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Bipolar News

December 15, 2005

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Hundreds mourn stabbing death of mom
WFAA (subscription) - Dallas,TX,USA
... Lamar Clay Senior said his son was bipolar and had refused to take his medicine recently. ... Experts said bipolar is a disorder that causes dramatic mood swings. ...

Letter - People with mental illness should seek treatment
Danville Advocate - Danville,KY,USA
... Why are these officers placed in such positions? Mr. Alpizar's wife said her husband was not being treated for his bipolar disorder. ...

Body Of Man Killed By U.S. Air Marshals Buried In Costa Rica Central Florida Wed, 14 Dec 2005 4:49 AM PST
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- The family of a man shot dead by U-S air marshals in Florida last week is still waiting for an explanation from U-S authorities.

Mother claims she killed child because of abuse by 'spirits'
KATU Wed, 14 Dec 2005 7:44 AM PST
EUGENE, Ore. - A Eugene mother has told police she suffocated her baby with her hand to protect her from spirits that had been sexually abusing the

Teens fighting mental illness also fight a stigma
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Tue, 13 Dec 2005 8:44 PM PST
The idea that people with mental illnesses should "just get over it" runs contrary to the medical nature of the disorders, mental health experts say.

Your generosity is bringing smiles, but families' needs are great
Austin American-Statesman Tue, 13 Dec 2005 10:24 PM PST Readers, businesses have come through for families. Pharoah Patterson finally has a crib. The 10-month-old boy, who is terminally ill, had been sleeping with his mother, Darlene Fenceroy, but now is happy in his new bed.

Area welcomes new mental health resources
Bangor Daily News Wed, 14 Dec 2005 6:10 AM PST
nonprofit agency Community Health and Counseling Services on Tuesday celebrated the opening of two new support facilities for Bangor-area
residents with mental health needs.

Man accused of killing mother with crossbow pleads no contest
WPMI 15 Thu, 15 Dec 2005 7:38 AM PST
PALM CITY, Fla. (AP) - A Palm City man accused of killing his mother with a crossbow will be sentenced next month. Bruce Neal has pleaded no contest to second-degree murder. He has a long history of mental illness and describes himself as a "bipolar alcoholic."

LEND-A-HAND: Mother gets help with son's medication
Press & Sun-Bulletin Wed, 14 Dec 2005 11:35 PM PST
A woman resides in Binghamton with her son, who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression and bipolar disorder and is on many medications. She had been out of work for a while and only recently had returned to work.

Give air marshals better training via Yahoo! News Thu, 15 Dec 2005 4:15 AM PST
In the wake of the shooting death of passenger Rigoberto Alpizar by federal marshals at Miami International Airport last week, and as reasons - or excuses - for the case against him mount, I would like to offer a few thoughts in his defense ("Passenger shooting death still under review," News, Friday).

Lawyers Hired for Marshals Who Shot Plane Passenger via Yahoo! Finance Thu, 15 Dec 2005 0:00 AM PST
The U.S. Department of Justice has hired two Zuckerman Spaeder lawyers in Miami to represent the federal air marshals who last week shot and killed a mentally ill man who allegedly said he had a bomb aboard a plane at Miami International Airport.

Love for son eases personal pain
Orlando Sentinel Thu, 15 Dec 2005 3:37 AM PST
The Orlando housing boom never really caught up with Mirelia Rodriguez. Unless you consider an '89 Chrysler a nice home.

Support available for new mothers.

The News & Record (Piedmont Triad, NC); 12/13/2005; Palmer, Cynthia

With all of the publicity given to the conflict between actors Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields about her use of antidepressants, more conversations about postpartum depression have been sparked. We have also heard stories about new mothers who have harmed their children in unspeakable manners.

It is time that we acknowledge the need to help new mothers successfully transition into motherhood in a way that is helpful for them and their new baby.

Sometimes we hear, "It's just the hormones." Yes, the hormone changes during and after pregnancy definitely affect a woman, but these changes may not be the only cause for her difficulty adjusting to her new role as a mother.

"Baby blues" can occur just days after giving birth, and typically dissipate within a few days to a week. A new mother can have feelings of sadness, mood swings, crying spells, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, irritability, anxiety and feelings of loneliness. The symptoms with "baby blues" are not severe, and can be worked through by doing things such as napping when the baby does; asking for help from your spouse, family members and friends; and joining a support group.

Sometimes symptoms can be more difficult. Postpartum depression can occur anytime in the first year after giving birth to your child. A new mother may have a number of symptoms such as sadness, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, feelings of guilt and worthlessness and lack of energy.

Although there is not a direct link, a past history of mental health issues can be an indicator that the woman may experience postpartum depression versus "baby blues." Postpartum depression often affects the well-being of a woman and keeps her from functioning well for a significant period of time.

Postpartum depression needs to be treated by a group of professionals. This treatment, which often includes counseling, support groups and medications, can help. In rare circumstances, postpartum psychosis may occur. It occurs in about 1 to 2 of every 1,000 births and typically begins in the first six weeks post-delivery.

Women who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder have a higher risk for developing postpartum psychosis. Symptoms may include delusions, hallucinations, sleep disturbances and obsessive thoughts about the baby. A woman may have mood swings that are rapid, changing from depression to irritability to euphoria.

In specific cases of postpartum psychosis, it is important for the new mother's support system to pay close attention to her, and to access the help of her doctor and a licensed psychiatrist, followed by individual therapy.

