Archives for March, 2011
Omega 3s, aka EFAs (essential fatty acids) are a type of fat that benefits the body in numerous ways. One Omega 3 fatty acid, called DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), is a major fatty acid found nutritionally in fish oil and in us, in our brain lipids and retina. In fact, DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain. There is some good evidence that dietary DHA and other Omega 3s, reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels. And low DHA levels have been linked to cognitive decline (and Alzheimer's). Omega 3s have been used as an additional treatment, alongside anti-psychotic medications. According to NAMI they reduced both the "positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia, as well as lowering levels of dyskinesia, a movement disorder that is sometimes a side-effect of antipsychotics" In the March NAMI Advocate newsletter, it is reported that research indicates that Omega 3s in general, could be taken before a psychotic disorder fully emerges (with far less side-effects than anti-psychotic medications).
Recently, C.R. and I wrote a piece for a magazine about personality disorders. I got more phone calls and emails about that article than any we’ve ever written. Every single call or email was from a family member of someone whom they believe has a possible undiagnosed personality disorder. Not one was from someone who recognized themselves as having a p.d. Personality disorders play havoc with one’s sense of self. *Most are generally characterized by at least a few of the following: frequent mood swings, angry outbursts and rage, distrust of others, serious problems making friends and sustaining relationships, lack of empathy, poor impulse control, and even alcohol or substance abuse. Depending on the disorder, there are a host of other possible thought patterns, feelings, and behaviors. Obviously, personality disorders are associated with considerable disruption in a person’s personal, social, and professional life. I have my own take on them, based on the research as well as my clinical and personal observations :
C.R. writes: Maybe you've seen this one? I've watched this touching post-tsunami video of the dog who leads videographers to his injured companion a few times now. (Yes, I'm an animal lover but I put human life first). Still, something about this video made me keep going back and rewatching it. I think I figured it out. What was puzzling wasn't the dog's behavior--it was the videographer's. How could the cameraman keep this worried animal in suspense and not go to the canine companions' rescue?
CNN Interview With 6 Year Old Bullying Book Author In the video (see the link above), six year old LaNiyah Bailey and her mom speak about a book they wrote about bullying. Not Fat Because I Wanna Be tells the story of how LaNiyah endured bullying because she is overweight and how painful her experience was. Her mother describes how her daughter would come home from nursery school each day in tears, because kids called her "fatty pants" and "elephant girl."
I remember back in the 1960s when my father stored all the family's "important papers" in one or two accordion files. Of course, that was back in the days of Andy Griffith and Mayberry and things were simpler. Back then it seemed like there was all the time in the world. Fathers and sons really did grab a couple sandwhiches and a thermos and a fishing pole and spent the day fishing. Does anybody do that anymore?
You may have read Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger's (Crown, 2007), John Elder Robison's autobiographical tale of living a life with Asperger's syndrome*. When Robison was a kid in the 1960s and 70s, Aspergians, as he calls them, had no solid diagnosis. They were simply recognized as being different, odd, dangerous, or bad. We've been meaning to read Look Me In The Eye for a while now. Then we heard about Be Different (Crown, 2011), Robison's new book, due out tomorrow, March 22nd. Finally C.R. and I got motivated-we knew we had to read his first book first. So we did. Why did we wait so long? The book is fascinating, funny, and compelling. And very moving.
Richard occasionally does mental health/addiction interventions. I (C.R.) had so many questions about the process that I asked him if I could interview him about it for the Therapy Soup blog. So here goes: What is a mental health and/or addiction intervention? An intervention in general, is any interaction between a professional and patient. The kinds of intervention I'm going to talk about here, is a specific, focused interaction by a mental health/addiction professional with a patient or potential patient and key people in the person's life which may include their family/significant others/a system of agencies. An intervention is geared towards getting a treatment-resistant patient into treatment. Usually, the individual is extremely treatment-resistant and has refused all care that has already been suggested by family, friends, coworkers, or mental health/addiction professionals or other key people in the person's life. How can you tell if an intervention is needed? A mental health or substance abuse crisis usually precedes an intervention. Interventions aren't everyday occurrences-in fact, they are rare. The crisis that calls for an intervention can happen in just about any setting-- family, job, school, military, etc. The crisis is usually moderate to severe.
C.R. writes: Chrisa Hickey's 16 year old son has a schizoaffective disorder. He's had psychotic breaks and needed to be restrained. That's why it was particularly hurtful when she heard about Chicago's Robert Morris University competitive dance team's latest performance in which college women with wild, frizzed-out hair and black makeup around their eyes danced in straitjackets. At Waunakee High School (a Wisconsin public school), another dance team wore straitjacket-like costumes on which were printed the words "Psych Ward." Apparently, mental illness is one of the last remaining illnesses that it's okay to mock.
Our first five thoughts on the Japan's earthquake and tsunami disaster: 1. Prayer. Praying for the future safety of the Japanese people and hope for their future and rebuilding. Yes, for us, this is first and foremost a time for prayer. 2. Awe. At the sheer power of the earthquake and tsunami. Being shocked out of "self" and reminded that we do not control the world. We don't even control our own, personal worlds. 3. Personal Meaning. After prayer and awe we paused and asked: How can we make sense of this tragedy on a personal level? What is the meaning for each of us, as individuals?
Is it naive to be shocked by the fact that a significant number of people wouldn't return extra change? It does happen - you go to a store, buy something, and the cashier hands you too little - or for our purposes - too much change. I know many people, including myself, who would return incorrect change. It seems like a knee-jerk reaction to return it, even if you have to go out of your way to do so.