Friday, August 31, 2007

Heroes Are All Mental

The Television show, Heroes, is about ready to air for the second season. NBC will air the first show of Season Two on Monday, September 24th.

What is both surprising and very interesting about Heroes on NBC is that all the characters seem to exhibit Mental Illness symptoms, yet they are definitely HEROES!

Their quirks are seen as EXTRAORDINARY abilities.

Could this show help change our perception, in North America, about Mental Illness?

Heroes Characters Have Odd Psychological Profiles

This Television series is very popular in North America. The common age group watching, who are closely following every episode, are YOUTH and young adults.

Are you going to watch Season Two?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dual Issues

A lot of people who have to deal with Mental Health/Illness issues also become easily caught up with Addictions issues.

Many of the medications that are given to people in order to keep their Mental Illness symptoms under control are very powerful drugs. Sadly, many of the medications are not very safe, and if used improperly, these medications can cause dependency issues.

In a case like this, a person would have to deal with both addiction recovery and mental health recovery, and this can be very difficult to overcome.

Another way in which people with Mental Illness can easily be subject to the world of addictions is via Mental Illness symptoms which affect a person's self-esteem and moods. Many Mental Illnesses are considered 'mood disorders' and typically, drugs and alcohol are 'mood enhancers' or substances which also disrupt, influence, or otherwise alter a person's 'moods.' Putting symptoms together with substances is tricky business.

Both 'safe' and 'unsafe' medications are effective for assisting in the removal of or lowering of troublesome Mental Illness symptoms, so naturally, people who experience Mental Illness symptoms may have a higher risk of being exposed to both safe and unsafe substances.

It is of primary concern that people with Mental Illness acquire really good health professionals who will support them in any concerns about drug dependency issues. This means finding doctors who tend toward a 'naturopathic' lean and not wholly on a medical/drug way of thinking.

Yes, there are some wonderful medications out there to assist people with Mental Illness in living healthier, fuller, symptom-free lives - but each medication and each possible dose of medications can react in different ways, according to each individual person's body metabolism. What doctors feel works well, in the way of drugs, for MOST PEOPLE - may work poorly on certain individuals, so if your doctor does suggest drug therapies for Mental Illness symptoms, be sure to find out if the same doctor will very closely monitor how things are going for you if you do decide to act on suggestions.

Sometimes, after a certain medication has proven to be unsuccessful with alleviating Mental Illness symptoms, a patient comes out of the experience with a difficult diagnosis called 'dual diagnosis,' which simply means that addiction as well as mental illness symptoms affect behaviors and mental health.

In such cases, if a person has become addicted to substances, their physicians and health care providers will have to be extra careful about prescriptions for the future and sometimes, the affected person will benefit greatly from addiction/rehab materials.

Most alcoholism and drug addiction material used in our present day treats addiction with the idea in mind that addiction, itself, is a sort of mental illness, so this may be why 12-Step programs and other addiction-related programs, literature and information works well for people who have Mental Illness.

More Information - Clean Time For Dummies Blog

Friday, August 3, 2007

Thoughts On Meditation

Those With Mental Illness Can Benefit From Meditation

Many forms of meditation are helpful to everyone, those with Mental Illness included. Often, people with Mental Illness symptoms feel like their thoughts are racing, or their thoughts have taken a 'scary' turn, or have gained some other discomforting manner. This can cause greatly heightened symptoms of agitation, fear, disorientation, and other uncomfortable stresses in the mind.

"Agitation" and "Agitated" are fairly common terms for either the feelings that people with mental illness experience (agitated, nervous, restless, fearful) - or else the behaviors that others witness (agitatation, jitters, restlessness, fidgeting) from people suffering with mental illness. Sometimes a person exhibiting symptoms won't be aware that their mental process is leading to certain telling behaviors, but others can take note of their symptoms. In many instances, meditation can help reduce 'agitation' symptoms, even if the affected person is caught up in a mental process where he or she doesn't seem 'to feel' bad or nervous. (Often, a manic person will feel 'exhilaration,' or 'extreme elation' and will show behaviors that are out of the ordinary, which look like agitation to others).

But meditation isn't JUST FOR people with Mental Illness. Meditation is available and is effective for reducing stress and promoting good mental health in everyone. Some people claim that meditation doesn't help them or that meditation has, on some occassion, made their mental health/illness symptoms worse. In cases like this, it is highly possible that - with all the TYPES OF meditation available, some people who have not gained benefits with meditation have selected a type not suitable for them.

Some techniques are helpful to allow people to focus with great intensity on body feelings and things that are directly in contact with the senses (sound of a heartbeat, temperature in the room, feel of the shirt against your skin, sound of a clock ticking, etc). This type of meditation may not be helpful for someone who is having a panic attack which involves certain symptoms like heart palpitations - unless, of course, there is a 'helper' closeby to help 'guide' the meditation away from suggestions about body sensations that are troublesome. A person whose panic attacks revolve around heart palpitations probably should not be 'tuning in' to the sound of their heartbeat, unless guided in meditation by a professional who can 'talk the person down' to hearing their heartbeat slow down.

