treatment issues

What to do When Someone Refuses to Take Their Medication – Treatment Noncompliance

→ September 25, 2012 - 68 Comments

What to do When Someone Refuses to Take Their Medication – Treatment Noncompliance

It is an unfortunate truth that many mental illness patients won’t take their medications at one time or another. This is known as treatment noncompliance or treatment nonadherence, if you want to be a bit more politically correct.

And also unfortunate is the fact that when a person with a mental illness refuses to take their medication they almost inexorably get sicker. People with bipolar disorder who won’t take their medication, for example, often become manic and then wind up hurting themselves or someone else and end up in the hospital. And watching this happen, as a loved one, is extremely painful.

So is there anything you can do when a person refuses to take their medication? Is there anything you can do about treatment noncompliance?

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Why People Refuse Therapy – Therapy Feels like an Insult

→ August 30, 2012 - 41 Comments

Why People Refuse Therapy – Therapy Feels like an Insult

Yesterday I was at my psychiatrist’s and I wasn’t doing terribly well. It seems I’m a little stressed. Turns out being a well-known mental health writer is a smidgen more challenging than one might think.

And so one of the recommendations my doctor made was to do some mindfulness training in a local program.

Instantly I felt myself rile against the idea. Internally I was feeling very resistant against yet more therapy.

And I realized why – therapy feels like an insult. The idea that I need more therapy seems to suggest that I’m not handling my disease in the best way possible. This seems to suggest that I don’t know everything already. More therapy feels like I’m doing something wrong and have to be fixed. The idea of more therapy suggests that someone else knows something that I don’t. And boy am I tired of bipolar treatments that don’t work.

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Psychiatric Medications Don’t Work – a Fact?

→ August 22, 2012 - 81 Comments

Psychiatric Medications Don’t Work – a Fact?

Again, a commenter last night popped onto the blog to tell me how psychiatric medications “do more harm than good” and how “I [the commenter] know for a fact that these meds no not work.

Sigh.

I’m not sure how so many people confuse “fact” with “opinion.” It is the opinion of some people that psychiatric medications don’t work. It is the opinion of some people that psychiatric medications do more harm than good.

I am not of that opinion. And I actually have facts on my side.

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Becoming an Empowered Loved One – An E-Patient’s Best Friend

→ July 26, 2012 - 4 Comments

Becoming an Empowered Loved One – An E-Patient’s Best Friend

Recently I discussed a little about what it means to be an e-patient. An e-patient is someone who is empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled (and many other things depending on who you ask). In short, an e-patient is someone who is fully engaged in making mental health treatment decisions.

Now, I am the first person to say that being an e-patient isn’t always possible for a person with mental illness. Often, dealing with the day-to-day slog that is living with a mental illness is quite enough pressure, thank-you, without having to put an “e” in front of your title.

E-Partners, E-Parents, E-Friends

However, even if becoming an uber-patient isn’t on your shortlist of things to do, your loved ones can also become empowered. They can become e-partners or e-parents or e-friends, if you like. And adding an “e” in front of their title can help them to feel less helpless in the face of a daunting illness that they cannot control.

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How to Research Bipolar Disorder or another Mental Illness

→ July 23, 2012 - 10 Comments

How to Research Bipolar Disorder or another Mental Illness

When you or someone you love is diagnosed with a mental illness like bipolar disorder, likely, you don’t know much about the mental illness outside of what the media and popular culture has told you. Unfortunately, these are not the best sources of information about bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia or other mental illnesses.

Mental Health Research

What is critical is that you take it upon yourself to research the mental illness so you can get the facts and not believe the fictions propagated about mental illness. If you’re here at the Bipolar Burble, and reading this, you’ve made an excellent start but I encourage you to continue with these other trusted research options.

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When You Leave Someone with a Mental Illness

→ July 9, 2012 - 855 Comments

When You Leave Someone with a Mental Illness

I’ve written about the fact that sometimes you have to say goodbye to a person with a mental illness for the sake of your own health and sometimes even for the sake of the person with the mental illness. I believe this even though the person is sick and the sickness is not his (or her) fault.

