Providing Insights for Better Mental Health

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Stress

on Saturday, 26 January 2013. Posted in General

Patients are told to reduce stress but is that practical?

Stress

From Healthline.com:

"Several studies have estimated that as many as 60% of people with bipolar disorder have an anxiety disorder. One study in 2004 showed that ore than 30% of bipolar disorder patients experience panic attacks".

bStable allows patients to identify triggers (stressful life events that are likely to spark episodes of mania or depression). Examples could be: deaths, anniversaries, traumas, etc. These can be recorded and communicated with your clinician or therapist.

Issues abound in out lives: work, school, money, time, health, kids and relationships: friends, family, etc. are the biggest stressors that we face. We can't eliminate stress and anxiety from our lives but can change how we deal with stress and anxiety.

Self monitoring using bStable is key but used in combination with CBT - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - a great psychotherapeutic approach to address anxiety - has been said to be a very effective combo as reported by our bStable users. I'm also hearing a lot these days about IPSRT - Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy that can help manage stressful life events. 

Depression Prevalence

on Saturday, 26 January 2013.

That's a lot of people!

Depression Prevalence

According to WebMD:

The CDC says that about 9% of Americans report they are depressed at least occasionally, and 3.4% suffer from major depression.

The 9% are people who reported to surveyors that they felt depressed to some degree in the two weeks prior to being questioned. That includes the 3.4% of adults who meet the CDC’s criteria for major depression.

The analysis, part of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report(MMWR) for Oct. 1, was based on a survey of 235,067 people aged 18 and older in 45 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

According to the MMWR, estimates for current depression in states and territories in 2006-2008 ranged from a low of 4.8% in North Dakota to 14.8% in Mississippi. People in Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota did not participate in either the 2006 or the 2008 survey.

From wiki.answers.com:

340 million people in the world suffer from depression and rising

1 in 4 women will suffer from depression

1 in 10 men will suffer from depression (this statistic is not absolutely correct because more women are apt to see their doctor for depression than men do.)

Depression strikes all races, rich and poor.


Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_people_in_the_world_suffer_from_depression#ixzz2J6DEV02m

Lithium, Lithium, Lithium, Lithium, Lithium, Lithium

on Saturday, 26 January 2013. Posted in General

Uh, Let's Stop and Think First People

Lithium, Lithium, Lithium, Lithium, Lithium, Lithium

I presented bStable as part of a session on computerized life management systems for the management of bipolar depression at the International Review of Bipolar Disorders May 8th, 2009 in Lisbon, Portugal with Dr. Andreas Erfurth, from the Department of General Medical Psychiatry, University of Vienna. 

At the conference I was AMAZED at how many researchers were totally fixated on lithium research! All I heard was them chirping like birds: "lithium, lithium, lithium, lithium, lithium". Then: "gold standard, gold standard, gold standard, gold standard".

Wow. I've talked with A LOT of people with bipolar disorder and FEW TO NONE are on Lithium. It can make:

your hands shake uncontrollably, make you very thirsty, want to pee a lot, diarrhea, throw up, pack on the pounds, mess with your memory, impair your concentration, make you drowsy, make your muscles feel weak, HAIR LOSS, make you look like a teenager with ACNE and FAT due to decreased thyroid function.

Sound fun?

The researchers should read this article:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120921092502.htm

and stop the knee-jerk reaction "oh, you have bipolar disorder, let me put you on lithium" and start to THINK first and realize every patient is different. Thoughts??

Neanderthal Psychologists & Therapists

on Saturday, 26 January 2013. Posted in General

Get a Computer or Die!

So this article from Psychiatric Times:

http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/display/article/10168/2118508

got me very upset. It is from Dr. Geller who is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Facility Medical Director, Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital in Worcester, Mass. 

He obviously is in the Stone Ages!! Wake up dude! Basically to summarize the article... he thinks if you put a computer in a therapist's office, everyone in the world will have a patient's mental health records. What??? Comments??? 

