Decision Resources

WALTHAM, Mass., Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources, Inc., one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and health care issues, finds that less than one-third of primary care physicians (PCPs) and psychiatrists expect the launch of generic forms of Janssen's Risperdal (risperidone) and Pfizer's Geodon (ziprasidone) to increase the overall number of prescriptions written for antipsychotic drugs following the patent expiries of these two therapies in 2007. Antipsychotic drugs are used both on- and off- label to treat a number of diseases including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and dementia.

The new PhysicianForum primary market research report Antipsychotics: Current Prescription Patterns and the Impact of Patent Expiries also finds that many health maintenance organizations will no longer include branded versions of risperidone and ziprasidone in their product formularies following the launch of generic forms of these drugs.

"Although physicians do not plan to increase the number of antipsychotics prescriptions they write, 20% to 50% of PCPs and psychiatrists say they are more likely to prescribe risperidone and ziprasidone when they are available as a generic than they were prior to generic availability," said Michelle Grady, director at Decision Resources, Inc.

Antipsychotics: Current Prescription Patterns and the Impact of Patent Expiries is based on a U.S. survey of 21 HMO pharmacy and medical directors, 73 psychiatrists, and 70 primary care physicians. Their responses were compared to assess similarities and differences of opinion regarding clinical, economic, and scientific factors.

About PhysicianForum

PhysicianForum is a primary research service from Decision Resources that offers access to high-volume-prescribing PCPs, specialists, and managed care organization representatives in the United States. PhysicianForum offers analysis of events and survey participants' responses to them; insight into prescribing patterns; and an examination of the implications of events and issues for the pharmaceutical market.

About Decision Resources

Decision Resources, Inc., ( is a world leader in market research publications, advisory services, and consulting designed to help clients shape strategy, allocate resources, and master their chosen markets.

All company, brand, or product names contained in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Marshall
Decision Resources, Inc.

CONTACT: Elizabeth Marshall of Decision Resources, Inc., +1-781-296-2563,

Web site:

COPYRIGHT 2005 PR Newswire Association LLC

Those winter blahs may be case of SAD.

The News & Record (Piedmont Triad, NC); 11/22/2005; Taylor, Nicole

Do you seem to have the winter blues every year? Maybe it's more than just the blues. You could possibly suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

SAD affects up to 10 percent of Americans. People with this disorder suffer from repeated episodes of depression in the fall and winter, usually beginning around October and ending in early spring around March.

These depressive episodes cannot be simply explained by significant stressors in the person's life. Symptoms of SAD include decreased activity, sadness and anxiety, decreased sex drive, difficulty concentrating and withdrawal from friends and family. People with SAD are tired and want to stay in bed, often oversleeping. They may also experience an increased appetite, with carbohydrate craving. That is, they want to eat more "junk food" such as potato chips, cake and cookies. This usually results in weight gain during the winter.

These symptoms do not all appear at once, but seem to get worse as the days get shorter. These symptoms seem to get better if people travel closer to the equator. For instance, if they take a trip south in the winter, symptoms seem to improve.

SAD affects women in childbearing years more commonly than men, and usually begins around the late twenties. Many people who meet the criteria for SAD also have family members who suffer from depression, bipolar disorder or substance abuse.

The true cause of SAD is unknown but we think it is related to the varying levels of certain hormones in the brain that occur throughout the year. The most important of these hormones seems to be serotonin, which is low in the winter. Another theory is that circadian rhythms, our biological clocks, are disturbed in the winter due to regulation by a hormone called melatonin.

Light therapy has been found to be useful in the treatment of SAD. In this type of therapy, patients sit in front of fluorescent lights for a certain amount of time, usually in the morning. It is not a special type of light, but it has a certain intensity that has been proven to change moods.

The other important factor is how far away you are from the light source. You cannot get the effect by changing the lights in your household. It is not the same as the bright lights of a tanning bed, which actually could be harmful to your eyes due to the ultraviolet rays. Furthermore, the effect occurs through the eyes and not the skin.

It usually takes one to three weeks of light therapy before a person gets a response. Light therapy helps about two-thirds of people get better. Side effects of light therapy include headaches, feeling "wired," eyestrain and nausea or dizziness. These side effects usually occur at the onset of treatment and get better as the person gets used to the light.

There is no evidence of long-term side effects such as eye damage from using light therapy. People who have certain eye diseases or take certain medications that make you sensitive to light should not try light therapy. Generally, a person with SAD needs to start light therapy one to two weeks prior to the usual onset of symptoms and continue the therapy for the duration of the winter.

