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Bipolar News

March 19, 2006

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Bipolar disorder: Life can turn tragic when patients don't take their medicine
Miami Herald
Despite years of therapy, despite knowing that guilt and self-blame are futile, that what happened to one son, what still is happening to another, can only be explained by the stark vocabulary of a medical diagnosis, Linda Pardo wrestles always with a mother's grief, remembers with a mother's heart.

Legal delays exacerbate the pain of daughter's murder
Usually the call comes on Friday. So Sheila Massoni will spend much of today sitting at home in Hackensack waiting for the phone to ring, while willing it not to ring at all. A call, she said, could mean yet another wait until she sees justice.

`Hallucinating, hearing things'
Miami Herald
Tom Wootton was hired to run a U-Haul center, and ''within two months I was vice president of the company,'' he says. He also ran health clubs, worked as a stripper, started a dot-com company and became a dot-com millionaire. He wrote a book about himself in six days.

Psychiatric Emergencies in Adolescents
By Edelsohn, Gail A; Gomez, John-Paul Up to 1 in 10 children in the United States (4 million) suffers from a mental illness and experiences some degree of functional impairment. Only 20% of them will receive needed care [1].

Diseases' genetic codes being cracked
Richmond Times-Dispatch
HARRISONBURG -- Science is on the verge of learning the genetic codes that can lead to nearly all common diseases, world-renowned scientist Dr. Francis Collins told high school students yesterday.

Drug copay ruling poor 'a big relief'
Jeanette K. Beeker used to dread when she emptied her 10 prescription bottles because she didn't have the cash to cover the copay on refills. "It's not an easy thing to say, 'I don't have $1 or $3' -- even if it's true," said Beeker, 67, of Saginaw.

ADHD Drugs - Who Said What At Last Month's Hearings
Sierra Times
The FDA's Drug Safety & Risk Management Advisory Committee held a two-day meeting last month on February 9th and 10th to review adverse events linked to the widely prescribed ADHD drugs that included reports of sudden death, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes among adults and children taking the medications.

Prosecutor says infant may have died from shaking
The Times-Reporter
CANTON - What killed Zoey Sunderman remains a question and a point of speculation for authorities a week after police accused her uncle of raping and murdering the 7-month-old Waynesburg girl.

Study Looks at All the Lonely People
Health Scout
SUNDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- More than a third of adults say they are lonely, especially people in their 40s, a new study shows. U.K. and Australian researchers conducted 30-minute phone interviews with 1,289 adults in the state of Central Queensland, in Australia.

Man acquitted of stalking Crow now prays for her
New York Daily News
A year after he was acquitted of stalking Sheryl Crow, Queens veteran Ambrose Kappos admits his thoughts are still with the rock singer.

Children of Rage and Sorrow - More children are battling mental ilklness
San Antonio Express News
It's 3 o'clock and following her afternoon ritual, Kim Smith carefully places a little blue pill on the table in front of son Tyler, "the magic pill," she calls it, a talisman of the peace, healing and normalcy they both long for and seek every day.

Mentally ill imprisoned more often, says Cornell U. speaker

University Wire; 3/17/2006; Sara Gorecki

(Cornell Daily Sun) (U-WIRE) ITHACA, N.Y. -- The mentally ill comprise a group of people that often faces discrimination. Thursday, Prof. Hal Smith, psychiatry, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, spoke at Cornell University on the misconceptions often associated with mentally disabled offenders.

"I spent my entire career working exclusively with mentally disabled offenders. I hope to contribute some things to this topic and the understanding here at Cornell," Smith said. "I'm pretty much freelance now. I don't speak on behalf of any public or private entity. All of these opinions are my own."

"It seemed that this was something there would be a lot of interest in on campus," said Sharon E. Mack '07, one of the organizers of the event. "This is a big issue today."

"It's something I'm not very informed on," said Nathan A. Mullenax '07. "We talk a lot about race and prison, but not so much about mental illness and prison."