This post has been met with relief by some and anger by others.

Some are relieved that someone is finally talking about their reality while others are appalled that I would suggest leaving someone for an illness that is not his fault.

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Should More Mentally Ill People Be Institutionalized?

→ June 27, 2012 - 62 Comments

Should More Mentally Ill People Be Institutionalized?

Once upon a time there were places known as insane asylums. These were not pleasant places, by and large, but they were places where the “insane” (or mentally ill, as we now say) could live and receive some level of support. Insane asylums made a lot of sense because we didn’t have a lot of treatment to offer those who were too “insane” to live in the general population.

Fast-forward to the 1960s. By this time we understood mental illness a lot better and had developed antipsychotics and lithium that effectively treated many of the types of “insanity” that would have previously forced institutionalization. A movement of de-institutionalization spread wherein mental health services were moved into the community for people to access while living with the general population.

And while this sounds like a good and humane idea; I’m pretty sure we’ve gone too far with it.

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I’m Not a Statistic! – Yes, You Are a Healthcare Statistic

→ June 22, 2012 - 27 Comments

Apparently I’m the only one that understands the concept and usage of healthcare statistics.

Recently a commenter got angry at me for saying this:

“. . . Are there people who have had a bad experience with ECT [electroconvulsive therapy]? Yes. Are there people who have had very bad experiences with ECT? Yes. But then, I was hit by a car, so things happen. It’s not really the car’s fault. . . ”

My point, of course, is that there are people who have bad experiences, I would never deny that. But there are people who have bad experiences with everything. That doesn’t mean it’s the typical experience. We work hard to reduce traffic deaths and injuries in North America and doctors work hard to try to implement ECT in the best way too.

A Commenter on Statistics

But the commenter felt,

“. . . And you wonder why are people anti-psychiatry? Because they had horrible horrible experience and are consider “oooops” and downplayed number in statistic . . .”

Well, um, yes. That’s what statistics are.

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New Research in Bipolar and Depression – The Glutamate Train

→ June 11, 2012 - 5 Comments

New Research in Bipolar and Depression – The Glutamate Train

After looking at the future treatment approaches for treatment-resistant depression, I thought I’d share a bit more depression and bipolar research. New options offer hope for everyone who run the gamut of bipolar or depression treatments.

  • A new mood stabilizer
  • A new, novel antidepressant
  • Knowing when depression isn’t depression

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Doom and Gloom Support Groups – Is Bipolar Really That Hopeless?

→ June 4, 2012 - 42 Comments

Doom and Gloom Support Groups – Is Bipolar Really That Hopeless?

The Problem with Online Support Groups

Recently a reader wrote into me and told me that online bipolar support groups scared the stuffing out of her. In her words:

. . . is it really that bleak? IS there a place to find support and encouragement and practical advice that isn’t so dire – comment after comment about divorce, violence, anger and mania…. I just need some perspective.

I feel for this reader. She is trying to support her significant other with bipolar disorder and she is finding that the supports are more harmful than helpful.

And, honestly, this is a big problem with support groups – they are often either doom and gloom or sunshine and light, and neither represent a decent perspective.

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Why Don’t People Get Help for Mental Illness?

→ May 20, 2012 - 118 Comments

Why Don’t People Get Help for Mental Illness?

There is a lot of help available for people with a mental illness. There are hotlines, mental health resource locators, therapists, doctors and many others. And yet, many people with a mental illness continue to live every day with bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses without getting help.

And what’s worse is that we know that by not getting help, or by delaying help, the course of the overall illness and outcome is worse.

So why don’t people get help for mental illness?

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Interview: Writing my Way to Bipolar Disorder Recovery

→ May 17, 2012 - 45 Comments

The Bipolar Burble welcomes guest Karen Tyrell. Karen is an Australian mental health advocate and author of the new mental health memoir Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness.

Writing for Bipolar Recovery

Today Karen shares a little about her life and the place writing has had in her bipolar disorder recovery.

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