treatment issues

Medication Adherence Improvement with Abilify Computer Chip?

→ November 20, 2017 - 14 Comments

Medication Adherence Improvement with Abilify Computer Chip?

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of a computer chip inside of aripiprazole (Abilify) pills. This computer chip is designed to indicate whether the person has taken his or her medication or not. The theory (and marketing push) is that this computer chip will improve treatment adherence (compliance). It will “ensure” people are taking their medications as prescribed. But will a computer chip inside of an antipsychotic really improve medication adherence?

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Why Aren’t More Drugs Approved for Bipolar Disorder?

→ November 12, 2017 - 12 Comments

Why Aren’t More Drugs Approved for Bipolar Disorder?

Thoughts on My Time with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Have you ever considered why more drugs aren’t approved in the treatment of bipolar disorder? I have. I, specifically, wonder why there aren’t more drugs for bipolar depression, considering that the depressed state outweighs the presence of mania/hypomania 3:1 in many cases. Here’s what I think about why there aren’t drugs getting approved for bipolar disorder.

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Focusing on Not Making My Bipolar Disorder Worse

→ September 19, 2017 - 13 Comments

Focusing on Not Making My Bipolar Disorder Worse

My daily life is based around the single concept of not making my bipolar disorder worse. It seems I’ve gotten past the point where I can do anything to get better, so all I can do is not make my bipolar disorder worse. This is an incredibly depressing realization. This realization posits that I will be in pain every day and the only thing I can do is not make that pain worse. I will continue to be bludgeoned every day, all I can do is make the club smaller.

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How I Know I Have to Take Medication for My Bipolar Disorder

→ August 24, 2017 - 13 Comments

How I Know I Have to Take Medication for My Bipolar Disorder

I know I need to take medication for my bipolar disorder. I know that going without medication isn’t an option for me. I know that I am far too sick for non-medication options to make even a dent in my illness. These things are clear to me. This is how I know I have to take medication for my bipolar disorder.

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Assisted Outpatient Treatment Upholds Civil Liberties, Doesn’t Deny Them

→ May 31, 2017 - 16 Comments

Assisted Outpatient Treatment Upholds Civil Liberties, Doesn’t Deny Them

Assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) is finally coming into its own. After so many people fighting for the rights of the seriously mentally ill for a decade, this lifesaving treatment option is finally available in the vast majority of states. But many people feel that assisted outpatient treatment denies civil liberties. I would argue, however, assisted outpatient treatment actually upholds civil liberties, not to mention upholds societal ethics.

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Turmeric – Possible New, Inexpensive, Depression and Anxiety Treatment

→ March 19, 2017 - 4 Comments

Turmeric – Possible New, Inexpensive, Depression and Anxiety Treatment

Turmeric (curcumin) may be a new, inexpensive depression and anxiety treatment. It’s early days on this one, but it’s worth noting because it is so available and inexpensive. Here is where the research is on turmeric as a treatment for depression and anxiety.

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Antipsychotics Should Be Used for Non-Psychotic Depression Treatment

→ February 6, 2017 - 11 Comments

Antipsychotics Should Be Used for Non-Psychotic Depression Treatment

While some disagree, it’s important that people understand that antipsychotics need to be used for non-psychotic depression treatment, when appropriate.

At any one time, 14 million people suffer from depression but only 60-70% of these people respond to antidepressant treatment. Of those who do not respond, 10-30% exhibit treatment-resistant symptoms including “difficulties in social and occupational function, decline of physical health, suicidal thoughts, and increased health care utilization.” Treating these people presents a huge issue for healthcare practitioners and one of the options they consider is the use of a medication class known as antipsychotics.

Recently, a group called the Therapeutics Initiative wrote a letter entitled Antipsychotics should not be used for non-psychotic depression. Their conclusions are as the title suggests: this body found little evidence to support the use of antipsychotics in the treatment of non-psychotic major depressive disorder.

And while I respect the work of this body and while they have considered some evidence (in the case of quetiapine [Seroquel], an antipsychotic), there is more to consider on the issue.

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Urine Test to Distinguish Between Bipolar and Depression – Does It Really Exist?

→ July 31, 2016 - 4 Comments

Urine Test to Distinguish Between Bipolar and Depression – Does It Really Exist?

Today, on the Bipolar Burble Facebook page, someone posted a link to an article on The Health Magazine (a website) that had the headline: A Urine Test Can Distinguish Between Bipolar Disorder And Depression. The poster bought into this headline and felt that “people should know about this.”

Well, I can tell you that when someone claims to have found a urine test to distinguish between bipolar and depression, you should be very skeptical. Believe me, if this were a real thing, it wouldn’t just show up in some clickbait website, written by someone named “admin.” (Normally, these types of sites even steal the content they do have.)

Let’s look at the facts of the matter. Does a urine test to differentiate between depression and bipolar disorder really exist?

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Bipolar Psych Med Side Effect: Akathisia, Restlessness

→ July 27, 2016 - 28 Comments

Bipolar Psych Med Side Effect: Akathisia, Restlessness

Akathisia is a psychiatric medication side effect that revolves around psychological and psychical restlessness which causes distress. People with bipolar disorder report more akathisia with psych med treatment than do those with schizophrenia. And I am now reporting the horrible restlessness, agitation and distress of akathisia is happening to me.

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Mindfulness — Essential Bipolar Survival Skill?

→ July 13, 2016 - 17 Comments

Mindfulness — Essential Bipolar Survival Skill?

I wrote that Mindfulness Doesn’t Help My Bipolar Disorder. And I think mindfulness, at least how I was taught it, just doesn’t significantly, positive affect a serious, neurological illness. I find it works best in people who experience stress and anxiety. And many do agree with me on this.

That said, John McManamy does not. Here are his thoughts on mindfulness in bipolar disorder.

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Mindfulness is essentially the mind watching the mind. The practice has been around forever. It is a staple of Buddhist practice, and is also the basis of modern talking therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), even if its proponents fail to give it credit.

In all likelihood, if you have had success in managing your bipolar, you are employing mindfulness techniques, though you may be unaware of it.

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Suffering from Bipolar Medication Side Effects? – What to Do

→ May 15, 2016 - 13 Comments

Suffering from Bipolar Medication Side Effects? – What to Do

I have experienced so many bipolar medication side effects that I can’t remember them all. They have ranged from the common that many people experience like weight gain and dry mouth to the more unusual such as falling out hair and me falling over. When I started taking bipolar medication and started experiencing side effects, I tended to just grit my teeth, bear it and suffer. And I see this all the time in people. People constantly contact me and ask what to do about bipolar medication side effects because they are currently suffering.

I don’t believe in needless suffering. I believe there are things you can do about many, if not most, of the bipolar medication side effects.

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Medical Research on Bipolar Disorder and Pregnancy

→ May 1, 2016 - 13 Comments

Medical Research on Bipolar Disorder and Pregnancy

People ask me about the research on bipolar disorder and pregnancy quite a bit. Now, I am not a doctor and nor do I claim to be one; moreover, this is a subject that I haven’t studied exhaustively so I tell these women to talk to their doctors. Unfortunately, that’s the best advice I have been able to give about bipolar disorder and pregnancy.

That said, I read a new paper on bipolar disorder in pregnancy and I thought I would take the time to summarize some of its recommendations regarding pregnancy and bipolar disorder. I’ll add my two cents here and there (clearly noted as just my opinion), but for the most part, this advice comes from the references following the article and not from me. If any of the below concerns or interests you, please check the references and discuss it with your doctor.

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