Anytime a new mother, or anyone in her support network, has concerns about the baby blues or postpartum depression, help is available. Each situation should be evaluated on an individual basis with your doctor.

It is important for you and your doctor to weigh the costs and benefits of each form of treatment for you and your baby. For instance, in cases where the depression is more severe, medication may be needed and highly recommended.

Untreated depression can be harmful, for example, when it comes to the development of the bond between the mother and baby. Regardless of whether a woman chooses to take medication or not, individual counseling and a support group specifically developed for new mothers can be of benefit anyone who experiences the baby blues and/or postpartum depression.

High Point Behavioral Health has a support group for new mothers who have signs of depression. This group is called "Nurturing the New Mother." It is a support group that is open to the public for $10 per visit. The group meets from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursdays, and began December 8.

For more information, call 878-6098, Ext. 2864.

Cynthia Palmer, LMFT, is with High Point Behavioral Health at High Point Regional Health System. For more on this topic, tune in to "Regional Health Talk" at 8 a.m. today on WMFR (1230 AM).

To suggest a column topic, call 878-6200 or write to

COPYRIGHT 2005 News & Record

Morgantown, W. Va.-area seniors may lose free meds.

The Dominion Post (Morgantown, WV) (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News); 12/13/2005

Byline: Grant Smith

Dec. 13--When the new Medicare prescription-drug plan kicks in Jan. 1, many Health Right clients may see a side effect: They will no longer be eligible to receive free medications.

"This is all going to hit folks pretty hard," said Joni Costante, director of Milan Puskar Health Right.

Health Right provides free medications to about 600 of its 5,000 clients.

Anyone with Medicare is now eligible to sign up for prescription-drug coverage. Most beneficiaries will pay a monthly premium and co-pays, but some lowerincome patients may qualify for exemptions from paying premiums.

But there's a catch.

Some pharmaceutical companies will no longer provide free drugs to patients if they qualify for Medicare coverage -- even if they don't sign up for it, Costante said.

Health Right works with about 20 brand-name pharmaceutical companies to provide zero-cost medicines to those 600 clients. Costante's not yet sure how many of those companies will continue to provide free drugs.

"I can't say that at this point," Costante said. "Many of the pharmaceutical companies are still sitting on the fence. "We're playing ball with most of these," she said.

British drug-maker AstraZeneca is one company that will stop providing medications for patients eligible for Medicare drug coverage, even if those clients don't sign up for a Medicare plan, Costante said.

Health Right has received in bulk about 18 medicines from AstraZeneca that it provided for free. Those drugs include Plendil for hypertension, Crestor for cholesterol, Zoladex for prostate and breast cancer, and Seroquel for schizophrenia or acute mania associated with bipolar disorder.

"They're lifesaving medications," Costante said.

Other companies -- such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck and Pfizer -- have said they'll only continue to provide free medicines to Medicareeligible patients if they don't sign up for a Medicare drug plan.

The companies' different approaches mean clients will have some tough choices.

For example, a patient who needs medications from AstraZeneca and Merck could choose to sign up for a Medicare drug plan and receive both drugs at a low cost, after premiums and co-pays.

Or the patient could opt not to sign up for a prescription plan and continue to receive a drug from Merck for free, but pay the full cost of the medicine from AstraZeneca.

"I imagine many people are pretty confused," Costante said.

Some companies may review applications for free medicines on a patient-to-patient basis.

Health Right and similar clinics across the country get medications for free from various drug companies through patient-assistance programs set up by each company. Health Right dispenses about 105,000 prescriptions a year, which at wholesale price amounts to about $7 million to $8 million worth of medicine per year, Costante said. "These programs -- we've always referred to them as moving targets," Costante said. "They've never wanted to be in the business of providing drugs for free."

Patient-assistance programs are designed to provide access to medicines for people who otherwise wouldn't be able to get the drug.

"Those programs are to help people that don't have access to these medicines," Costante said. "So theoretically, if you qualify for Medicare Part D, you have access to them," even though you have a co-pay and a monthly premium.

The Dominion Post was unable to reach anyone at AstraZeneca, but a recorded message within the automated voice system said the company provides free medication only for people "who have no other means of paying for or obtaining their medication."

By disqualifying some patients with Medicare eligibility, drug companies will end up giving fewer drugs away for free.

"These companies are going to have the opportunity to get reimbursement from insurance companies," Costante said.

Costante said her agency, along with In Touch and Concerned, has been proactive about trying to educate clients about the changes that will occur once Part D begins Jan. 1. "We have been trying to educate them since June, and In Touch and Concerned works with the homebound, so we're working together," she said.

In Touch and Concerned provides free transportation, telephone reassurance calls, medication and grocery delivery for the homebound in Monongalia County, according to the United Way Web site.

Joyce Adams, director of In Touch and Concerned, said her agency's clients have expressed anxiety about the plan. "They are concerned because the whole thing is confusing," she said.

The Web site and (800) MEDICARE offer instructions to those who need help in signing up for the Medicare Part D prescription plans. There are about 50 programs to choose from in West Virginia, but for seniors "that's hard to figure out on their own," Costante said.

"We've just been overwhelmed with calls and visits and people wanting information," said Sharon Semans, executive director of Senior Monongalians.

To see more of The Dominion Post or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Copyright (c) 2005, The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

For information on republishing this content, contact us at (800) 661-2511 (U.S.), (213) 237-4914 (worldwide), fax (213) 237-6515, or e-mail

COPYRIGHT 2005 The Dominion Post

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