By contrast, someone who is having some sort of mental episode involving their beliefs about reality (I have had panic attacks where symptoms include body numbness, so a technique like this is helpful for me, personally - particularly during a panic attack), might benefit from the intense focus type of meditation where body sensations are brought into consideration in minute detail. When I have had previous panic attacks with 'numbness' symptoms, it has helped to mindfully meditate on heartbeat, then pulse feelings, then clothing contact, and gradually, I can feel the room temperature in the limbs I once thought were 'numb.' Consequently, by this time, the 'panic attack' symptoms have dispersed and the attack is usually over.

In any case, meditation, in general, is a very safe, effective, easy-to-perform, and inexpensive way to relax and promote most peoples' levels of better mental health.

With today's hectic lifestyles, you have to realize that 'the norm' of rushing around, fitting appointments into full-time school and work schedules and all the rest of the activities that society deems are necessary, 'the norm' is really not healthy at all.

Don't settle for just one meditation, particularly if you have felt uncomfortable with the process of meditating a certain way in the past. There are dozens and dozens of meditative methods for you to try. Also, some meditations improve and bring added benefit with 'practice.' You can hone your skills at meditation so that you can use a certain technique almost anywhere.

I can meditate when I am walking to a dentist appointment that I am feeling nervous about. This helps me to make it to my appointment instead of taking off on the first bus heading the other way - which is usually what I want to do as soon as I leave my apartment to go for my dentist appointments! I meditate while in the dentist office and chair. My dentist has said I am one of the most calm patients he has ever witnessed. He has checked to see if I am 'awake' during certain procedures. Practicing meditation, in my case, alleviates any need to use 'anxiety' medications, like a lot of people do when they go to the dentist. Surviving the dentist's chair without the use of drugs is definitely a big part of my mental wellness program!

Feed Shark

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Alternative Treatments For Bipolar Disorder

Alternative Bipolar Medications and Management

Bipolar is considered a major disorder that can greatly affect an individual and his family. There are many definitions of this illness. One definition gives that a person with bipolar disorder experiences extreme elations that alternate with deep depression. Bipolar disorder is also called manic depression. Generally, it is characterized by depressive episodes and accompanied by a manic episode.

To put it simply, bipolar disorder affects feelings, thoughts, behavior, and perceptions. Experts say that it is brought about by chemical and electrical elements in the brain that are not functioning properly. Some say it runs in the family, so families having a history of bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses are more prone to having the disorder.

There are certain medications given for bipolar patients, however, not all people are comfortable with taking daily doses of different medications. Many people are interested in securing supplemental or alternative therapies that can be safely sustained over a long period of time. Often, this more natural or alternative management of Bipolar disorder is preferred over taking prescription medications.

Omega 3

There are many research reports showing that omega 3 (found in fish oils and in certain fish) is an excellent aid in the management of bipolar symptoms, as well as those having other mental illness symptoms.

A certain research project showed that, in 30 bipolar patients who were monitored for four months, Omega 3 helped ease mental illness symptoms without causing undue side effects. It was a placebo-controlled and double-blind study. It aimed to compare omega 3's efficacy versus olive oil or placebo for the treatment of bipolar disorder.

According to researchers, bipolar disorder is a neuropsychiatic illness that has a high mortality and morbidity. In their preliminary study, it was proven that omega 3 performed better and resulted to longer remissions based on the four scales of symptom-severity. Further studies are still underway, and researchers are hoping that they can come up with new classes of psychotropic compounds that can be used as mood stabilizers.


Most people resolve to the use of herbal supplements instead of taking prescribed drug medications. But not all herbs are good for the treatment of bipolar disorder. In fact, there are certain herbs that can worsen the condition of a bipolar patient. Some herbal supplements actually have a harmful reaction when used together with certain drugs. Consult your doctor first before taking any herbal medication in conjunction with other drugs.

Nutrition and Your Diet

You have to adjust your diet, and this means checking meal menus everyday. The nutrients which the body receives are very important. Holistic physicians use b-complex, magnesium, and thiamin for treating and easing the severity of episodes of depression.

Pastoral Counseling

If you're suffering from bipolar disorder, you can also talk to your pastor, priest, or rabbi instead of talking to therapists. The religious community may be of great help during these times. In fact, the community is now recognizing the role of spirituality and prayers. In can even be included in psychotherapies and medication.

Art Therapies

If you're always staying at home, then perhaps you might want to join expressive therapies. Through the arts, you can express freely your feelings and do so without inhibitions. You can enroll in a drawing class, sculpting, painting, and many others. Find an appropriate therapist in your locality who specializes in art therapies or expressive therapies.

If you want movement, enroll in a dance therapy. Let your feet fly and your spirit soar while incorporating your physical, cognitive, and emotional facets to the dance.

Soothing music can make a person relax. So why not enroll in sound or music therapy? Your body chemicals can be stimulated to improve blood pressure and flow, breathing, pulse rate, and changes in posture.

Traditional Medicine

Traditional medicines or the culturally based ones like shiatsu, reiki, acupuncture, yoga, Ayurveda, talking circles, and sweat lodge are only typical examples. All these healing arts are based on balancing the states of the physical, spiritual, and emotional for the wellness of an individual. If the forces in your body are imbalanced, you will likely get an illness.

If all these things are combined: omega 3, herbal, right diet, pastoral counseling, art therapies, and traditional healing arts, perhaps the forces of the body can be balanced and a bipolar patient can be treated effectively. But remember to consult your doctor for any problems that you may encounter, and don’t just stop your prescribed medication if you have one. Continue using it, and ask your doctor if you can also use other alternative medication.