treatment issues

Hope for Treatment-Resistant Bipolar Depression

→ June 17, 2013 - 16 Comments

Hope for Treatment-Resistant Bipolar Depression

Recently, I wrote a piece for PsychCentral that outlined some recommendations for treatment-resistant bipolar disorder. This piece talked about first-line and second-line agents for the treatment of bipolar disorder but I wanted to delve a little further into the novel agents that are now being studied for the treatment of bipolar depression. These are medications that are not typically used to treat bipolar disorder, work in new ways and show promise in recent studies. This is cutting edge and if you’re treatment-resistant this is an area that can offer you hope.

Why Are Novel Agents Needed in the Treatment of Bipolar Depression?

The reason why this piece is about unusual bipolar depression medication and not medication for mania is because the medications we have for mania are quite effective for most people. It is the bipolar depression that, typically, is very hard to treat. Additionally the two Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved bipolar depression treatments (quetiapine and an olanzapine/fluoxetine combination) tend to carry very serious side effects like weight gain, risk of diabetes including diabetic ketoacidosis and others. We also know that most people with bipolar disorder spend vastly more time in a depressed state than in a manic state.

According to Dr. Prakash Masand, CEO and founder of Global Medical Education, “Less than 30% of bipolar patients achieve remission that is maintained long term. There are great unmet needs in the treatment of bipolar depression. Innovative approaches are needed rather than ‘me-too’ agents that offer little incremental benefit.”

Dr. Masand notes the following are new, novel agents that look promising in the treatment of bipolar depression.

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Why Failure is a Step Towards Success, Change is Hard

→ May 2, 2013 - 5 Comments

Why Failure is a Step Towards Success, Change is Hard

Recently a friend of mine tried to make a change – she tried to stop smoking. Unfortunately, that attempt only lasted a few days.

Many people, of course, have been in that situation. Many people have tried to make a change and have found themselves less than completely successful. But what I told my friend is that she didn’t fail, she simply hadn’t succeeded – yet.

And so, I would consider her attempt a type of success. I would consider it an intention of success. I would consider it an approximation of success. I would consider it to be a step forward that ultimately will lead to success.

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Unmet Needs in the Treatment of Bipolar – I Need Your Thoughts

→ April 23, 2013 - 29 Comments

Unmet Needs in the Treatment of Bipolar – I Need Your Thoughts

If you know my story of bipolar disorder treatment, you know that it hasn’t been a pleasant one. Doctors have fired me and given up on me. I have tried a host of treatments that didn’t work. I have experienced almost every side effect under the sun. I have bumped into holes in the healthcare system that have denied me access to a psychiatrist. I’ve spent years wanting to die. I have seen, and lived through, it all. And I would say there are many unmet needs in the treatment of bipolar disorder. I would say these unmet needs are part of bipolar treatment and part of the system in which treatment is delivered. I don’t blame psychiatrists or psychiatry, specifically. I would say there is plenty of blame to go around.

So when I think about unmet needs in bipolar disorder treatment, there seems to me to be many.

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Managing Bipolar Depression: An Evidence-Based Approach – Free Webcast

→ March 19, 2013 - 7 Comments

There’s a lot to know about bipolar and bipolar depression. How do I know? Because I’ve written about bipolar depression so many times it would make your head spin.

And what I try to do is either present the human side of bipolar depression or the evidence-based side. Here are a few of the articles I’ve written on bipolar depression:

Well now I, and you, have the (FREE) chance to get a genuine look into bipolar depression from an evidence-based approach through the words of a leading psychiatrist.

Free Webcast on Managing Bipolar Depression

Here is the information on a FREE webcast by doctors (technically, for doctors) and Global Medical Education on an evidence-based approach to treating bipolar depression. I believe there will be a lot to learn here.

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Trying Bipolar Therapy You Don’t Believe In – Mindfulness Meditation

→ March 18, 2013 - 21 Comments

Trying Bipolar Therapy You Don’t Believe In – Mindfulness Meditation

When people ask me about bipolar treatments or bipolar therapy here, I tell them about the research on the therapy or treatment and I tell them this, “different bipolar treatments and bipolar therapies work for different people so try it and see if it helps.”

And I consider this good advice. It’s absolutely true. Different bipolar treatments and bipolar therapies do work for different people – but that doesn’t mean that I, personally, believe in them.

And, to be clear, it’s not so much that I don’t believe in them entirely, it’s more that I don’t believe in them for me.

Enter mindfulness-cognitive therapy or mindfulness meditation.

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Knowing What You Don’t Know about Psychiatric Medication

→ January 24, 2013 - 15 Comments

Knowing What You Don’t Know about Psychiatric Medication

Ah psychiatric medication. I know; it’s really what we all love to hate in mental illness. Psychiatric medication can fix you up or pull you down and many of us have experienced both these things.