Antidepressant therapy has also been found to be useful in the treatment of SAD. Studies that have compared light therapy to antidepressant therapy have found that both work well long-term, but people exposed to the light therapy seemed to get better faster (within one week instead of a couple of weeks).

The side effects of antidepressant therapy can include headaches, upset stomach and sexual dysfunction. Considerations when deciding between the two types of therapy include any contra-indications (i.e. other medical conditions), side effects, convenience and cost. The upfront cost of a light box is about $150 to $300 and may not be covered by insurance like some medications. The cost of a light box is about equal to one season's worth of the cost of an antidepressant, but a light box can be used over and over again each year.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common problem that is often not diagnosed or treated correctly. If you feel that you may suffer from SAD, please discuss it with your physician who can help you explore treatment options. If you are interested in an evaluation at Regional Psychiatric Associates, please call 878-6226 for an appointment.

Nicole Taylor, MD, adult psychiatrist, is with Regional Psychiatric Associates, High Point Regional Health System. For more on this topic tune in to "Regional Health Talk" today at 8 a.m. on WMFR (1230 AM). To suggest a column topic, call 878-6200 or write to

COPYRIGHT 2005 News & Record

A halt in meds led to suicide

The Record (Bergen County, NJ); 11/22/2005; TOM DAVIS

A halt in meds led to suicide -- Health pro fell into manic state TOM DAVIS Date: 11-22-2005, Tuesday Section: HEALTH Edtion: All Editions Column: COPING

You'd think the last candidate for suicide would be a psychologist.

But psychologists say: Never underestimate the power of mental illness.

Ask Judy Eron, a clinical social worker and singer-songwriter. Her husband, Jim, was a licensed psychologist who killed himself a decade ago after he abruptly stopped taking lithium.

Shouldn't a psychologist know better?

Eron, who grew up in Millburn, calls it "the question of the ages." The circumstances can be completely benign and harmless, she said.

"We left on our regular summer trip to Washington State, and we were about four hours from home when Jim said, 'I forgot to bring my lithium,'-" Eron said.

"With my acute 20/20 hindsight, clearly we should have just turned around and gone home to get the lithium. But we were immensely ignorant, despite both being mental health professionals."

Once Jim entered the realm of "mania," she said, there was no bringing him back.

Eron recounts her husband's year-long decline and the events leading to his death in "What Goes Up ... Surviving the Manic Episode of a Loved One" (Barricade Books).

Eron, who now lives in Texas, said her book is "what I would have wanted to read then," as she struggled to care for her husband. She considers it a guide for people who care for people who suffer from mental illness.

Mental health professionals have lined up to endorse the book, saying it's a "must-read" for anyone who has a loved one with serious mental illness.

"I have no doubt that her candid description of her experience will be healing to others," said Xavier Amador, a Columbia University professor and a member of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill's board of directors.

But it's also for those who - because of their credentials - may feel as if they're immune.

Brain disorders don't discriminate, mental health professionals say. Psychologists often have to treat other psychologists for mania and other illnesses.

"Mental illness can be biologically inherited. Secondly, it can be learned," said Samuel Shein, a Teaneck psychologist. "If I had a rejecting and abusive parenting, I can end up feeling very, very inadequate and depressed as an adult.

"Patients learn it or inherit it and so do mental health professionals," he added. "We're the same."

While her husband suffered, Eron searched for resources. Although there were many books on depression, only a few dealt with someone who is manic.

"We were so ignorant," she said. "In kindness to myself, I remind myself that almost none of the current books on bipolar had been written in 1996-97, when all this happened."

In the book, Eron talks of her husband's decline with hopelessness. Her many years of experience were useless once Jim was engulfed in his "horrific" state of being.

At that point, Eron said, she and her husband had just read Kay Redfield Jamison's "Unquiet Mind," in which she describes her own manias, with a certain longing.

"It's part of the illness to want to be off meds, to feel that juice," Eron said. "I think that influenced Jim and reminded him of the power of mania."

The Coping column appears every other Tuesday. To suggest topics, write to Tom Davis, The Record, 150 River St., Hackensack, NJ 07601, or e-mail davist@north Please include your phone number with all correspondence.

Copyright ę 2005 Bergen Record Corp. All rights reserved.

If you are in a crisis please call:
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) or
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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