Computer-Based Therapists

on Saturday, 26 January 2013. Posted in General

I can see him/her, I just can't smell him/her!

Computer-Based Therapists

If you go to liveperson.com, you can find hundreds of psychologists and therapists just waiting to provide Internet-based psychotherapy. People are working more and more from home and using their computers, Internet connections and phones to stay connected so why not do the same for psychotherapy? Anyone had experience with this? Do you miss your therapist's couch? Do you miss looking at your patients in "real life" and not via a computer monitor? Maybe as part of the web conference, the patients and psychologist/therapist/psychologist could have live, interactive bStable sessions to view how the patient has done since the last visit via the symptom monitoring the patient has recorded. Sounds like a convenient, efficient and practical way of doing things. Anyone had experience with this type of approach?

Omega-3 Supplements

on Friday, 25 January 2013. Posted in General

bStable + Psychotropics, Exercise, Meditation and Eating Well + Fish Oil?

Omega-3 Supplements

Many bStable customers are either newly diagnosed, trying to stay "stable" or are having major problems with their psychotropic medication regimen and want to reset and establish a baseline to measure their progress towards wellness. Most of those who I talk with going through those various stages trying to regain and keep control of their life are experimenting with fish oil.

Lots of the bStable customers I have spoken with that have raved about using omega 3 fatty acid supplements have taken: Omax3, Nordic Naturals and OmegaVia.

 

A debate that is ongoing is do they help with mood disorders (seems they do) and if so, are the higher end brands worth the extra cost and if so, which ones are best. Thoughts? 

Overmedicating Patients

on Tuesday, 22 January 2013. Posted in General

Clinicians are sometimes flying blind

Overmedicating Patients

I once met a girl diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I at an Annual DBSA event who was on 21 different medications! Yes, 21 medications! Obviously, the patient had multiple comorbid conditions and a lot of the patients I run into have several medications in their constantly changing "psychotropic cocktail". But 21?? I've seen psychiatrists fall into a deadly trap of chasing symptoms with psychotropics. Have you? Without constant and transparent visibility into how the patient is doing with a particular regimen, this trap is very easy to fall into. Thoughts?

What's the Purpose of a Cognitive Behavior Treatment Program Without Self Tracking?

on Tuesday, 22 January 2013. Posted in General

Therapists are not providing patients the tools they need to be successful with CBT

What's the Purpose of a Cognitive Behavior Treatment Program Without Self Tracking?

There are some great books out there on the subject of managing bipolar disorder using CBT (i.e. Michael Otto's book: Managing Bipolar Disorder - A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach) but as the famous quote from Peter Drucker states: "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it!" so why are thousands of therapists out there not giving the tools to their patients to track their thought patterns and measure progress towards goals?? 

 

Disease State Management Systems

on Saturday, 19 January 2013.

Great article on the importance of mood tracking

Disease State Management Systems

Mood tracking is a very important part of managing the disease state of individuals with various affective disorders such as bipolar disorder. Check out the article below and let's discuss how software can be used to help track and communicate a patient's disease state with clinicians or therapists. 

www.pendulum.org/bpnews/archive/001953.html

 

 

 

Incorporating Health Information Technology Resources in Psychiatric Practice

on Wednesday, 16 January 2013. Posted in General

Computers in the Consulting Room

Incorporating Health Information Technology Resources in Psychiatric Practice

This was a fascinating article from the Psychiatric Times Vol. 29 No. 12. I was most interested in page 2 of the article that covered: "communication with patients" as that is the foundation of bStable. Page 3 covered "the impact of HIT on the patient experience, and especially on the relationship between doctor and patient, is an emerging area of interest in informatics research and a compelling issue for clinical study". Anyone reading this post have any thoughts or experience with HIT in the consulting room with patients or your therapist or clinician?

United States Mental Healthcare

on Wednesday, 16 January 2013. Posted in General

Let's discuss mental healthcare in the United States

United States Mental Healthcare

Check out our interview with McGraw System's CEO Ben McGraw and join the discussion on your thoughts on mental healthcare in the United States

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