But there are more risky psychiatric medications and less risky psychiatric medications, in my estimation anyway. And one of the major ways to judge risk is based on history.

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People Spend More Time Picking Out a Hairstylist than a Doctor?

→ November 19, 2012 - 18 Comments

People Spend More Time Picking Out a Hairstylist than a Doctor?

How Does One Choose a Psychiatrist?

The other day I was searching for a hairstylist. My hair is hard to keep up, very challenging for a stylist and thus, very expensive, so if I leave the salon with anything but exactly what I want, I’m more than a little peeved. I’m the client and I want what I paid for.

And as I was looking at various salons and considering which stylists might do a good job, it occurred to me, I’m spending more time on this than most people spend on finding a psychiatrist.

So how does one choose a psychiatrist anyway?

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Mental Illness Failures are Really Inspiring Wins

→ November 7, 2012 - 26 Comments

Mental Illness Failures are Really Inspiring Wins

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to give a presentation on mental illness to a group of ninth-graders through the Bipolar Babe project. I spoke about stigma and my personal story of mental illness. I told them all about my bipolar disorder, my diagnosis, treatments, treatment failures, vagus nerve stimulator, electroconvulsive therapy and more. And at the end of the presentation, the kids had a chance to fill out feedback forms, and one of the words they used surprised me – inspirational.

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Why I Don’t Tell People My Bipolar Medications, Treatment Plan

→ October 22, 2012 - 38 Comments

Why I Don’t Tell People My Bipolar Medications, Treatment Plan

And Why You Shouldn’t Tell People about Your Bipolar Medications Either

At least once a week someone asks me what medication I’m on or what my bipolar treatment plan is, but I have a policy not to talk about my treatment plan or medication. I typically won’t even get specific about my experience with specific medications. I don’t tell people what medications I’m or what my treatment plan is for a good reason – it’s no one’s business but mine and my doctor.

I get a little peeved that people ask me about my medications and treatment plan because it’s private people. But people think that just because I’m a writer I’m a public commodity and people should get to know whatever they want about me. Well guess what, you don’t. You get to know what I choose to tell you, nothing more, nothing less.

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Judging Those Who Get Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

→ October 15, 2012 - 86 Comments

Judging Those Who Get Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Saturday, after sharing the story of someone who had been through electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). someone named Michele Montour left me this series of tweets (shortened words lengthened to improve readability):

Nothing will ever convince me that this barbaric, antiquated butchery is proper treatment. We know almost nada about the brain. Scientists admit very little known about our brain – even diagnoses are guessed. But zapping it and not REALLY knowing and irreversible!? I think ECT treats us like animals. Repackaged to remove ITS stigma. Let’s just go to the ice-pick lobotomy again! #disgusted

To this, I, admittedly shortly, responded:

That’s a convenient perspective when you’re not dying.

Well, Michele Montour did not like this response and it led to a bit of a diatribe on her part wherein she, among other things, called me a stupid and ignorant bitch.

I thought, perhaps, this stupid bitch could take a moment to explain her opinion.

[Note: I am running a survey on real patients’ experiences with, and perspectives on, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If you’ve had ECT and want your voice heard, please take the survey here. More detailed information on the ECT survey can be found here.]

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Stop Stigmatizing Mentally Ill Children on Medication

→ October 9, 2012 - 30 Comments

Stop Stigmatizing Mentally Ill Children on Medication

If you’re not following the Bipolar Burble blog on Facebook, you likely missed it but we had quite a conversation last night about an image that’s going around Facebook. The image says, “STOP PSYCHIATRIC DRUGGING OF KIDS.” The image is of an innocent, sweet-faced child holding up a sign with the words. The image is attributed to a user on Facebook whose political views are listed as “anarchism.”

Righty-then.

Regardless as to who made this image, the image itself has been circulating in, you guessed it, antipsychiatry circles. (I won’t bother drawing lines between antipsychiatry and anarchism, but, you know, I probably could.)

Not surprisingly, one reader with a mentally ill child took offence to this image and all the passing around of it.

This image suggests that:

In other words, it stigmatizes both parents of, and mentally ill children themselves.

In other words it spreads negativity, hate and prejudice.

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Meet a Neuroscientist and Get a Second Healthcare Opinion

→ September 27, 2012 - 3 Comments

Meet a Neuroscientist and Get a Second Healthcare Opinion

The Bipolar Burble is honored to introduce to you Dr. Marie Rowland, a neuroscientist helping people with brain disorders like mental illness through a new service, EmpowermentAlly.

A Special Offer for Bipolar Burble Readers

Marie is offering subsidized services to people with a mental illness and she has a special offer for Bipolar Burble readers – a thorough review of your mental health concerns, history and a 30 minute coaching session all for $15. Read on to learn more about Marie and her offer.

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