Smith first pointed out that many of our conceptions of the mentally disabled come from the way they are portrayed in the media. He cited examples such as Robert De Niro's character in "Cape Fear" and Jack Nicholson's role in "The Shining" as stereotypical portrayals of psychopathic and sociopathic disorders.

These portrayals accurately represent their respective disorders with symptoms such as a lack of conscience and egocentrism, according to Smith.

"[However,] one of the flaws with all of these characterizations is that people start to generalize," Smith said.

Such violent portrayals of those with mental disabilities give a false representation of the norm.

"People with mental illnesses are no more violent or no more apt to commit a crime than the general public," Smith said. "Movies and some media can totally distort perception."

Violence usually only increases when someone with a mental disease is also involved in substance abuse, according to Smith; however, this rise in violence under such circumstances is also seen in the general public.

Smith also addressed the prevalence of mental illness in the correction system.

He said that there are 283,800 people with mental illnesses in United States federal, state and local jails. About 70,000 prison inmates are psychotic, while 200,000 suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. He also pointed out that a significantly larger percent of jail inmates suffer from mental illness compared to those in prison.

"[Most of these inmates] have pre-existing cases of a mental disability before being sent to jail or prison," Smith said.

In 2000, 70 percent of prison inmates were diagnosed with mental disorders, and 15 percent with "severe" mental illnesses. From 1980 to 1992, the number of inmates with mental disabilities more than doubled.

In contrast, the number of inpatients in the old Department of Mental Hygiene was about 90,000 in the late 1950s, and that number has now dropped to 4,000 patients in the current State Office of Mental Health, Smith said.

"How did we end up with these huge numbers [of mentally disabled inmates]?" Smith asked.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, as people are released from mental institutions, they are not given the proper resources to find jobs and acclimate to society. This leads to higher incarceration rates.

Smith pointed out trends over the years that support this theory. In 1955, there were 560,000 people with mental disabilities in state hospitals and only 200,000 in jails and prisons. In the 1960s and 1970s, the use of anti-psychotic drugs and cuts in state hospital budgets led to high rates of deinstitutionalization. No services were provided to help patients reintegrate into society, and by 2002, there were only 60,000 patients in state hospitals. However, the number of inmates with mental illnesses rose to two million.

Smith also gave a brief history of the current system, showing how we got to this point.

In 1859, a State Lunatic Asylum for Insane Convicts was established at a prison in Auburn, and 200 beds were reserved for the mentally disabled. When capacity was exceeded, similar asylums were established at Matteawan and Danneamora State Hospitals with a cap of 500 beds at each hospital. Some asylums were for convicted and sentenced prisoners, while others included violent civil patients who had not committed any crimes.

The system remained the same, constantly expanding, until litigation began to "shape the system" in the 1960s, resolving many abuses in the state hospital system, according to Smith.

"People began to realize that Metteawan was a bad place," Smith said.

As a result, the responsibility of state hospitals was transferred to what was then called the Department of Mental Hygiene.

Today, many major prisons have small sub communities, which are mental health centers inside the prisons.

"[The patients] live and work in the general population of the prison," Smith said.

Smith also briefly touched on the ethical issues involved with the mentally disabled, such as whether or not those with mild mental disabilities should be forced to take their medications. This could also lead to abuses such as overly medicating patients in order to help control them.

"I think [this event] raised a lot of basic issues � [and] will encourage further discussion on this topic," Mack said. "It gave people a bit of the opportunity to see � a bit of the history and [will maybe encourage them to] go forward and do some outside research."

The lecture was co-sponsored by Cornell Union for Disabilities Awareness and Cornell Minds Matter.

(C) 2006 Cornell Daily Sun via U-WIRE

This material is published under license from the publisher through ProQuest Information and Learning Company, Ann Arbor, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to ProQuest Information and Learning Company.

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