Archives for April, 2011

Bipolar Medication

Using Genetic Profiles to Predict Medication Response in Bipolar Disorder

This month's edition of Discovery's Edge, Mayo Clinic's Online Research Magazine, features an article entitled "The Genomics of Bipolar Disorder." The article looks at biobanking – a practice in which research centers store a lot of information on thousands of people with certain disorders, in this case bipolar. Mayo Clinic, in conjunction with several other research centers, is collecting blood samples and clinical information from 2,000 patients. This...
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Mental Health Support Groups

Join a Mental Health Support Group and Talk About It

Whenever I attend a mental health support group meeting, I’m reminded of how important it is to talk about what we’re dealing with. I’m also reminded of how difficult the subject of mental illness can be to discuss in our usual social circles, sometimes even with close friends and family members. Stigma-induced fear and shame often silence us, causing us to suffer needlessly in isolation. In a support group, you can...
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Diet & Nutrition

Weight Loss Surgery and Bipolar Disorder

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry entitled "Are Mood Disorders and Obesity Related? A Review for the Mental Health Professional" (McElroy, Susan L.; Kotwal, Renu; Malhotra, Shishuka; Nelson, Erik B.; Keck, Paul E., Jr.; Nemeroff, Charles B.) reveals a possible connection between obesity and mood disorders including major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.

The study found that:

Children and adolescents with major depressive disorder may be at increased...
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Alternative Treatments

Using Mindfulness for Bipolar Disorder

By Shamash Alidina, author of Mindfulness For Dummies

Mindfulness is a meditation therapy that uses self-control techniques to overcome negative thoughts and emotions and achieve a calmer, more focused state of mind – a moment-to-moment awareness with qualities of kindness, curiosity, and acceptance.

Mindfulness was originally an ancient eastern approach to wellbeing that has been found, through recent psychological research, to be a powerful way of managing a range of mental health conditions.

The...
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Alternative Treatments

Rewiring Your Brain through Mindfulness

If brain chemistry can affect thoughts and behaviors, can thoughts and behaviors affect brain chemistry and perhaps even rewire the brain?

Yes.

An accumulating body of evidence supports the notion that non-medical interventions – especially mindfulness – can create changes in the body and brain that help reduce distress and improve brain function in a variety of ways.

MindfulnessA mental state of heightened awareness, free of distraction, and more conducive to deliberate thought and action.
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Helping Loved One

Dealing with the Problem Pileup

I recently attended a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) support group meeting that's run as a problem-solving workshop. All attendees are sworn to confidentiality, so I won't go into details, but as one of the attendees described her situation, I felt overwhelmed by what she perceived to be the problem. It was total chaos. What she described as one problem was actually a problem pileup – numerous problems all jammed...
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Get Help

NAMI’s Family-to-Family Training

This past weekend, I participated in NAMI’s Family-to-Family training program to become a facilitator (presenter) for the course. My goal is to work with others to start a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) affiliate and one or more mental health support groups in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and offer the Family-to-Family course to people in the area who have a loved one living with a “persistent and serious mental illness” – bipolar disorder...
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